“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
(1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB)

Our growth in holiness does not come by becoming obsessed with the sin we are trying to overcome. Rather, it comes by becoming obsessed with Jesus and His finished work on the Cross…and the reality of His life-giving resurrection.

“…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
(1 Peter 2:24 NASB)

I grew up in a Lutheran church, sitting in the pews from infancy on into my mid-elementary years (when my parents transitioned us to another evangelical church). Those were the days when families would have all of their children sit with them in the adult worship service. Looking back now, I’m so glad they did. The great hymns of the faith – and the profound theology they taught – are now deeply imprinted upon my heart and my mind because of it.

One of my favorite hymns has always been Beneath the Cross of Jesus. To this day, the third stanza of that great song means more to me than almost any other song I can think of. For all of my adult life I have sung these words to myself during my devotional times with the Lord. It brings me to tears often because of what it means to me.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.
(Beneath the Cross of Jesus)

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:25-26 – NASB)

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it Lord that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul
Love demands my soul
My life my all
(When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.
(Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus)

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
(Christ the Lord is Risen Today)

“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.”
(Galatians 6:14 NASB)

“For it was the Father’s good pleasure
for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself,
having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
(Colossians 1:19-20 NASB)

“For Christ also died for sins once for all,
the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God,
having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
(1 Peter 2:18 NASB)