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Friday, July 27, 2012

THE JOY OF THE CROSS

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
         
          Chapter eleven of Hebrews details the faith exhibited by some of the great patriarchs of the Old Testament. That is the lead in to the beginning of chapter twelve. It’s as if our life for Christ is a race and the crowd cheering us on are those who came before us and have already finished their race. We are to push forward regardless of our circumstances, shrugging off the temptations that seek to hinder and entangle us. We are to keep in our mind’s eye all that Christ endured for us. We are to strive for the goal, which is heaven. We are to press on through the many hills and valleys we encounter in our lives. We are to remember what Christ willingly did for our redemption. We mustn’t grow weary and lose heart, but rather draw strength from God’s Spirit that is within us. There is nothing that is impossible if God is in it. Run off on a tangent path and we’ll get lost. Stay focused and fixed on the prize that awaits all who live for the King and we will succeed in this life and the next. God knows what He has planned for us. He wishes only good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11); He wishes us to prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2).
          I can honestly say that if I were to be confronted with the task of being crucified on a wooden cross for something I didn’t do I would be a little less than enthusiastic about it. However, it says in verse two above that Christ considered it joy to endure the cross. What!? Joy? I can think of a number of joyful moments in my life and none of them even remotely resembles death on a cross. Christ undoubtedly envisioned what His death on that cross would do. If He turned away, refusing to go through with it, our sin would not have been paid for and we would still have that debt held against us. There was no other way. God, the Father, had ordained it from the beginning of time. It is too much to fathom, too much to take in. We are incapable of understanding with our finite minds why anyone would suffer a gruesome death at the hands of brutal men. Christ could have called on angels to assist Him, wiping out all opposition in mere seconds, but He knew the purpose of what He was doing and pressed on. Just as we are to press on, only we are not pressing on to our death, but rather to new life. It is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Our faith comes from believing in Christ who purchased our freedom from sin with His own blood. Embrace the wonderful mystery of being loved by one unseen.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!