Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday Thoughts

Being Obedient

"Jesus Christ expects to do with us as His Father did with Him. He can put us where He likes, in pleasant duties or in mean duties, because the union is that of the Father and Himself. 'That they may be one, even as We are one'” (My Utmost for His Highest).

This Chambers' writing really inspired me to pause and reflect on Christ and His submitting to the Father's will and death on the cross. In that act, one can see the great evil that is in mankind as the religious leaders plotted to kill an innocent man in an abhorrent and torturous way. They did not just desire his death, they wanted him to suffer both physical pain and humiliation. And, as I think on it - I am always and forever astounded that God decided to give His life as a ransom for my soul - for our souls. Jesus decided to have no pride, no prestige, no power - and instead He obeyed the Father. Where would mankind be today if Jesus had refused the cross because it was not a pleasant duty? We would have no hope and be hell bound. A sobering reality.

Christ's sacrifice happened so long ago that I think that it sometimes loses its divine meaning. A meaning that is directly related to me and to those I see daily. The cross of Calvary is ugly, blood stained and represents agony. I do not like to stay there in my thoughts long. I would rather think on the other stories of Jesus - his birth, walking on the water, feeding of the thousands, allowing the children to come to Him, healing the blind, the lame and raising the dead.

The cross is not the story that I want to dwell because it points out a harsh truth: my sin was part of the ugliness. My sin .... therefore, my act. I do not enjoy thinking of myself as not just one of the bystanders but one of the accusers. Therefore, I quickly push past this story. I turn away from this scene from antiquity and quickly look to Sunday and the resurrection. After all, a risen Savior is much more pleasing to to ponder. But, the harsh horrible reality is this - if the cross had not transpired - if Jesus had said, "No way, this is much too much to expect," I would still be standing alone in my sin and have no hope.    

Gratefully, Christ did not shun His Father's request. He submitted. This week, I have thought on these truths. I wish that I would constantly keep in my mind the obedience of Christ. But, Holy Week will pass and life will continue. Responsibilities, joys, sorrows, the daily activities begin to plant their presence in my mind more than Calvary. Yet, I continue in my religious actions. I read the scriptures. I pray. I sing. I worship. And, I foolishly think this is all God requires. Quietly, God makes His will known. He requests something of me. If the task is pleasing to me, I will respond happily but when it is not one that I find appealing my heart begins to harden. I have great difficulty in understanding why God would want me to do unpleasant duties. Unfortunately, I allow my pride to come between me and my obedience to God and His design in my life. I have forgotten Calvary. I question God especially when the task is painful and I do not understand the purpose and I come to a faith crisis.

Because I know the scripture I turn to James and read,

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing...  Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has [m]been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:2-4 & 12, NASB).

My prayer this passover season is that I will remember Jesus and His obedience all year long. That I will hold it in my heart as a reminder that suffering is indeed part of the sinful world. But, this knowledge holds a great promise.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:18-23, NASB).

Be Blessed,

No comments: