Friday, May 17, 2013
What Do I Do With This Cross?
I was wandering around my home trying to figure out what to do with this cross. My daughter had given me a beautiful wood and metal cross at Christmas. Christmas had come and gone... several months ago.
It was way past time to find the perfect spot for it in my home.
I carried it around with me to every room. I tried it in an empty corner... or on a wall next to a picture. After about 30 minutes of going in circles in my house holding this beautiful cross in my hands, I finally found the perfect spot.
Yes, the cross has become a decoration. They are so beautiful! We hang them on our walls, set them on our tables as a centerpiece, wear them around our necks, on our wrists, on our feet. They sparkle and shine as jewelry. They are painted and decorated gloriously!
For quite a while, this has bothered me. The symbol of Jesus' sacrifice... the cross which is an instrument of torture and death has been turned into a decoration, an ornament.
I cringe to see a cross necklace around the neck of someone and hear foul language slip from their lips or see unholy actions in their day to day lives.
Profane.. that's what it is.... blasphemous.
What is that old saying? "Point a finger at someone and four fingers are pointing back at you."
The question of what to do with The Cross is asked. Jesus said
"take up your cross and follow Me".
He didn't say 'take up His cross'. He said 'take up yours'. Mine. My cross.
Some of us may have a hard time figuring out just what is our cross actually anyway? Some of us think that our cross is the life that we live, the joy and hardships we go through along the way. I've heard people say "Oh, it's just my cross to bear" when something goes wrong in their life.
Think about it. Jesus' entire life and ministry was His cross. His earthly ministry culminated in His death.
It's what He was put here to do.
I have come to determine that my cross is not the life I live. My cross is the life of Jesus in me. My cross is the ministry of lifting up and encouraging others as I walk with Jesus.
My cross is not what has gone wrong. It is the only thing that is right.
It is what I was put here to do.
That is the mission that He has entrusted to me. Yet it is not my mission. It is His.
Sometimes it is not easy to be encouraging. It is not easy to be like Jesus. Especially when I am not " feeling " it. Especially when I think that I am the one that needs to be lifted up and encouraged.
Those are the times that I am trying to live 'my' life. I want to be put on display, praised, to be the center of attention, a decoration in the perfect spot that pleases the eye and enhances. I, me, my, mine.
In my thinking, that attitude is just as bad as wearing a beautiful diamond cross around my neck and blaspheming God with my words and actions.
The "me" attitude profanes what Jesus did for me. I might as well trample on Him with my perfectly pedicured flip flopped feet that are decorated with those pretty little rhinestone crosses.
Jesus had times when he was not "feeling" it. The night before His crucifixion he prayed "take this cup from me".... but then He said "nevertheless."
Nevertheless. That is an entire lifetime right there. An entire mission or ministry. Nevertheless.
It didn't matter how Jesus felt at that time. What mattered is that He chose to do the will of the Father regardless of what it cost Him.
I confess... it seems I have more of the "me" life in me than I do of Jesus. If I am filled with me, there is no room for Jesus.
I want to have a "nevertheless" life. A life where Jesus is the center of attention, the beautiful decoration and the focal point; what people see when they look my direction. A life where it doesn't matter what I want but I count the cost and say "Nevertheless, not my will... not my life... not my idea or desire... but Yours, Lord."
Now that's the perfect spot for my cross.
"...for you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3)
"Oh the wonderful cross. Oh the wonderful cross.
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live."
Precious and beautiful holy Father, please help me to stay hidden in You and live the life of nevertheless... crucified with You. Amen.