|Major Ian Thomas of The Torchbearers is a powerful preacher but a very humble man. A friend of mine once approached him after he preached an exhilarating sermon. “Oh, Major Thomas,” she effused, “I learned so much from your message.” To which he replied, “Madam, I’m not surprised!” My friend said later that at first she thought his comment was puffed in pride. But then she remembered that his message was centered on the cross. Major Thomas realized that his hearers were moved not by him but by the power of God in the preaching of the cross. His comment was said in utter humility yet complete confidence.
Confidence is not the same thing as pride. Pride hates the cross. Pride will have us following Jesus anywhere—to a party, as it were, where he changes water to wine, to a sunlit beach where he preaches from a boat, or to a breezy hillside where he feeds thousands. But to the cross? Pride will have us digging in our heels. The invitation is so frighteningly individual. It’s an invitation to go alone.
That’s because it’s a place of death. It is at the cross where we “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Col. 3:5). Who wants to do that? Who wants to ask her husband, “Honey, I want to be a better wife…Would you please help point out my faults?” and then have to bite your tongue when he responds, “Well, you really come across like a know-it-all sometimes.” Ugh! Nothing attracts us to the cross. Our dark side abhors it; our enlightened side recognizes it as home base.
What of your earthly nature can you bring to the cross today? Itchiness to have things your own way? Laziness in relationships? Verbal barbs that wound? Humble yourself at the cross, and you’ll find humility in your heart and confidence in your Savior.
Lord, when I say I want to follow you, help me to climb the hill to the cross.