“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
He fell with his face to the ground and prayed [for a third time],
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26: 38 & 39
A cross: An upright post with a transverse bar.
Each person is to carry their own cross…
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must
deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16: 24
Picture in your mind if you will, please the cross image above with the label “His will” on the vertical post and the label “my will” on the horizontal post…
I propose that this is the cross that Jesus says we will all carry upon following Him. Our will intersecting with His will. This is the cross-dynamic of us who choose to follow Him. This is the cross that of all who follow Jesus picks up and carries: His will, not our will. Day by day, moment by moment. Dying to ourselves, so that His life can be resurrected in us.
We are seeking healing. We are in recovery. We are doing everything we know to obtain purity and wholeness. We attend conferences, read our Bible, regularly attend support groups and meet with our counselor. We pray, receive inner healing prayer, renew our minds, build relationships with the same gender, change behaviors and more. We do it all and more to be changed.
It’s all good! Yes, do it. Continue to seek Him and follow His ways. But in all these efforts we must always be conscious of our self-focused will interfering with His perfect will.
And so, there is an additional dynamic that cannot be avoided within the journey of following Jesus: bringing it through the garden.
When we have done ‘everything’ and the residual sin-brokenness remains within we must, like Jesus, bring it through the garden, our own garden of Gethsemane. To be like Jesus we must do as Jesus. To know the power of His resurrection within us we must share in His suffering and death.
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”
Like Jesus we must go through the garden and painfully surrender our will to His will. We by our own volition yield our will to His will. We do what it takes to yield to His will – cry, beat a pillow, scream, sweat, pray, ask for help, journal, grieve, endure discomfort and perhaps pain, then ultimately… surrender.
There is no avoiding our own garden place on our journey to follow Jesus. All the recommended recovery steps really come down to this—taking up our own cross – His will or my will daily and yielding to His will. It is the only path to Christ-likeness and to the fullness of life that God wants for us. And we can only do it as did Jesus, by an act of His own will and by the power of His indwelling Spirit.