Ponder: Cross and Shame

Do you know what I love about pondering? lt’s not about finding out what is right or wrong. It’s about listening to what the Spirit or even your own Soul may say. It’s about finding out facts and feelings. It’s about knowing where you stand and what you think about things. It’s about discovering what’s of value and what’s really going on in your heart. Then letting God help sort all that out.

Everyday things affect us, conversations sway us, and thoughts bombard us. Too often we are not a thinking people but instead we are reactionary and aimless in our thought lives. Which can be at minimal, a bit lazy and at maximum, down right dangerous.

Pondering offers us a space to let our mind roam about the cabin of our day through the conversations, the feelings, and the thoughts we had about them. Pondering is a gift that many are losing out on because we live in a digital world that can so easily distract us and move us from one interesting thing to the next all while overloading our mental and emotional faculties. Last night I woke up somewhere around 2 am and my mind was roaming through the day, so much so, that I ended up writing in my journal.

Here are some of those pondering thoughts that were rolling though my mind:

The definition of shame is a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety. As I pondered about shame, I thought about how scripture tells us all the ways to deal with shame. I looked up multiple verses and found there are things that cast out shame. Things like:

  • Good conscience
  • Good behavior
  • Sound speech
  • Abiding in Him
  • Having the knowledge of God
  • Having the wisdom to settle disputes
  • Having your mind set on heavenly things
  • Believing in Jesus
  • Boasting in the Lord

But I also found how God uses shame as a way to confound those who think they “got this” thing called life without Him. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 1:27‭-‬31

I am not one who typically walks in shame. I am more prone to fear and particularly fear of what people will think when they find out that I am a mess. Thank goodness for Jesus! Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. – Colossians 2:15 Jesus placed shame squarely on the shoulders of the spiritual rulers and authorities. He displayed it for all to see and He used the shame of the cross as a catalyst for His own joy as He triumphed and took His rightful place at the right hand of God.

Another middle of the night ponder was about the cross. What does the cross mean? The cross has always been a symbol of death. It only becomes a symbol of victory to the one who has received the victory that Christ accomplished on the cross through belief and that belief comes through a calling and election by God. To those who have received of that victory in Christ the cross has become a place to come and die daily. So, even to us it is still a symbol of death. I don’t think it is our job or the job of the church to make the message of Cross more palatable to the world. Those who will be saved by the sacrifice of Christ on it are called by the Father and by His grace alone and we are given the call to come and die, to take up our cross and follow Him. It is our job as those who are dead to the flesh and alive in Christ to preach the gospel to all. We are to share the message of the cross and it is by the Father’s will to choose whom He wills. We speak the truth in love.

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. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:18‭-‬31

I love how the Lord builds one ponder with another, showing me the intricate connections. I would not have put together the word shame and the word cross together so beautifully as He has in His word.

I hope you have a way of catching your ponders. I find so much richness in them.

All is grace,

Starla

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

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