I always feel a stirring in my heart during Holy week. The weight of a heavy shadow hovers over me, as I reflect on the torturing assault Christ endured on that fateful day. I find myself submerged in the account of Christ's agonizing approach to the cross...
Good Friday is here.
Luke 23:33-43 ESV
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" ...
John 19:30 ESV
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Christ's sacrifice on the cross brings believers to their knees, bowing their heads in mourning while offering up their hearts for His Merciful cleansing. God's greatest gift to His children, the sacrifice of His beloved Son.
Christ died for me.
For every single human being.
If there's one thing I believe more than anything about Jesus, it's this:
He loves and longs for every last one of us...
Christ's blood does not discriminate.
Despite His distorted reputation.
He came for us all.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
While we are still sinners, Christ's Crucifixion remains God's ultimate offering, so that we may once again unite with our Heavenly Father and receive His eternal grace.
What does that mean to you?
Perhaps you have opened your heart to accept His merciful gift, in order to live a life of faith, daily surrendering to His Purpose, His Plan, His Power.
Do you give Him all of you? Or do you hold some things back?
Do we trust that even our hardest parts, our darkest moments, our deepest pains can be handed over to our Almighty Savior, knowing "...that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose?" (Romans 8:28)
As a Christian, I want to honor Christ's Crucifixion, by digging deep within to search for buried broken pieces that I have somehow preserved in my own human grip. I need to take inventory of my actions, my thoughts, my history, my dreams, and my heartaches, to make sure I truly laid them at the foot of the cross. I must honestly search for those things I once gave my Savior, but inevitably took back, attempting to manage it alone. Oh, the list is long in what defines me, my circumstances, and my life.
I quite possibly missed a few things.
Sometimes, we hold things back, even take things back. Grasping particulars tightly, instead of placing them into the outstretched arms of our Savior. If we accept that He gave His all on the cross, do we honor it by giving Him all of us?
What holds us back?
Fear of what our Lord may think of us, afraid of letting go of something that is a stronghold in our lives. Who wants to give up control on anything that is hurtful, precious, vulnerable, traumatic or confusing? It's scary to let go...
Do we really believe that God will deliver us, heal us, guide us, protect us, take care of us, and love us through the hardest parts of our lives? Do we trust that our God has that kind of power? What if His way isn't our way?
Our distractions may be our biggest barrier to the Cross. Who isn't busy? Overworked, overwhelmed, and over scheduled... Life is often chaotic and over stimulating... The reality is that many often forget to pray at all, let alone deeply dive into soul searching and surrendering the details of our lives to the Lord.
Don't we all just want to do things our own way? It's our innate desire to make our own choices and take care of our own issues without anyone's input or help. We are naturally designed to instinctively take what is ours, and protect what is ours... and never give it away. We can handle things on our own, right? No need for allowing the LORD to see it all, take it all, carry it all...
I think this is where the 'taking it back' comes in, because how often do we give a piece of our lives to be 'fixed' and 'cleaned up' and then decide the time is up for renovations, the limit was set and God didn't deliver? God didn't heal fast enough, transform the 'right way', or resolve this conflict or manage that crisis in a timely fashion. Perhaps a stronghold is still holding strong...
Do you have pieces of your life buried behind your faith? Do you hand-pick what you give to God and hold the rest back? If so, are these reasons resonating with you?
They are with me.
And yet, I know that God can't work in our lives, if we don't let Him.
We may be afraid to reveal hidden parts of ourselves and we may doubt He can work miracles on it all. We may be so busy we forget we have an Almighty Power just waiting for our invitation. We may think we got it covered, or even worse, dismiss His Presence as ineffective.
Guilty as charged.
And yet? The strongest wall I've discovered that keeps me from the cross is the idea that I am not worthy of it.
Over and over again, I must be reminded that Christ's Crucifixion was for me. Little ol' me. And if I don't take that to my heart and offer it ALL to Him...
I'm dishonoring the very act of His Crucifixion.
So I go...
To the cross...
With it all.
And His arms are wide open.
Awaiting my offering.
He waits for yours too.
What will you lay at the foot of the cross?
He wants it all.