Cross Habits

  • Sept. 20, 2018
  • #9494

A cross-centered life means dying to self, and rising to Jesus, every day.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and if you know this old song, then sing it with me.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame.
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross ‘til my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it someday for a crown.

Every time I sing this, I think of my mother and daddy. It’s old song, and maybe a little old fashioned, but it was my mother and father’s favorite. And I find myself singing it the older I get, “Oh Jesus, may I keep clinging to the old rugged cross.” And let me tell you how I do it every morning. You see, I have this pretty standard morning routine: my girlfriend comes, exercises my legs, bathing, dressing, toileting, getting ready for the day, sitting up in the wheelchair. It’s a routine I haven’t altered in years. That's because we build habits around the things that matter the most to us. And in the same way, I build habits around the cross. Every day I tell myself; I rehearse and repeat and remind myself, how to build my life around the cross; around Calvary. In fact, it’s C.J. Mahaney that writes, "Do you want to live a cross-centered life? Well, friend, a cross-centered life is made up of cross-centered days."

Our days are to be centered around the cross, and C.J. describes how to keep the flame of the Gospel burning brightly in the drizzle of our days. And so, as I begin my day, this is what I do: I preach the Gospel to myself, right there in the morning, and the girls who get me up. When we pray together, we think of the cross and confess our sins, asking the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and help us repent of anything we need to let go of. Because the cross is about one simple thing: dying to self, and rising to Jesus. In other words, die to that itchiness to get your own way, die to hogging the spotlight, die to your expectation of being thanked and appreciated, die to your thoughts that drift into pointless fantasies; you have to die to taking credit for something you didn’t do, or cherishing inflated ideas of your own importance, you have to die to keeping a record of other people’s wrongs. All this stuff is sinful. So, if we want to live a cross-filled day, putting those things behind you, and purpose to live a life that is worthy of the Gospel.

And finally, you have to sing the Gospel to yourself. I know on my way to work in the morning as we drive down the freeway, I sing songs about the cross. So maybe you could just choose a worship CD that includes those kinds of songs. Start these morning habits: preach the Gospel to yourself, pray it, sing it, and study it. It will help you stay hoping, trusting, and ever staying near to the old rugged cross of Jesus Christ. It is a safe, wonderful place to be.

© Joni and Friends



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