“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
Contrary to what the majority of the Bible says about human experience, false PR has still leaked out about What to Expect from Life Now That You’re a Christian. There is a collective Evangelical consciousness is somehow haunted with the idea that we’re all destined for financial stability, deep, two-hearts-beating-as-one relationships, and glowing health.
The problem is this picture does not account for future pain or difficulty. Worse still, that picture doesn’t even square with reality. This is where 1 Corinthians hits home.
The Corinthian were a people much like us, enamored with big, shiny, human-shaped ideas of theology and life, as if we were the point of the story instead of God. But the Apostle Paul was fixated on Christ and him crucified. This was—and still is—utter foolishness to modern, educated people and sickening to religious, morally uptight people (and chances are you and I both are in one of those categories). True, by trusting Jesus’ sacrifice, we get a blissful eternity. But it’s almost as if we’re inoculated to the story of the cross.
A clearer picture of the reality of Christian life is that we’re living daily life in light of the counterintuitive nature of the cross. God disarms us by getting things done through death and resurrection, not through our own self-important 5 Steps to Successful Living. While we’re busy twittering ourselves into social media stardom, God covertly sneaks in the “foolishness” and “weakness” of the cross to display his greatness! Just think about that: a criminal’s death displayed in a public place reveals the glory of God. The most evil, vile, treasonous event in all history—the crucifixion of the righteous man, Jesus Christ—brings redemption to his people. And if God brings resurrection out of that single, cataclysmic event, surely hope breaks into our messy lives.
Maybe it’s just me, but I run from pain. More often than not, life is about my comforts, achievements, recognition, my hurts, my . . . whatever. But thanks be to God, it’s not about me. And it’s not about you either. It’s about Jesus and living life in light of the gloriously scandalous cross day after day where he meets suffering people and brings life out of death.