There are few humiliations more complete than being pierced by your own words. Since I’ve been writing for this blog for a few years now, I can tell you that this is a humiliation that I have experienced quite a few times! I find myself in a strange place these days, unable to yet write about where I am and what I see. Out of curiosity, I looked back over what I’d written to see if there was anything that spoke to me anew or freshly skewered my heart. And the following thoughts I once had on seeking shortcuts around the Cross pierced pretty deeply. May I stay stuck until it really sticks!
Philippians 2:12-13 HCSB
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.
This verse is a great comfort to me, especially when I’m in the wilderness. The wilderness just means that God is working in me. And on the other side of that work is a desire for His will and His purposes – really, it’s me being able to love HIM. It’s the cleanest and loveliest life, because it’s His. But I’ve also been reminded that there are no shortcuts around the Cross.
No Shortcuts Around the Cross for Anyone
I grew up in the church, and the general lesson I learned was that discipline is for children and the sinners who don’t go to church and the dreaded backsliders. The Cross was taught as a one-and-done deal for salvation, with the occasional hard time thrown in to test the faith. How such doctrine squares with the above scripture is beyond me. The truth is that we don’t get to bypass the directive to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
I tell you this to encourage you to be honest about who you are and what’s in your heart. I am intimately acquainted with how exhausting it is to create and maintain delusions of goodness. Add to that the fear of being found out and life is just horrible! I will never get along with God by pretending to be something I’m not, or by refusing to accept who I really am. No shortcuts around the Cross.
But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].
1 Corinthians 2:9 AMPC