Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Simplicity of the Cross

"Make me to know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long."~ Psalm 25:4-5

I was lead to this passage of scripture this evening thanks to a sermon on my home church website. The sermon, called "Fix your eyes on Jesus" from March 9, 2008 comes from a Bishop within the Anglican Mission in America. As he spoke and as I have been contemplating on what it is that Jesus has done, I was struck by the grand but simple nature of Christ's sacrifice. He brought salvation- grand, immense, unfathomable. Through forgiveness of sins-forgiveness-it is not complicated or chaotic. It's simple. Profound, yes. Complicated, no. 

I recognize how complicated I make things. I think and think and think and consider until the circumstance is dead. Can you identify? A dear friend recently reminded me of this habit I have. And tonight, as I was listening to a short sermon from Erilynne Barnum, she said "When we don't understand something, we attempt to exert control over it." That sounds so complicated to me! And it is. This habit of pulling things apart, and then trying to put them back in to place is 1) not my job, 2) not fruitful. It leaves me obsessed with something else other than life. Other than truth. Other than Christ. Which leads me to the point of this entry... 

Tonight, I was thinking about how to do this Christian life. The list can get pretty long, can't it? We focus on not saying this; not doing that; being this way and so on. But as I listened to the words of this Bishop, combined with several seeds of planted thought, a refreshing truth came over me. The Bishop said, "Fix your eyes on Jesus means focus closely on Jesus." Focus closely, don't allow anything to sidetrack us or distract us. And then I realized how simple that is: the concept of focusing on someone. I am capable of focusing on an individual's character, responses, thought processes. I've done it numerous times in this life. So focus on Jesus. Learn His ways, meditate on His character. Learn who He is through serving- as He served in John 13. 

Why do I do this? Because in Him is life, freedom, simplicity. Did I mention freedom? I've never been one who loves drama. My preference is a relationship in which I can be completely myself. I have the freedom to be forthright, open, not coy. Real. Drama is complicated; manipulation is deceiving. And it's tiresome. Focusing closely on Jesus demands simplicity in thought, grace in words, and love in action. 

I was singing this song tonight- one I've sung multiple times. Here are the 2 lines that stuck out:

Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. 
In each movement, action...moving at the impulse of the Love of God. Think about that for a second. That takes radical focusing on Christ- knowing how He loves (fully and perfectly). I know that prayer, when I sing, is one that I've yet to understand. Lord, let each movement I make, each action, be one filled with Your pure love. Wow. 

Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Another big one. I think about the stuff that comes out of my mouth on a regular basis. Yikes. So, Lord, may each sentence that comes from my mouth be from Your word. Again, wow. 

Both of those prayers take a knee-bent, eyes-lifted approach to the Throne. And the only way to do this, is through knowing Him, thus, knowing His word. I've spent too much time away from Him lately (translated: I've not been reading His word faithfully), and it's shown. 

So, for those of you who read this, I'd like you to take up a challenge with me. For the next 30 days (May 10), read 1 verse/passage of Scripture in the morning, with the specific intention of focusing closely on our Savior. Fixing our eyes. That simplicity of Christ, this refreshing simplicity reminds us of what He has done for us-thus, who we are. We are made in need of a Savior. That we might know Him...what Life will come.

"He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies."~Psalm 25:9-10. 

1 comment:

Art said...

Sister, you're beautiful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts -- refreshingly convicting.