It’s late. I realize that. No, not according to the clock. But according to God’s timetable.
We are so close to those last days. My heart breaks as so many are drifting away from faith in Christ.
Several days ago, I read Mary DeMuth’s email from her site. I felt the Lord compelling me through her words to write something. Something that has been gnawing at me. The title of her post is A Crossless Christianity? Her first sentence? “Since when did Christianity become crossless?”
Have you noticed as well? When did we knock down that old rugged cross? That cross of forgiveness and love and mercy and sacrifice and obedience?
The cross that was Christ’s is ours as well. Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NLT) Whew! That means death to self, daily.
But it seems we have tossed aside that cross. When did it get too heavy for our shoulders to bear? When we chose the world’s ways, desires, and behavior.
Bonhoeffer reminds us, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
But that’s not a popular teaching these days. Instead, we’ve settled for a therapeutic Christianity where everyone’s goal is to feel better about themselves, giving lip service to sacrifice. Oh we say words like deny and holiness and surrender, but we don’t die to what we want. (I say this to myself. I preach it to me. I am guilty too.)
Jesus said He came “that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV) That’s superabundant life!
But we forget about the other side of the coin. You know. The one that mentions surrender and sacrifice and holiness and obedience. Mary said, “Calisto Odede said this at Cape Town 2010: ‘Sacrifice seems to be the last word to describe the Christian today.’”
We have forgotten how to die to self. The cross should be our constant reminder of death to sin and self, to live in Christ’s desires and not our own. To surrender. To sacrifice. To obey.
“It’s so unpopular, the cross. Why? Because it involves death. According to the Apostle Paul, it symbolizes foolishness. It pushes against selfishness. It sheds holy light on sin. We conveniently do away with sin when we lessen it to a misdemeanor or dismiss it altogether.” Says Mary.
What was the point of the cross? To crucify sin. “Therefore, sin should never be conveniently redefined by cultural standards, dismissed as no big deal, or glossed over because it’s uncomfortable to talk about. Sin means a necessary cross. And a cross means a necessary death.” (Mary)
We’ve not only knocked down the cross, but we’ve trampled all over it.
Those last days? Paul wrote to Timothy, “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money.” They will…
* be boastful and proud
* be scoffers of God
* be disobedient to their parents
* be ungrateful
* consider nothing sacred
* be unloving and unforgiving
* slander others
* have no self-control
* be cruel
* hate what is good
* betray their friends
* be reckless
* be puffed up with pride
* love pleasure rather than God
* act religious, “but they will reject the power that could make them godly.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5 NLT)
Peter said that there will be “scoffers who will do every wrong they can think of and laugh at the truth.” (2 Peter 3:3b TLB)
We’ve treated sin too nonchalantly. Our passion and love for Christ have cooled. We no longer find sin repulsive. Softness has crept in. We’re too cushy. Too lukewarm. Yeah, you know what God said about being lukewarm (Rev. 3:16 NKJV). And, He says if someone draws back from their faith, “My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Heb. 10:38 NKJV) Uh-oh!
We need to remind ourselves what the Scriptures tell us and how we should obey them. I encourage you, dear one, to remember…
“You must warn each other every day…so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” (Heb. 3:13 NLT)
Don’t lay aside that cross …for any one or any thing. Oh, please, in tears, I beg you to remember what Christ has done for you and how you are to live.
Blessings of Christ to each of you!
***shared with Mary DeMuth’s permission. Please check out her site.