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Boasting... Only In The Cross

One very cool lesson that has given me more freedom and joy in Jesus is the lesson of boasting in the cross. This lesson put words to the song of my heart and more than 'teach me' it reminded my soul of the song my life sings. This lesson was/is delivered by John Piper and the lesson is "Boasting Only In The Cross".

This is one of the greatest sermons I have ever heard. More for what God did with it and less for how I personally choose to 'judge' the delivery or any other thing. I submitted myself to the teaching and scriptures and out of my time came a beautiful song my life continues to sing. Some don't understand it but I rejoice in the truth Christ has revealed.

Dr. Piper talks about how this lesson would seem so foreign to an ancient person reading the letter. It would be today's equivalent of reading "If I am to boast, I will boast in the electric chair." OR "If I am to boast, I will boast only in the noose." That would sound so bizarre and insane. Actually, that's basically what Paul was saying in Galatians 6:14. "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

So tonight I boast.

This evening I started to think about all that is on my agenda. As Pastors one famous question of (mostly) sincere people is "What does a Pastor do all week?" Well tomorrow my list includes various tasks from completing message prep and reviewing it several times to contacting folks in the church who seek some of my counsel to reviewing graphic design elements and making purchasing decisions for those things. It will be a varied set of tasks but honestly as I reviewed my punch-list... I had a smile on my face. I boast (to God) that I'm so extremely grateful for what He has called me to do. I enjoy people, preaching and even graphic design and business. My work day will be full and busy but all that I will do tomorrow (apart from unforeseen interruptions) will line up with what God has equipped me to accomplish.

Are there times when my profession provides me long meetings, difficult people and misunderstandings that leave me in a position to feel unappreciated, unloved and undervalued? Absolutely.

Are there days when I question God's calling, my abilities and previous decisions I've made? Certainly.

But when it's all said and done and my head hits the pillow each evening I can always say that I boast in the Cross of Jesus Christ for HE called me to that for which I labor.

I can honestly say that if God had called me into any other industry or profession I would feel the same way. The reason I am confident of this is that I know that it is HE who has equipped me, prepared me and directed my steps. That God-Man who's done these things and guides me by His Spirit gives direction to guide everyone to find their "sweet spot". No matter what I would have done in life (assuming I chose to listen) I would still have landed in my sweet spot... whatever that may have been if it were not ministry.

It doesn't mean that they will not deal with difficult people or back problems or even illness. It does mean that in the midst of it all, if there is a guidance from God on their labor, they will be perfectly equipped to handle (with his leading) whatever may come their way. If they too will make the choice every day to be mindful of His leading, I'm confident that the Lord will allow them also to say "I boast in my job THROUGH the Cross of Jesus Christ because Jesus lead me here and my labor has a perfect purpose in His Kingdom." It may be to minister to co-workers, to demonstrate for that industry how Christ himself would handle that job or even to make the products that industry makes so that lives receiving said products would be blessed.

No matter the task I feel confident to say that if a person is led by God's spirit (and they follow), they can be lead to a task that is God-honoring.

Tonight I also boast in other things. I boast in my home, my family, the city in which I live, my true friendships I've built over the years. I boast in these things not because I've been so smart to create them... but that I honestly can say that I've taken a Godly approach and concern in each instance. I boast in all of these things because I first boast in the Cross of Jesus Christ and the fact that He has redeemed these things and He has also my mind and judgment toward these areas of life. I've consulted God Himself on these major decisions in my life. I aim each day to allow HIM to dictate my behavior. The times in which I've found I was getting in the way and damaging one or all of these things I've repented and sought out the Holy Spirit to bring me back into His will. For that I can boast.

I can boast that my life is a blessing right now because I can honestly say at the end of the day I'm enjoying these things due to no other reason than the Cross of Jesus Christ.

So yes, if I boast... I boast in the Cross of Jesus, my Savior who has redeemed all value for everything I cherish for without it my job, family, possessions, friends, would all be meaningless. As Solomon said... it's all worthless without redemption. On it's own none of these things should be boasted upon, but because Jesus redeemed me and because I've renewed the attitude of my mind so many times and because I've sought out the leading of the Holy Spirit I can honestly say that I boast in the Cross.

I boast in the Cross THROUGH how joyful I feel about my family!
I boast in the Cross THROUGH how I look at my job.
I boast in the Cross THROUGH how I view my son.
I boast in the Cross THROUGH how I consider my friendships.

I am not ashamed to say I feel extremely grateful and confident in who I am and who God has called me to be not because I think I'm so great but because I believe a life of 16 years since salvation I've given my life over to Jesus and He has taken each decision I've placed into His hand and turned my rags into something beautiful. So yes. At the end of the day I boast... but I boast in the Cross of Jesus Christ and I'm not ashamed of it.

It is honestly my prayer that if you're in a rut, take time to boast. Boast in all that you have that has been redeemed by the Cross of Christ. Boast in the fact that during the trial you are getting closer to Jesus. Boast in the fact that He's revealed Himself and He's provided The Comforter to guide you and hold you in the midst of the storm. Boast in the fact that you can be JOYFUL in trial because God is using this trial as spiritual sandpaper to make your rough edges smooth for His glory. If people don't understand you but you feel confident your actions are bathed in scripture and wise counsel, rejoice that it's God who carries the weight of redemption and not you. If you're angry, be joyful that vengeance is not in your lap but rather Gods and what remains with you are patience and freedom... because of the Cross of Christ!

Some Christians view boasting as arrogant or prideful but I feel bad for them. Boasting in this world and what you've done with it speaks of an impoverished faith but not boasting in the Cross of Jesus on a regular basis speaks of an anemic faith. For both my heart breaks. But for me and my life, I will boast in everything I have, everything I give and everything I am that has been procured by the blood, wisdom and ultimately Cross of Jesus Christ.

In my life I will boast in nothing... save the Cross of Jesus Christ.

I sincerely pray that you will do likewise.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, July 26, 2007


At 2:24 PM, Blogger pat gillen said...

man, it was great seeing you today! Looking forward to working with you some this week!


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