The Spirit of Crucifixion

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The act of crucifixion is one thing, but the spirit in which the crucifixion is to be borne is another.
We will have a better understanding of what it means to walk in a crucified life by examining Jesus’
character during His final few hours between the Last Supper and His death on the cross. It will
be helpful to note some of the traits that stand out.
It is a silent spirit. It suffers quietly. A dog or a pig will howl and squeal at the least pain or fright,
but the young lamb suffers in silence. This crucifixion spirit of Jesus can be snubbed, scolded,
criticized, misunderstood, misrepresented, physically abused and hindered in a thousand ways
without a groan, or a kick, or a trace of rudeness. Even though it wants to see truth, justice and
mercy revealed, it does not become loud and boisterous about having its rights violated. While it
speaks the truth when someone honestly seeks understanding, it does not try to defend itself when
falsely accused by belligerent and unreceptive people.
It is sworn to eternal submissiveness. It has agreed to die to the ways of this world. It can have a
thousand little treasures, pleasant hopes, and friendly ties snatched out of its hand without trying
to hold on to them. It gently and sweetly lets everything go with a submissive spirit. It can obey God
and be rushing at full speed on lines of service and duty, and then, at the touch of God’s
providential air brake, it can be brought to a standstill without having its soul-rest disturbed. Even
when it is required to take the path of suffering, it continues to rest peacefully in the will of its
Sovereign God.

And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will
happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that
chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count
my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy {filled with Christ’s
Spirit}… (Acts 20:22-24)

It is a free spirit. It is no longer affected by the opinions of others. The only thing that matters is
that God’s will is accomplished. Having overcome the world, it is no longer restrained by what the
world considers appropriate. It has lost complete interest in the pleasures and honors that come
from man. Because it desires to receive the honor that comes from God, it easily gets by with the
simple necessities of life. And regardless of how difficult the circumstances become, it always
possesses a thankful and sweet disposition.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of
God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

It embraces suffering as its natural food. The rugged cross, which frightens so many Christians, is
embraced, because it becomes the means for entering into an enlarged and sweeter life of love in
the Holy Spirit. What other Christians shun as a hardship, it gladly accepts as an opportunity for
deeper union with God in His heavenly life. It can be bruised and trampled on by outspoken
religionists and continue to walk in a love that never fails. It naturally desires to have everyone
forgiven, even those who have caused the greatest suffering. “And I will very gladly spend and be
spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.” (2 Cor 12:15)
It will not receive human honor into itself. The spirit of crucifixion finds its highest delight by sinking
into God and being little. It loves to humble itself both before God and man. While it will speak the
Word of God boldly, it also shuns debate and theological argument.

And the servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach,
patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant
them repentance, so that they may know the truth {and see the light from Christ’s
life}. (2 Tim. 2:24-25)

It is modest and retiring and loves to get out of God’s way and see Him work. It would rather see
the ark capsize than to put forth its finger to meddle with God’s authority. It does not make others
wear its sackcloth; but rather, it prefers to take on the suffering of others. Its one great desire is to
reveal Christ and draw others into His heavenly life.

When the soul enters sanctification, it is just the beginning of this spirit of crucifixion which must be
permitted to spread, and intensify, and brighten until it pervades the whole heart. If it is permitted to
develop, it will become a flame of sacrificial love, which takes hold on all sorts of woes, and troubles,
and mortifications, and pains, and poverty, and hardships, as a very hot fire takes hold on wet logs
and makes out of them fresh fuel to reveal more of God’s holy love.

This spirit of crucifixion that was displayed by Jesus during His last few hours of walking on this
earth, is the spirit that opens the gate to the life of heaven without touching it. This is the spirit that
wears out the patience of persecutors, which softens the heart of stone, that wins its way through a
thousand obstacles, and that makes the soul that possesses it, truly precious in God’s sight.

 

[The following lesson was developed from the writings of George D. Watson, one of the most
influential preachers of the late nineteenth century holiness movement. In a publisher’s preface it
was said of him: “In each generation God raises some few saints who discern truth more deeply than
their fellows; rare spirits to whom He opens truths long hidden from the world, and such as are
specially needed for the generation.” George Watson was one of these men. And while he lived in
a past generation, he still has much to say to the church today.]

 

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