Lead Me to the Cross
Luke 9:23-25 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
What am I living for?
Last week, God confronted me with my attitude toward my sin. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve been going through a dry time spiritually. I just haven’t felt close to God. But last week, I began to realize just how shallow I’ve been. I have a shallow understanding of God’s grace in my life. I have a shallow understanding of the weight of my own sin. I have a shallow view of my relationship with God.
When I added up all those things, I began to realize what was going on in my heart: I’ve just been living for Kimberly. I’ve been living for temporal pleasures, looking for satisfaction everywhere but in God. I haven’t been devastated by my sin; in fact, the more I pursue temporal satisfaction, the more I fall to sin’s temptations. I haven’t pursued God with my whole heart because that takes work—it doesn’t provide instant gratification.
What I know in my head, however, doesn’t always touch my heart. What I know in my head doesn’t always reach the throne of my affections and desires. Knowing that I’m living for myself—when I should be living for God—hasn’t affected my attitude or my life. I’ve still just been drifting through the Christian life.
But praise God, He pursues His own! Last week, God helped me to see what I really need. I don’t need another sermon. I don’t need another idea that I simply know—a concept that doesn’t reach my heart.
Instead, all I need is the cross.
And so, last week I started to pray: Dear God, please lead me to the cross. Please just lead me to the cross.
I’ll be honest with you: that was one of the scariest prayers I’ve ever prayed. But it’s one that I so desperately need! In many ways, I’m afraid to approach the cross. It’s repulsive, because at the cross I see myself for who I really am. At the cross, I see my sin for what it really is. The cross exposes the deceitful lies of sin: I don’t see the satisfying pleasures I’ve chosen to believe in—rather, I see the condemnation brought on by my sin.
I don’t want to see the cross, because it condemns my complacent attitude toward God. I don’t want to see the cross, because it demands that I choose to accept it—or reject it. I don’t want to see the cross, because I can’t bear to look into the loving eyes of Jesus, my Savior, bearing the weight of my sin.
Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
Lead me to the cross. Lead me to the cross, because I can’t get there by myself. Lead me to the cross, because that’s where Jesus bore those sins that have caused division in my fellowship with God. Lead me to the cross, because the cross is where I can be truly and fully healed.
How appropriate that God would be doing this work in my life this week of all weeks! As I look ahead to next Sunday and to Easter, I can’t help but see Jesus’ path leading up to His resurrection. I can’t help but watch Him being betrayed. I can’t help but watch Him on trial. I can’t help but see Him being beaten. I can’t help but see Him hanging on the cross.
I need to take up my cross daily and follow Jesus. It’s a path of suffering and a path of sacrifice; it’s a path where sinful people are broken. But I need to be broken: broken of my sin, broken of my pride, broken of my self-sufficiency, broken of my worthless pursuits. Instead of living for myself, I need to die to myself.
It’s a hard path—but it’s a glorious one. It’s a beautiful journey, because after Friday came Sunday. After the cross came the resurrection.
Because Jesus died, I can die to my sins in Him; and because He lives, and I can have eternal life in Him! Salvation is such a gift. And yet, somehow, I grow cold in my love for God. Somehow, sin latches back onto my heart. Somehow, I stop looking to the cross.
I know that this will be a battle I face for the rest of my life: the battle to stay close to God. The battle to live daily in the shadow of the cross. But living in faith and repentance is worth the battle. Knowing God is worth the battle. And I am never fighting these battles alone.
Dear God, please lead me to the cross.