Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Quest for More: Only by Death

From pages 115-116 of Paul David Tripp's A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger Than You:

"The cross sticks out in Scripture. It seems crazy, like the greatest aberrant moment of all of history. It seems like a big mistake, a very bad joke. Surely nothing good could come out of God taking on human life and then being publicly, viciously, and unjustly mutilated. There were no positive connections to the cross. It was the most horrible punishment reserved for the lowliest and vilest of criminals. It was a public shame on a hill outside of the city, and it always ended in death.

Yet the cross is not a bad joke. It is history's most beautiful paradox. The death of the Messiah was the only way he could give life to those who would believe in him. The hope of the cross is in its willing sacrifice of One for the sake of another. This is exactly what Christ's call to daily take up your cross is all about. The one who sacrificed his life so that we might have life now calls his disciples to sacrifice their lives for him. In a world that only understands the kingdom of self, living for the big kingdom of Christ will always require suffering and sacrifice.

What are you unwilling to offer? Your money? Your lifestyle? Your reputation? Your house? Prestige? Power? The esteem of others? Your car? Your friendships? Your plan for the future? Which of these pleasures would you refuse to nail to your daily cross?

... Only when we die to the glory of our claim on our own lives will we begin to experience the transcendent glories of living for the Lord. Only when we are willing to do the unthinkable (preside over our own deaths) does the wonderful (the transcendendence for which we were created) become our possession."

Paul D. Tripp, A Quest for More (New Growth Press 2007, ISBN: 0978556747

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