"Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (St Paul to the Corinthians)
1. What's wrong with the wisdom of men? How could it neutralize the cross of Christ?
2. What kind of thought rejects the cross?
3. How can the acceptance of the cross save?
Mrs. Eddy gave a sermon based on Luke 14, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Janet Coleman had notes as follows. “[Mrs. Eddy] said we must carry our cross, not take it up and then lay it down. We must carry it until we faint; then another could ease us of it for a little, and then we must take it up again and carry it until we could see that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” To me this has a surprise ending to it, in that I can eventually see that His burden is light. Suffering leads me to give up the error and discover the Science. (Carpenter, Miscellaneous Documents)
Jesus taught that men must shut out the belief of sin and self, and stop living for pleasure or self-gratification. Turning to the pure thoughts and ideas from God heals. Mrs. Eddy writes: “All that I have written, taught, and lived, that is good, flowed through cross bearing, self-forgetfulness and my faith in the right. Suffering or Science, or both, in the proportion that their instructions are assimilated, will point the way, shorten the process, and consummate the joys of acquiescence in the methods of divine Love. The Scripture saith, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.” No risk is so stupendous as to neglect opportunities which God giveth, and not to forewarn and forearm our fellow mortals against the evil which, if seen, can be destroyed.”
Acceptance of the cross is acceptance of a higher standard of living, whereby obeying God/Principle is above conforming to the "world's" mores.
"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (I Cor)
"This body is put off only as the mortal, erring mind yields to God, immortal Mind, and man is found in His image." (S&H)
St. Paul says "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace; because the carnal mind is enmity against God..." The "carnal" or human mind is enmity against God because it would mix matter and spirit and call that God's creation, God's reflection. It would shove the infinite inside the finite. It rejects the cross if the path of the cross doesn't make sense humanly.
The Bible gives an example of the kind of thought that rejects the cross, and it surprisingly came from the disciple Peter (illustrating that we have to always be on our guard against this kind of thought creeping in.) When Jesus told the disciples about his pending crucifixion and resurrection, Peter was aghast and argued that this shouldn't happen. Jesus, never deviating from doing the will of God, rebuked this argument: "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
The carnal mind will only follow God when it's convenient or "makes sense" humanly. As noted below, the thought that accepts the cross is always aligned to God's will, and that is the thought that receives the crown.
This helps me to see that if I ignore the cross I am buying into the carnal mind, maybe unknowingly but none the less buying into it. I would rather be of the mind that receives the crown!
It’s natural to desire joy and happiness, so people follow their passions to find that. Can real happiness be found in earth without God? The world teaches us to ‘follow your heart’ and ‘put your mind to it and make it happen’ or ‘dream big’. Following the direction of Christ leads us away from self-centered pursuits so the wisdom of man rejects this course of action. I went through an awakening and discovered that the dream life is easily destroyed.
Andrew mentioned in this session that obedience to God brings joy and shouldn’t be considered a burden. In Message for 1902 we read:
“Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." He knew that obedience is the test of love; that one gladly obeys when obedience gives him happiness. Selfishly, or otherwise, all are ready to seek and obey what they love. When mortals learn to love aright; when they learn that man's highest happiness, that which has most of heaven in it, is in blessing others, and self-immolation -- they will obey both the old and the new commandment, and receive the reward of obedience.”
Not to be confused with sacrifice, the cross represents doing right even when it is unpopular. The wisdom of men is not so foolish! The wisdom of men is not God-centered therefore just does not get it. Being acutely self-aware, it thinks it is something when it is nothing, a hard pill to swallow.
"The real cross, which Jesus bore up the hill of grief, was the world's hatred of Truth and Love." S&H