For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Jesus was hung on the Roman’s instrument of torture. It was a bloody, criminal, shame-covered pathway to our forgiveness and eternal life with God. To the unbelieving, Jesus’ death was inconsequential, not worth focusing on or exalting in. But to us, it is the heart of our belief system and power. The cross is the power of God and the glory of God.
It seems that many Christians don’t really believe that the message of the cross contains power. I was just listening to a sermon online where the preacher spent seven minutes on an opening illustration that led into his unfolding of the passage of Scripture. It seemed that he thought his power came through telling a good story to hook the interest of the listeners. Others rely on emotion evoking music or even in their own charisma.
Our power in daily life comes from the message of the cross, not just in sermons. It is what we stand on and where we find our identity. I am who I am by the grace of God, demonstrated by Jesus’ work on the cross. He made me the way I am, from the family line I am from, with the strengths and weaknesses I possess because of God’s plan for my life. My self esteem must come from that, not from what I can do or what I look like. It places the spotlight on God and not on me.
Rely on God to be your focus, your ability and the source of your strength. You no longer have to be competitive to prove yourself worthy. 1 Corinthians 1:20-31 tells that God chooses the opposite of what unbelievers would in a schoolyard pick. The world goes for the flashy, the strong, the smart or the beautiful people. God chooses the weak, the not-so-smart, the plain Jane and the felon to be carriers of His grace. Why? So we won’t boast in ourselves, but in God’s saving grace that comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
It might make us less self conscious. Instead of focusing on what you can and can’t do, put your trust in what Jesus is doing in and through you. This will overcome fear or the things you lack. And when you need power to get through the day, to succeed in some way, look to Jesus to pull it off through you. And as 1 Cor. 1:30-31 puts it, “Because of Him you are in Christ Jesus… so let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord .”
God, thank you for the cross. May the death and resurrection of Jesus be the focal point of my life. Teach me how to center my identity on who I am because of You. May the power of the cross be at work in my life.