Friend or Foe?
Are you a friend of the cross? It depends how you respond to surrender.
Crosses make more enemies than friends. It is human nature to avoid pain and suffering. While we often sacrifice comfort or convenience for a good reason, we don’t do it easily and we want it to produce a worthy dividend.
But the message of the cross of Christ is not about our pain tolerance. It is about our surrender. Jesus did not want the cross but his mission to rescue us demanded that he surrender to it as part of his mission. Still, it was not the piece of wood roped together that he surrendered to. Jesus surrendered first to His Father and His unfailing love, unlimited resources, unequaled character, and uncompromising will.
Do you realize that we have the same opportunity? God did not offer a part of Himself to His son and another part of Himself to us. We get the same presence, the same resources, the same character from God that Jesus had access to. And we use so much less.
Life and loss will always go together on this earth. We will walk our own vale of tears in shadowed valleys more than once. But that is not our journey to the cross. Our journey to the cross is a journey of surrender. Just like Jesus, we surrender everything to God so that when some excruciating sacrifice is necessary; God is right there to provide all the strength we need.
Enemies of the cross refuse that journey by adopting enemy attitudes. They do it with culturally de-constructed biblical principles. They do it with self-protecting rationalizations. They do it with apathy. They do it with bold protest about things that do not make an eternal difference.
You cannot study Jesus’ life and see any of those traits in him. When Jesus surrendered to His Father’s will, he said “yes” to everything it would mean to follow that will. His yes to God was always his final answer. There was no escape clause.
It’s time to understand that surrender is not our enemy, and we must not adopt any attitude that would make us fear it. Surrender to God brings what you cannot make happen for yourself. In the end, all we are doing is saying yes to the God who has said yes to us.
But oh the gifts that wait on the other side of our yes!
Scripture to guide your way to the cross. . .
For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ . . . Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord. Philippians 3:18a, 4:1
How should standing firm in the Lord define our surrender? What attitudes might work against our surrender?
How often have I desired to gather [you] as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing. Luke 18:34b
Jesus addressed this statement to Jerusalem who kills prophets. What happened to Jerusalem because her people became enemies of the cross and surrender? Where might you be missing protection because you are not willing to surrender?
The Lord Jesus Christ . . . will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory. Philippians 3:20b, 21.
What is the difference between the words transform and conform? Who does this work? How does it require surrender?