Where Is Your Interest?

A few years ago I was given a new Bible. It’s a devotional Bible for men with stories, analogies and commentaries scattered throughout.   The only problem was that when I saw the translation I was skeptical. The New Living Translation? Wait a minute, isn’t that just a paraphrase?  I have to admit I was disappointed. I was encouraged however, to give it a try. I am so glad that I did.  Do I still study with my trusted NKJV? Yes. Do I still think of verses I have memorized in NKJV? Yes. But the NLT has opened up a whole new enjoyment and appreciation for the Word of God. It has revealed the scriptures in a fresh and tangible way. It has made my daily devotions come alive. Now this post isn’t about Bible translations, and the futile debates over which one is right and wrong can be left for someone else.

One verse that has become so much more meaningful to me since reading it in the NLT is Galatians 6:14, “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” Wow, what a powerful verse and translation of it. It really says it all about how my life should be lived.

My interest in this world should no longer be alive in me. All the ambitions, goals, desires and attractions of this world should never have control of my heart. My interest in all that it has to offer has been crucified.  And in return the world no longer finds me interesting either. In fact the world will hate me if I am living my life sold out to Christ. It only makes sense doesn’t it?  All that the world stands for is exactly the opposite of what the Lord Jesus stood for. His teaching cut across the wisdom of this world. His commands were about lowliness, servanthood, esteeming others better than ourselves and humility. The world’s philosophy is driven by greed, self interest and self pleasure. There is NOTHING in common between the world and the way of Christ.

The key to being separate from the world is found in the little phrase – “Because of that cross.” Which cross? The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So often as Christians we leave the cross in the past and treat it like some kind of trophy. Sure we needed that cross the day we got saved. We were lost in sin and the only Savior we found who could deal with the sin problem was Jesus who hung on that cross for us.  We found victory over sin and death, and now we have a brand new life. The only problem is that for many believers they took that cross, opened up the trophy case and sat it prominently at the front for all to see. It became a symbol in their lives of the day they won salvation.

As I get older I am learning something more powerful and meaningful about that cross. Sure, we must boast in nothing else. Yes, we must hold the cross work of Christ as the only source of our salvation. But Paul is teaching us something far more profound and practical. That cross is the very thing that has given us the power to overcome this present world. That cross is the very thing that must go with us into our daily lives. That cross is our past, present and future. Without that cross we have no strength to be victorious over the enemies that seek to destroy us.

As I consider my spiritual life, I am convicted to evaluate my interest in this world. It is soul searching to look into the corners of my heart and see what hidden desires for this world are still hiding there.  Have I crucified all my interest in this world?  Is this world dead to me? Is that cross of the Lord Jesus Christ the center of my day to day experience? It was for the apostle Paul, and it should be for me. So I ask you the same question that I have been asking myself – where is your interest?

 

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