Galatians 6:14 “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (ESV)
Isolation strips almost everything back from our lives. Playing sport or watching it with your mates; no can do! Meeting up with people for a walk or a coffee; not allowed! Even going to classes or going to church; postponed and made virtual until further notice. Hold that thought for a minute. What do we often boast in most? Or to put another way, what quite often defines us? It’s normally what we do. It’s things like our sport, socialising, friends, school/uni/classes, maybe even our church. Which of those things did we have during lockdown? Yes, we still had our friends, we socialised on zoom and we “go to church” on Sunday via our laptop. But we didn’t have those things the way we were used to having them. It was all stripped back. But what was it stripped back to?
Look at Paul’s words at the end of his letter to the Galatians. He’s basically spent a whole letter showing what we should boast in, what defines us, what saves us. It is works? Being a kind and loving person? Going to church? Doing all this religious stuff? No, the thing that saves us, the thing that transforms our lives, the thing that gives us something to boast about as being absolutely amazing is Jesus Christ crucified.
Why? Why do we boast in Jesus’ death? Why is the cross so important? Because everything else fades in comparison to it. Nothing else will satisfy us. Everything in this world is poisoned with sin.
So, if we base our lives on these things down here, what is going to happen? They won’t satisfy us. They will let us down. They will leave us totally empty as nothing else is worth boasting in. And not only that, if we fail to come to the foot of the cross and look up to the loving Saviour, we may well find ourselves cast off, justly facing the wrath of God that we deserve for all eternity.
But amazingly we don’t have to. During isolation I found (in such a small way compared to what Paul knew) how when everything else is stripped away that we need to go to Christ and boast in Him and what He has done because He has done it for us. We have something to boast in. We have Jesus dying for us and now welcoming us with loving arms. We don’t boast in it because we deserve it, we boast in it because we don’t deserve any of it.
Paul goes on to say the world is crucified to Him. It is dead to Him. It has no appeal. Right now, are we just waiting for life to go back to normal to so we can get back to going about our worldly business. Or is it dead to us? Now, we shouldn’t be going about sad and depressed like at the death of a loved one. Rather, we should be rejoicing that we are made alive and have real amazing life in Jesus!
The questions that I’ve been asking (as God teaches me) over the period of isolation are:
1. Am I boasting in myself, in the world, in what I do, or in Christ and Him crucified?
2. Does that show in my life (by the world being crucified and dead to me) as I boast in Christ?
I hope, by grace, you can answer those better than me.