Echoes From the Campfire

I don’t have to go to church to hunt for Him.  I see Him around me every day, everywhere I look.”
                –Elmer Kelton  (The Good Old Boys)

    “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”
                –Philippians 3:8 (NASB)
Does the cross just represent an emotional response?  Does it bring tears and sorrow?  That is not necessarily bad, but if that’s all it does then it is a reproach to what took place on the cross.  Isaac Watts wrote a great hymn concerning the cross.  Throughout the years it has brought to many an emotional response, but that was not the purpose of Watts.  Ponder each verse from this grand old hymn.

         “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.”

Do you count your career loss?  How about your material possessions?  When we look at the cross it should do more than bring mere tears, it should force us to humble service.  Paul said that he would boast only in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Everything else is vain, meaningless, unless we view them in light of the cross.  Our efforts, our good deeds, our awards, our honors, all that we have accomplished are not worth boasting about in view of the cross.

         “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.”

Jesus took it all!  Why then do we look to ourselves?  The images depict a horrible image that will and should stir our emotions.  But God did not intend for us to simply cry over Christ’s suffering.  Many people saw Mel Gibson’s movie–they wept, tears were flowing–but their lives did not change.  We may have sorrow, but not repentance, yet a purpose of the cross is to bring man to repentance and obedience.

         “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?”

“The verb ‘survey’ means ‘to view in detail,’ but Watts had more than careful observation in mind when he encouraged Christians to survey the ‘cross on which the Prince of Glory died.’  When we truly survey the cross, kneeling in awe before the astounding love that was poured out for us there, it alters the way we live.”  (Denise K. Loock, Open Your Hymnal)

         “Were the whole realm of nature mine,
          That were a present far too small;
          Love so amazing, so divine,
          Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

It demands more than tears, it demands your soul–your all.  Yes, remember the cross and the sacrifice of Christ.  Yes, shed tears, but not of sorrow, but of joy for now you can be redeemed by this precious blood that was shed.  Sing this song in worship; this “worship should prune our souls and motivate us to act upon the words we sing.” (Loock)