When I was just a child my parents began taking me to church, and Sunday School class became my Sunday morning ritual. I can't remember all the teachers that I've had during the course of my life, but each one of them made an impact on my walk with the Lord. I remember that at least once each year they would teach about Jesus dying on the cross. I don't know about you, but this didn't sit well with me.
For 50 or so Sundays I was taught about how Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and exuded love and kindness to everyone He met. Then for a couple of weeks each Spring I'd hear how much people hated Jesus and how they chose a known criminal to go free so that Jesus would be crucified and die on the old rugged cross. It just didn't sit well with me. I was more than willing to take the "loving Jesus". I eagerly accepted the "miracle making Jesus". I loved the "kind and caring Jesus". But, when they got to the hated, disfigured, bloodied, beaten, and crucified Jesus, I just wasn't willing to think of him that way. The cross got in the way!
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since I was a child and I'm glad some things changed along the way. I'm still a long way from perfect, but I'm a lot further away from the old me than I used to be. Thankfully, my relationship with the cross has gone through many steps throughout the years. I'm glad to say that the cross and I have a much better relationship today. I'm more mature to deal with the gruesome events of Calvary. I can see the perfect love beyond the blood and death now. I'm committed to my relationship with God today, so their are no unruly and unholy influences that pull me back and forth. The only one I'm trying to impress is the Lord, today. But I can tell you; the cross still gets in the way!
When I was a child I didn't fully understand a Savior that loved me so much that he would die on that cruel tree. But today, as a wiser and more mature Christian, I'm glad the cross gets in my way. The tempter still comes around to my life, but the cross gets in the way. Satan still tries to tempt my life with false promises of a good time, but the cross gets in my way and saves me from making those sinful mistakes. My flesh is still alive and kicking and pulls me away from the right way, but the cross gets in the way and gets me back on the right path. I'm glad the cross gets in my way!
Sometimes the devil even gets in my face and tries to remind me of the sin that has been in the course of my life and the cross gets in the way and reminds him of the blood that has cleansed me of that sin. I'm glad the cross gets in the way! So as we embark on another Easter season, take heart that the cross gets in the way!
"So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, til my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown."
It is March 1st. The start of the last month in the first quarter of 2019. Metaphorically speaking, we are on page 60 of this 365 day chapter of our lives. Mathematically, today would mark 16% of the year completed. Winter is nearing the end of its reign and Spring is (hopefully) closer than it seems. A lot has probably happened since we said farewell to 2018 and welcomed 2019. The promises we made and intentions we had for the new year seem so far away. For most, New Year's resolutions have come and gone. The sad actuality is that only 8 out of every 100 people continue them (you can read more about that and how to prevent it here). I wouldn't be surprised if there were similar statistics in our spiritual resolutions as well. Why is consistent commitment so hard?
Trying to solve a problem that big is (thankfully) well above my pay grade. So as we should do in most situations where questions are too hard to answer, let's see what scripture has to say about it. God's word, always being alive and active in our present situations, has a simple way of enacting commitment consistently. In Psalm 37 David writes "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." I'm very prone to the practical aspects of scripture, which is what makes this portion of scripture translate into an equation in my head. Commitment to God + Trust in God = He will work it out. Take a moment and plug in your own personal situation.
My commitment to God in ________ + trusting in God = God will work it out.
The importance in this equation is that regardless of what you commit to God you have the guarantee that he will work it out as long as you also trust that he will. This is where the disconnect usually comes in our commitments. We have no problem at all giving our problems, struggles, or decisions to God. We offer them up freely (typically when we've exhausted all other options, but that's a different conversation all together) because we've come to the point where anything is better than where we are. There is even an acceptance of the outcome as well because God's will has an expected end. Where our commitment becomes inconsistent though, is when we forget to trust in him. Why? Because if your trust is no longer in God, all you are left to lean on is your own understanding. Trying to stay consistent in your commitment with God while trusting in yourself guarantees that you will be "unstable in everything you do". Instead, we should always put our trust in the one that never fails.
Don't let your commitment become inconsistent. Don't miss out on the chance of God working it out. Put your trust in him and see how he steps in and steps up. I know from experience that he will never leave you hanging. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name."
Commit to God, trust in God, and he will work it out.