REASONS TO REHEARSE THE GOSPEL DAILY
Day 24-All Things Crucified, Part 1
The gospel is not simply the story of “Christ, and Him crucified”98; it is also the story of my own crucifixion. For the Bible tells me that I, too, was crucified on Christ’s cross.99 My old self was slain there,100 and my love affair with the world was crucified there too.101 The cross is also the place where I crucify my flesh and all its sinful desires.102 Truly, Christ’s death and my death are so intertwined as to be inseparable.
God is committed to my dying every day, and He calls me to that same commitment.103 He insists that every hour be my dying hour, and He wants my death on the cross to be as central to my own life story as is Christ’s death to the gospel story. “Let this same attitude be in you,” He says, “which was also in Christ Jesus…who became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”104
Crucifixion hurts. In fact, its heart-wrenching brutality can numb the senses. It is a gasping and bloody affair, and there is nothing nice, pretty, or easy about it. It is not merely death, but excruciating death.
Nevertheless, I must set my face like a flint 105 toward the cross and embrace this crucifixion in everything I do. I should expect everyday to encounter circumstantial evidence of God’s commitment to my dying; and I must seize upon every God-given opportunity to be conformed more fully to Christ’s death, no matter the pain involved.
When my flesh yearns for some prohibited thing, I must die. When called to do something I don’t want to do, I must die. When I wish to be selfish and serve no one, I must die. When wanting to cling to wrongs done against me, I must die. When enticed by allurements of the world, I must die. When wishing to keep besetting sins secret, I must die. When wants that are borderline needs are left unmet, I must die. When dreams that are good seem shoved aside, I must die.
“Not My will, but Yours be done,” Christ trustingly prayed on the eve of His crucifixion;106 and preaching His story to myself each day puts me in a frame of mind to trust God and embrace the cross of my own dying also.107
98-1 Corinthians 2:2. “For I determined to know nothing among you except Christ Jesus, and Him crucified.”
99-Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ…”
100-Romans 6:6. “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;”
101-Galatians 6:14. “But never may it be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
102-Galatians 5:24. “For those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
103-Luke 9:23. “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
104-Philippians 2. “(5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, (6) who…(7)…emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (8) Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
105- Isaiah 50. “(6) I gave My back to those who strike Me, and my cheeks to those who pluck out my beard; I did not cover my face from humiliation and spitting. (7) For the Lord God helps Me, therefore I am not disgraced,…I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”
106-Luke 22:42.”…Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” 1 Peter 2:23. “…He…kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
107-1 Peter 2. “(21) For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, (22) who committed no sin, nor was any deceit in his mouth; (23) and while being reviled, He did not revile in return, while suffering He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; (24) and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness…” 1 Corinthians 15:31. “…I die daily.” Romans 8:36. “…we are being put to death all day long…”