"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:10
Our Father, our God, as we approach that that may give us a better insight of what He bore in the cross, what His glory may be in the crown, may Thy blessings-as promised through Him- be with us as we study together in His name. 262-34
[Based on Edgar Cayce readings 262-34 through 262-38]
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
If we come to understand these lessons and that to which they are leading, and if we hope to lead others in the way, we will find it necessary to analyze ourselves as to that which is, which has been, and which may be the impelling influence in our lives. We must discard everything that bespeaks selfishness or the magnifying of those desires that are gratifying only to the carnal influences in our lives.
In previous lessons, truths which could be applied in anyone's daily life have been presented. In studying this lesson, "The Cross and the Crown," we have the opportunity to take a definite stand, if we accept the following decision as our own: For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."
Do we feel that the cross represents something very definite in the life of each of us in our activities through the earth? The Christ Spirit has led in the presentation of truth in every age, in every clime, and came at last to the cross. He triumphed over death, hell, and the grave.
We choose this way not in an attitude of narrow-mindedness, but with a glimpse of the freedom which it brings-embodying, as it does, the light and truth of the eternal and universal Spirit of the divine Creator.
Let us pause as we take up the study of this lesson and each of us asks ourselves this question: "Why have I chosen the way of the cross?" To troubled minds and tired hearts the way seems long and hard. Bypaths and shortcuts beckon invitingly, but the eternal self cannot be hushed for long with the things that satisfy not, for it urges ever onward toward the Everlasting. In passing through various experiences in the earth plane we come at last to recognize and accept His way, the way of service, the way of sacrifice, and the way of selflessness. We come to realize that there is no other way to attain our ultimate goal except the one trod by Him who made the supreme sacrifice that we might find our way back to the Father. We come to realize that, in fact, there is no other name given among us whereby we can be saved from self except through Him. The way of the cross which He chose will lead us out of our dissolution and into the light of understanding of our true purpose in the world; then the cross becomes a symbol of that which must be borne and overcome in every life. It is natural that as we study, the purpose of our trials becomes more apparent. We begin to realize that we must overcome if we would go on; those things in our hearts that hinder our progress must be torn out and cast aside. This is not easy to do without His help. He, having gone all the way, understands all our trials and temptations and, in love, willingly gives strength to us.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life." In Him is all, and when accepted, the way is made so plain that we need not stumble. He is, indeed, the Light that lighteth every individual. He came into the world understanding the laws of all things visible and invisible, and demonstrated His power over all forces, even death. He showed that the way is the way of love. As we emulate His example by taking up our cross daily, our desires are more and more to help others. We take upon ourselves joyfully the cares, the troubles, and the crosses of those whom we contact in our little world. It is, we know, because of this divine love, which is thus manifested in our lives, that we can rejoice in that we are counted worthy to choose the way of the cross and suffer for His name's sake.
With our Ideal, the Christ, as the pattern, we have the satisfaction that our approach to the Father is assured. We know that His Spirit is already bearing witness with our spirit, that we are heirs and joint heirs with Him. There is a consciousness of His force, His power, and His activity in every element of action.
So, in bearing our crosses we overcome those conditions that would hinder us in meeting the issues of life. When this is realized, the reason for choosing the way of the cross becomes evident. Not to choose is to acknowledge a misunderstanding of the purposes of life and the way toward the realization of life eternal. Who has learned obedience otherwise than through suffering?