Join us this Thursday evening, April 9th for Men’s Fellowship Night. Pastor Ron Schmidt from Davisville Church will be sharing God’s Word. Call for reservations: 800-453-7942
My Dignity or The Cross?
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)
All though I am not sure just exactly how long ago it was when this was said to me but I remember hearing it clear as a bell, “Life is gonna get easier the older you get.” I remember who said it too, wish I could find him today and tell him how full of beans he really was or I hope he is finding out the same thing I am. That life hasn’t gotten easier but has become more of a challenge than it was when I was younger. I mean it could be harder and by that I mean I could have no faith in a God that provides and conduct myself in such a way that fractures the law that governs the status quo. But that isn’t the case; the challenge for me lately has been wrapped around a single word…Dignity!
Lately the word has been silently screaming in my head, so I gotta go and look it up. This is what I find; “The presence of poise and self-respect in one’s behavior to a degree that inspires respect.” Now all you Rodney Dangerfield fans remember his line, “I get no respect” however I doubt he was conducting himself with a certain level of dignity to inspire respect. But in my case I kinda think that I do carry myself with a certain level of self-respect and poise that those I encounter in a day would at least respect that level in me. HA-HA (I would continue with these HA-HA’s but they would be the entirety of this Freedom Fighter) Man oh man what am I thinking these days? Has it gotten so crazy in this world that a man can’t get treated with a little dignity because he works on exchanging his will for the will of his God or has the desire to carry his own Cross? Uh-Oh!! There it is…The Cross. (Forgot what that really means…oops)
I had to go back to The Sermon on the Mount for a reminder. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” (Matthew 5:11) Ain’t no use or idea of the word dignity in that, is there? As a matter of fact, “These words are particularly directed to the disciples of Christ, and are designed to inform them, that they should not be exempted from reproach and persecution, and to animate and fortify them against it; and are prophetical of what they, and the first Christians particularly, were to endure for Christ’s sake. Men should “revile” them, speak very reproachfully of them, brand them with infamy, and load them with disgrace” says John Gill. Guess I need to re-evaluate my situation in life.
There may have been a “Triumphal Entry” when Jesus showed up in Jerusalem but it ended with His death on a cross and they were meant for criminals. There was no dignity shown to them back in that time period in history…not like today where it seems that they have more privilege than we think they should receive. The Cross is a vexing thing to the many who think they can get by without Good Orderly Direction (G.O.D=GOD for those who picked up what I just put down) but for the rest of us it is the symbol to what we should see as the obedience of sacrifice. Even though I was once a criminal and would have gladly negotiated punishment I now see the room for negotiation has no wiggle in it and therefore blessed I am when they revile and persecute me, and say all kinds of evil against me falsely for Christ’s sake.
I admit that I have my times where I can’t bring myself to this every single moment of the day but it was the obedience of sacrifice Jesus Christ did that saves me from the hell I truly deserve. Who am I to think otherwise? After all, “as the happiness of heaven with Christ, is enough to make up for the loss of life itself for Him, so the gain of all the world in sin, will not make up for the ruin of the soul by sin. And there is a day coming, when the cause of Christ will appear as glorious, as some now think it mean and contemptible. May we think of that season, and view every earthly object as we shall do at that great day.” I think my buddy Matt Henry wants me to see the dignity in that and in that alone. Amen? – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and blogs weekly. You can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “Every cross was and is an instrument of death, but no man could die on the cross of another; each man died on his own cross; hence Jesus said, “He must…take up his cross daily and follow Me”—A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. Proverbs 10:9 ESV