What does it mean to live a Cross-centered life? That’s a question I get a lot from TSS readers. I may try to maintain a Cross-centered blog, but I have no expert answer to this important question (I’m learning along with you!).
To my life situation and my own heart, the Cross could be applied a thousand ways:
- Parenting by encouraging (grace), not in angry threats (legalism).
- Leading my wife by sacrificing for her, not in pridefully asserting my authority over her (Eph. 5:25).
- Giving others hope while caring enough to give correction.
- Reassuring my own heart as I reassure others of God’s unending, unchanging love for His children as purchased in the Cross of Christ.
But ironically, as I begin to understand how the Cross unfolds and is applied to all of life, I find myself sometimes dangerously cold in my appreciation for the Cross! In pursuing Cross-centeredness I find myself sometimes looking away from the Cross itself!
How can this be?
I find it hard to look long into the Cross, because it’s hard to look at! To look at the Cross is to be reminded that I am a failure. The Cross stands me next to God’s Law so I can see myself as only a rebel, a sinner who has failed in the first commandment all the way down the list to the ‘smaller’ commandments. The Cross reminds me that, apart from Christ, I am only guilty and filthy in God’s holy presence.
But I think there is something even deeper here, because to truly understand the wrath of God being poured out on the perfect Son is a picture that causes something inside of me to revolt uncomfortably. For all my love of the Cross and my consideration of the Cross as a beautiful display of love and grace, it’s not easy to look at directly. If the Cross is beautiful and gracious, it’s also bloody and horrible.
Which is why I am thankful for my pastor and friend Rick Gamache (Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Minneapolis) who shepherds my heart back to the Cross. I’m most thankful for Rick’s Crucifixion Narrative, a Good Friday narrative that walks step-by-step through the events of the Crucifixion. It’s a powerful depiction of the Cross that you will find helpful if you struggle to return to the Cross frequently.
The section where Rick highlights the imputation of Christ as He becomes sin, is simply overwhelming!
You can listen to the audio recording of Rick Gamache reading the Crucifixion Narrative:
Nothing short of an awareness of the Cross — displayed in its full beauty and horror — will sustain a Cross-centered life.