When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross—Colossians 2:13-15.
The cross is compelling because Christ is compelling. His character is compelling by the depth of its delivery; His love is compelling by the extent of its capacity; His holiness is compelling by the respect it demands; His forgiveness is compelling by the thoroughness of its cleansing; His power is compelling by its ability to disarm the enemy and deem him powerless.
Therefore, the cross compels Christ’s followers to be like Him. There is nothing neutral about the cross. Either it compels you or it repels you. The cross either frees you to forgive or it drives you away, stuck in a cycle of cynicism. The cross either leads you into a life of hope or it discourages you to remain in a state of fear and uncertainty. You cannot embrace the cross and self at the same time. It is not possible.
If it were possible, it would not be advisable. "A house divided will not stand" (Luke 11:17). A heart divided will collapse under the weight of diluted loyalties. Therefore, the cross compels you to make a radical commitment to Christ. For a moment, the cross looked like man’s torture chamber. But it turned into God’s remedy for redemption. The cross is not a symbol of compassion; it is compassion. Man won the physical battle that day, but God won the spiritual one. It took physical death to triumph over the enemy in the spiritual realm. Thus, the cross gives you the power to overcome.
Go back to the foot of the cross. This is where the love and the blood of Christ flowed down together for you. This is a rare combination that for generations has compelled millions to extend the love of God to the lost and the least. The foot of the cross is compelling because it is the location for the most leverage. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). But what about the suffering we incur as we bear His cross?
The cross you bear is compelling (Luke 14:27). It is compelling because it reflects the sacrifice and salvation of the cross of Christ. Moreover, the cross you hold high in word and deed draws all men to Jesus (John 12:32). Christ compels all cultures, denominations, races, and socio-economic classes. His cross invites and even demands a response.
To remain neutral is not an option. The cross either compels you to repent, or it repels you to remain in your sin. You can choose a divine destiny or one of your own making. The cross means death to self and sin, but life in Christ. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34b).
Prayer: Am I compelled or repelled by the cross? How can I bear Christ’s cross with grace?
Related Readings: Galatians 6:12-14; Philippians 2:8, 3:18