Reflections on the Cross
I have found in my life that it is tempting to seek my own glory, searching for it in my life accomplishments or in those of my wife and kids, looking over my shoulder for anything that will prop me up to receive praise from people. For me, this temptation often arises when I see my sons perform well as athletes. They have talent, and as a dad I'm really proud of them. But sometimes my pride for them turns into pride for myself, when I use their accomplishments to puff myself up. This is vainglory, the elevation of myself, and unlike God's glory, which leads to life, vainglory results in death.
We were made to see the glory of God, to see and experience the weightiness of His power, beauty and perfection. But the way that we experience the glory of God is different from what our culture leads us to believe. Jesus said in John 5:44, "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?"
We find in Jesus' journey to the cross, the ultimate example of seeking the glory of God by taking the low road. Jesus makes it clear to His disciples in John 5 that He is not seeking glory from people and urges them to follow His example. The disciples think that glory is about position and authority. But when Jesus talks about receiving glory from God, He is talking about the glory that will be revealed through His suffering on the cross. As believers, it is tempting to run from suffering, but it is actually in suffering that we can know the power of the cross, and then the power of the resurrection.
This week as we approach Easter, I want to urge us to do three things as we prepare to remember the crucifixion and celebrate the resurrection:
1. Identify sources of vain glory in your own heart. Where do you find vain glory rising up? Talk to Jesus about these areas.
2. Read the accounts of Jesus' crucifixion in the Gospels and identify with His experiences in the passion week. What was He thinking and feeling? Read Matthew 26 & 27, Mark 14 & 15, Luke 22 & 23, John 13-19. Read with fresh eyes and observe what Jesus went through physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
3. Choose to take the low road over and over again this week. Intentionally choose second place.
My prayer for us this week is that we would see the revelations of God's glory, that our eyes would be opened as we pay attention to how He is revealing Himself. May we be people that experience the glory of God as we seek His glory instead of our own.
By Donny Martin