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  • David

    May 5, 2021 at 6:19 am

    I have always understood the Cross as a symbol of the death and resurrection of Christ with an emphasis on the empty cross. Where I struggle is the suffering part of that equation, the “Royal way of the Cross.” It seems to me that some people like to dwell on that point or as yesterday’s text suggests they consider suffering to be a “spiritual merit badge.” They consider denying yourself, picking up your cross, and following Christ, a burden to bear.

    That’s not the way I understand scripture. He suffered, died, and rose again, so that I might live life abundantly, and by His stripes I am healed. I am forgiven, I am child of God, and there is now no condemnation or judgment for me. It is finished, my sin debt has been paid in full. That does not sound like suffering to me. That’s why Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

    So where does the suffering part come in? For me, it means dying to self interests and loving others as Christ loves me. It means becoming more like Christ for the sake of others. It means being willing to lay down my life for my family and friends. But what I have learned is that when we do this it produces great joy in our life and it glorifies God. I count that as gain not suffering. My suffering comes when I fail to live up to that standard.

    As far as my desire to know Him more deeply, it’s definitely a ten. I truly want to know Him more clearly, so that I can follow Him more nearly, but I am not there yet.