The cross represents the death of the illusion of control. God alone is sovereign. Most people don’t have a problem with God’s sovereignty until He begins to allow things into their lives that are uncomfortable or even tragic. Back when I first asked Christ into my heart I focused resolutely on the ‘dying daily’ part of knowing Christ that Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 15:31. I made decisions according to God’s desires as revealed in Scripture to my own detriment. I chose to obey commands of God that I didn’t understand and didn’t agree with even when they meant lack and pain and harsh circumstances to me personally. to love Jesus is to obey Jesus (John 14:15) and I love Jesus—but only because He first loved me!—more than any other person on the face of the planet, including my own life.
I discovered in those first precious years of knowing Jesus that I didn’t know anything else. Like the disillusioned college graduate that discovers that they have spent years of their life investing exclusively in a direction that is no longer relevant to the path that they find themselves upon, I found myself with a new wife, a new daughter, a broken back, and no idea how I was supposed to manage any of it. It was not the life I had envisioned for myself. I had to sacrifice goals that I had clung to for dear life and dreams that had helped me survive some of the darkest times in my youth. I had to die to everything I thought of as Me: It was the only way to become who God had created Me to be. Only the Creator knows exactly how the creation is supposed to function: Only god knew how my life was supposed to progress.
If I had reached all my goals, accomplished all my dreams, made all the money in the world, and achieved every milestone I set my sights upon, only to stand before the Creator and hear those awful words, “I never knew you: depart from Me … “ all my accomplishment and personal comfort would’ve meant less than nothing. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mathew 16:26) How much would a person pay to avoid an eternity in hell fire? the truth that many people discover too late is that there isn’t enough money or pleasure in the entire world to pay for salvation.
I am a father of two gorgeous daughters, a husband of one wonderful wife, a friend to many, an enemy of none except evil, and a beloved son of the Creator. There is nothing that I could have gained on my own that could compare to what Jesus has given me. What God has done in me will live on long after my lifeless body is laid to rest, long after every credit card has deteriorated to ash, long after every piece of money has degraded to dust, long after every kind of sex has lost its potency, long after every fast car has rusted down to the wheel bearings. Long after all the awards in the world have lost all meaning I will have life because of the cross.