Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Enemies of the Cross

Philippians 4:18  "For many...conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ."
Many people interpret this to say and apply it as people who are enemies of Christianity or of Christ or of Christians.  Simple persecution.  But this is not what it says.  It says "enemies of the cross."
So why would people be enemies of the cross?
This is a pivotal point in one's transformation.  The cross is a pivotal point in the history of God's work with His people.  What the cross is, is a statement from God that while the cross is all about you - saving you - it is more than that, all about God and that God's glory is the ultimate aim in all this.  That is why the cross has enemies.  No one wants to live their life according to someone else's agenda.  It is a simple as that.  Even if there were a God, most people would not be interested in placing themselves at His disposal.  The whole concept is repugnant.
Most Christians don't even believe this, that God is for God.  That life is for Christ's glory.  That our lives are for Him.  Most people have "accepted Christ into their lives" which is a huge theological and practical problem.  When we try to include God in our lives then things get messed up very quickly because that is not God's plan.  He is not Mr. Fixit.  The exhortation to pray unceasingly does not mean that we are to spend every moment asking God for stuff.  Psalm 95 says, "Oh that today you would listen to His voice."  Our job is to listen for God's voice, hear what He is telling us and then to do it regardless of the consequences.  This is the cross and why it has enemies.  The cross is the perfect example of someone who listened to God and did whatever God asked with disastrous consequences to himself.  Following that example were all the disciples and martyrs throughout the ages.  Even today there are Christians all over the world who live their lives doing God's bidding putting themselves in great peril.  However, we find very few of those people in US churches, me included among them.
It is a terrifyingly transformative thing to simply do what God asks us to do.  It requires that we first listen and then act on what we hear (after bouncing it off historical Christianity and our community).
We must no longer be enemies of the cross as it steals our agenda away and give ourselves to its humiliation and suffering and power. 

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