Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Cross

                I hate conflict; in fact, I avoid it at every cost. I try to make the “peace” and do everything within my power to make sure conflicts don’t arise. What results is me being hurt, and the ones I am trying to keep the peace with, end up walking all over me. Not only does all this happen, but the Lord has shown me that by avoiding conflict and trying to keep the peace I have fallen into disobedience to Him.
                Yesterday, I wrote about a tug of war struggle that I was in the midst of and how I could not see what was on the other side that I was struggling so hard against. I met with my pastor yesterday who helped me open my eyes and see that the struggle I was experiencing was because of an area of my life that I am avoiding and it is causing me to be in disobedience to my Father God.
                As I prayed this morning, begging my Father God to forgive me I saw Jesus hanging on the cross. I saw His broken and beaten body hanging there, looking at me as I placed this sin upon Him, and upon the cross. As I asked for forgiveness, I saw the whip coming across His back, I saw the thorns pressing into His forehead, and I saw the nails being driven by force into His hands and feet. My heart was breaking, to think that He would go to these extremes just for me, a disobedient and unthankful child. But then He spoke.
                “Every sin you place upon this Cross, is a nail, a thorn, a slash of the whip across My body. Every act of disobedience is a mocking, a scourging, and a cry of pain from Me. I suffered it all for you.”
                I have to be honest and say that I was taken to the depths of humility by the picture that was given to me today. My greatest desire, my daily prayer is that I would be pleasing to Him, that I would walk in the ways of the Lord my God, and that I would follow Him all the days of my life, that my heart would be His and His alone. But my recent act of rebellion and disobedience has caused Him great pain.
                Sin is not something we should take lightly. Every time we go against what the Lord God has clearly told us to do, we fall into sin. I know what His word says to me in the area of conflict and sin, but instead of standing for Him, I chose to go the easy route and try to keep the peace. What resulted was a chastening and a pulling away from God my Father. Isaiah paints this picture:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6
                As I read these scriptures depicting the crucifixion of my Lord Jesus Christ, I am brought to a place of humility all over again. The question that was put to me this morning- “Is my disobedience, that sin that I have chosen to commit against Him- was it worth it? Was it worth the wounds, the bruises, and the chastisement that He bore for me?” Disobedience to God our Father is sin. It is so easy for us to push it off or to wave it off and say, “Oh, sorry Lord, forgive me.” But do we truly understand what it means to be forgiven by Jesus Christ?
                Every sin I commit, every act of disobedience shows Him that His wounds don’t mean that much to me. What He suffered for me, what He did upon that cross, what He bore for me wasn’t all that bad, because, well, because He forgives me. Am I not then taking the Grace of God for granted? Have I not picked up that cat of nine tails and placed another slash upon His beaten and bloodied back? Yes, I have.
                Do not misunderstand me, we are sinners, we live in a body of flesh and we deal with sin on a daily basis. But we are not to walk in that disobedience, we are no longer to walk in sin, but we are to walk in the light of Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us. When temptation arises, or when the Holy Spirit says, “No, don’t do it” or “Stand and face the conflict”, we are to be obedient to His voice. When we are not, we have just placed another nail, another thorn, another crack of the whip across His broken body.
                Yet, the Lord also says, bring your sins to Me. I will carry them for you. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When you make His soul an offering for sin….” Isaiah 53:10. He did all this for me, knowing that I would be on my knees begging Him to forgive me for my disobedience, as the whip slashed across His back, He saw me, He looked upon me and said, “You are worth it.”
                After I have pondered on the words He gave me today, and the picture He painted for me, I am broken on the inside. My heart is breaking because of the suffering I have made Him go through for me. I am not worth it, but He thinks I am- He thinks you are. If you have gleaned anything from my ramblings today, I pray that you will see the consequences of our disobedience, and what it does to our Lord Jesus every time we choose sin over Him. Every time we choose to walk in our own ways and not His ways, I pray that the image of Jesus upon a Cross will be forever in your mind, and that if any way possible, it will cause you to turn from your ways and turn to Him, the author and finisher of our faith, and let us turn from the sin of disobedience and turn instead to the love and grace and mercy found only in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen and Amen.