Carrying Our Cross
Suddenly, I could hear God speak to me through His Word: "My people come to the cross for salvation, but they leave the cross behind and walk away . . . they have forgotten that they are to carry the cross in order to be able to follow Me and be My disciples."
I finally learned how to fight my deceptive selfish flesh on a daily basis—every nag, tantrum, despairing thought, and fear. Before Saeed was thrown into one of the world's worst prisons, I struggled with fear and anxiety. More than anything, I was afraid of flying and speaking in front of people. It was when one of my worst fears happened, and I found myself a single mom with a husband in prison being tortured for his Christian faith, that I reached the ultimate low. It was in that moment that I realized how very weak I was. I could lose everything in an instant, and no one in the world could help me.
My mother was kneeling in front of me, crying and begging me to tell her what she could do to help. I realized that there was nothing she or anyone could do. Only the One who made me could reach down into the depths of my soul and fix me. I cried out to Jesus, "Help me! I can't fall now! My kids need me. My husband needs me. Please heal me! I will let go of my life and let You lead me." The peace of God that surpasses all understanding covered my whole being, and I was freed of all fear. I no longer feared death of loved ones. I no longer feared the loss of finances or health. I no longer feared the future. I was truly free in Jesus.
By God's grace, I have overcome my fears in the last two years. This once timid and shy public speaker who was afraid to fly has traveled all over the world proclaiming Jesus in front of the United Nations, European parliaments, the U.S. Congress, and ambassadors and leaders of countries. I have gone to places that I never dreamt of going and done things I never dreamt of doing. God has given me a huge platform for His Gospel.
The secret to my new-found strength has been in recognizing my flesh every morning, battling the lies I'm tempted to believe, and stepping out in obedience to the Word of God. It's not in your background, your finances, or the people you know. It is entirely related to how much you are willing to die to yourself and allow the Spirit to take control of your life.
The Bible tells us that we live in a fallen nature that is not to be trusted. That we are to keep our thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and to keep our heart, which is deceitful beyond all things, in check (Jer. 17:9). We live in a fallen world that is always tempting our fallen nature to act out.
Walk in the Spirit
Single, married or widowed, you wake up to your flesh every day. If your flesh is anything like mine, your thoughts will echo lies that sound true. So, I want to give you practical steps to help you overcome your flesh, live in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18), and see the Lord use your life for His Kingdom and glory in a more powerful way than you ever imagined:
- Recognize the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21).
Take a good look at anything in your life that it is all about you.
- Battle your flesh.
Replace what it is telling you with the Word of God.
- Take action in obedience and submission to God.
Love when it hurts to love. Love summarizes the law of God.
- Watch the Spirit work.
Once you step out in genuine obedience, you will see the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life (Gal. 5:22-23).
- The world will be drawn to your fruit.
People will want to taste of your salt. They will be drawn to your light in the midst of absolute darkness. Souls will get saved.
I say this to you and as a reminder to myself: There is no condemnation in Christ. Paul, a hero of the faith, struggled with his flesh. The key is to recognize it when it comes up and beat it down through confession, repentance and faith. Don't let it lead you to a life of destruction and despair—it only leads to death. Choose the narrow path that few choose because it's hard. It requires painful death to self everyday and carrying of the cross, but it ultimately leads to life—forever (Matt. 7: 13–14).
Taken from Naghmeh Abedini's blog post "What I Learned From My Husband's Persecution." www.TrueWoman.com. Used with permission.
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