When I first accepted Jesus as LORD of my life at 25, I was grateful for his merciful forgiveness. My walk was full of passionate glee at the fresh start! I was discipled by mature Christians to focus on the Cross of Christ and meditate on the Resurrection. In prayer, I stood among the crowd in front of Pilate until realizing that I was among those screaming, “Crucify him!” The terror of my selfish demand that the Author of Life die in my place was sickening. I had to get a closer look at Jesus.
As my prayers changed to remorse, I caught glimpses of Jesus carrying his cross and presumptuously offered myself in place of Simon of Cyrene. What personal folly that revealed! My own tragic immaturity and hunger for significance assaulted me. I was unworthy. Not only was I a master at concealing sin (even from myself), I discovered that I wasted much life actually NURTURING my offenses. Shame turned to shock when I realized Jesus was helping ME carry my own cross…
How many lifetimes have I lingered in the mud below the Cross of Christ? How often have I begged that His shed blood would cleanse me? My petty opinions and creative evils torment my soul. “Save me, Lord, from my corrupt mind and heart! Crucify me instead!”
Love for Jesus. Willingness to embrace the horror of the Cross. Acceptance of guilt and the overwhelming realization that Jesus completes all creation… Total forgiveness. Transforming joy.
Then the whisper, “Stand up, learn from me.”
Galatians is a cannonball shot over the bow, exclaiming Christian freedom. We face an epic battle against rulers, powers, increasing world darkness, and spiritual wickedness (Ephesians 6). We must learn to stand. We will succeed in our struggle – if we fear God and repent of our sins.
Galatians 2:20 (NASB) I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.