When the deacon humbly took a place beside Bill, he was embracing an often-missed aspect of the cross:
(1) Jesus died on the cross as the substitute for our sins… and we are freely forgiven.
(2) But equally as important, we died with Him on the cross… and we can be delivered from our pride and vanity. The deacon was demonstrating this second aspect of the cross—a willingness to embrace “the crucified life.”
The Apostle Paul announced, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in this body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 NIV).
However hard it is on our pride and our manner of living, let us hear the clear voices of several others who have embraced this same reality of the cross:
– When Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German minister who died at Nazi hands, explained the focus of his own life, he said, “When God calls a man, He bids him come and die.”
– When James Calvert went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the captain of the ship sought to dissuade him. “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages.” Calvert only replied, “We died before we came here.”
– When someone asked George Muller, German pastor, the secret of his victorious life, he replied, “There came a day when George Muller utterly died! No longer did his own desires, preferences, and tastes come first. He knew that, from then on, Christ must be all in all.”
– When Robert Morgan attended college in Columbia, South Carolina, his pastor, Edwin Young, asked him if he knew the secret of Christian victory. He then went on to explain, “You have to put 220 volts to yourself every day.” He was, of course, speaking about Gal.2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ.”
When I read years ago about a sign in the window of a dry-cleaning and dyeing business, I said, “That’s the core of our message.” The sign stated,
“We dye to live, we live to dye; the more we dye, the more we live; and the longer we live, the more we dye.”
Now, to keep our doctrine correct we must emphasize that in Christ’s death on the cross, we have already died with Him … WE ARE DEAD! [Rom. 6:6; Col. 3:3]. It is a finished fact! Yet when Paul again explained that we need to “die daily” he was emphasizing this same choice the elderly deacon made [1 Cor. 15:31]. If someone were to joke that he’d rather die than sit on the floor with ragged Bill, then we must all with one voice respond, “Well, die then!”
PONDER THIS PRINCIPLE: The world may mock and scoff at the foolishness of the cross message. But we who know the power of this in our personal experience, know we are as “dead men on furlough!” Yet we are more alive to God and His children than we have ever been.
MEDITATE ON THIS VERSE: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14 NIV).
WE PRAY: “Father, I want to be available and humble enough when You give me an opportunity to ‘sit with another’ whom the crowd looks down upon.
Part 2 of 2
DeVern Fromke, LORD, Help Us to See Your Door of Opportunity! Shoals, IN: Sure Foundation. Copyright DeVern Fronke, used with permission. http://www.fromkebooks.com/. [His major book is a “steak dinner”–The Ultimate Intention.]