Preoccupation with what?

01/28/2009   |   church life, family living, growth, meaning of life    |       |    2 Comments

Being over 40 has caused me to become a little more aware of my health.  I’ve been popping vitamins, walking on a treadmill, doing aerobic exercises, watching what I eat and doing a lot of research on the web about health/fitness.

Early this morning while I was reading I noticed that I was holding my breath.  I wondered to myself, “How long have I been doing this?”  I couldn’t believe it… I asked myself, “Is this why sometimes I feel tension in my chest?”  Immediately, I began taking breaths, feeling normal again.  As I reflected on what was happening and what I was reading, I realized that I was so preoccupied with what I was reading that I stopped taking normal breaths.  What was I reading?  “Living the Cross-Centered Life” by C.J. Mahaney.

I thought to myself, now wouldn’t it be “plum” crazy if I fell out dead in this closet with no one expected to wake up for hours.  Now, before I went into a full blown panic attack, I caught myself having realized how laser focused I was on the book.  Between what C.J. and my own chest was saying I said, “Is this what we do as Christ followers?” Do we become so preoccupied with what’s right in front of us that we miss the most important facet of the Christian life?  Isn’t the cross, central to everything?  Isn’t that where our focus and attention should gaze?  Or should it be on “being good”, “going to church”, “not disobeying the 10 commandments”, or “dropping a dollar or two in the offering plates as it passes.”  What is the Christian life all about? I’ll tell you… it’s about the cross.  It’s not our performance of spiritual duties; it’s the cross that Jesus died on for our sins (Romans 5:8-10).  His cross should have been our cross.  We should have died and been sent to Hell but Jesus chose to die in our place.  “He who knew no sin, became sin that we may become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus wiped the record of our sin away and gave us His righteousness.  We don’t deserve what Jesus did for us, that’s why it’s called “amazing grace.” We sing this song with “joy” because we are reminded that we didn’t do anything to deserve it.  What Jesus has done is the only basis of our forgiveness – not what we have done.

After getting up off the floor from reading I was more compelled than ever to make my affection a preoccupation with the cross (the place where Jesus died, being tortured like a common criminal so that I could be forgiven and accepted by God).  This reality has slowed me down today and has challenged me to make the “main thing” the main thing – the Cross of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:8-10).

Every time I breathe, guess what I’ll be thinking about?  That’s right, the cross.  What about you?  Every time you breathe, what are you going to be thinking about?  What are you preoccupied with?