In A.W. Tozer’s book ‘Delighting In God’, he talks about a conversation between an old saint (believer) and a young man. The young man asked the old saint, “What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?” The old saint thought for a moment and then replied, “To be crucified means three things. ” I will try to summarize them.
- the person who is crucified is only facing one direction and cannot turn around to see what is going on behind. They are only looking in the direction of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the direction of biblical revelation, angels, edifying of the church, sanctification and the Spirit-filled life.
- the person on the cross is not going back. They are joining Christ and are finished as far as this world is concerned and have to carry their cross.
- the person on the cross has no furthers plans of his own. Christ is making his plans for him.
What a visual that is for me! I had never thought of it that way.
Essentially; you can’t look back, you can’t go back and you can’t make plans for yourself.
Part of my problem though is I keep straining my head and looking at my crooked past and wishing I could change things, wondering what if, stressing over what a bad mother/wife/daughter/friend I have been/am.
I struggle against the nails, I pull against the cords, I twist and turn, all which only increases my pain and suffering. And it is this precise pain and suffering which forces me to keep facing forward, to look to the One who lived and died perfectly for me and to follow Him, “who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame” Hebrews 12:2
I want to go back for a do over and change the things I did, the choices I made and do more, be more, make everything perfect.
I keep trying to crawl down off that rough hewn wooden cross and make plans my way, because you know it has worked so well in that crooked past!
But God calls me to stay on that cross, face forward and wait!
You can’t look back: at what happened in the past, at what might have been, at anyone left behind, at old dreams.
You can’t go back: to old habits, to believing lies, to the old lifestyle.
You can’t make plans for yourself: where you will live, what you will do, who you will be with, where you will minister and how that ministry will look.
It sounds impossible doesn’t it? And it is, unless we have picked up our cross to carry and look to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to help us.
Tozer goes on to say, “We are to be joined to Christ intellectually, volitionally and exclusively so that we become expendable and do not go back.” (emphasis added)
It reminds me of that old hymn, ‘I Have Decided to Follow Jesus’;
I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. The world behind me, the cross before me, the world behind me, the cross before me, the world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back, no turning back.
Once you have truly accepted Christ as the Lord and Saviour of your life, there really is nothing else that can satisfy. NOTHING! No matter where you go, what you do or who you turn to, it will be lacking.
As Peter the apostle says in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
End of story. No turning back. What lies elswhere is only misery; restlessness, darkness, confusion, pain, purposelessness, hopelessness and death.
But what lies before us is joy, freedom, love, purpose, light, hope and eternal life! We can’t even begin to imagine what is ahead of us.
God has a plan, friends It was put in place before any of us took a breath, before the sun was formed, before the dust of the universe existed. It’s a perfect plan and He doesn’t need our input. All He asks is that we trust Him, pick up our cross and follow; looking forward toward the promised hope of eternal joy and fellowship with Him.
Face forward Friends! If we have decided to follow Jesus let’s encourage each other to look to Him and nothing or no one else. Let’s stop struggling and rest in His perfect plan.
This is a song written and sung by my friend Katherine Yap. It fits this blog so well!