"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12 verse 2.
The glory and shame of the cross may be a paradox to others as it first was to me. Before the cross became personal to me, I always saw the cross as something so solemn and sad, representing death. I didn't understand how this same cross can be glorifying.
But now that the cross of Jesus is personal to me, it symbolises the promise that in Christ and Christ alone, I have become heir to the heavenly inheritance in the Kingdom of heaven, that my sinful life is forgiven and that I am justified through my faith in Christ.
It is through God's own love and will for me, that He sent His one and only beloved Son to die on the cross for me, for His own purpose, for me to be glorified together with Christ.
Since I trusted in Jesus, this glory has been mine. Yet and over the years I feel it is has become so easy to take this glory for granted. It is easy to accept the blessings and redemption that comes with the glory of the cross without the need to be scorned or shamed for the cross.
Before I became a follower of Jesus, I was guilty of participating in the verbal abuse, despising, scorn, shame and mockery of the other Christians I knew. Being the argumentative and vocal person that I am, I would not pass a chance to debate with Christians and question their authority and shame them for believing in something I saw as foolish and futile. I felt very proud and content with myself whenever I could make a Christian angry or speechless. Being a Christian now, I understand what it must have felt like for those Christians I once mocked and scowled at.
I am thoroughly fortunate that in Australia, I do not need to have a secret stash for my Bible and Christian materials or attend church congregations in hiding or fear for my life for professing my faith in Jesus. And yet, even though my life is not at risk, as it was for the followers' of Jesus in Roman times, I am still guilty of feeling ashamed to do something as simple as sharing my faith with my neighbour or loved ones. I am guilty of sounding foolish and futile, needing to debate with others or needing to defend my faith in humility and love, which can be extremely challenging.
And yet Paul says in Romans 1 verse 16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes". Amazingly, Paul was previously a zealous Pharisee who was ferociously persecuting the early Christians and the Church of God before his miraculous conversion to being a follower of Jesus. He spent the rest of his life fiercely spreading the Gospels and the word of God to all humanity.
Paul was not ashamed of the cross because he believed in the tremendous power of salvation through the cross. He experienced it personally and this is revealed though the Gospels, a way I have found for me to be right with God through my faith from the beginning to the end.
For it is Jesus who was stripped and humiliated, who bore the cross in front of a crowd, being scorned, despised, mocked and abused to the point of death. It is also Jesus that God resurrected and lifted up the highest place in Heaven giving him the name above every name (Philippians 2 verses 6-10).
And thus it is not a shame to bear the cross of Jesus, proudly declaring my faith both in action and words. Not as a fashion accessory as so many people wear the cross for nowadays, but to proudly be unashamed, to not be silent, to be unafraid of anyone who tries to make me feel foolish and dumb for proclaiming Jesus and God's salvation plan for everyone.
In the cross, there is no loss but victory, no condemnation but vindication, no humiliation but exaltation. No shame, but glory. And I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippains 3 verse 14). That is the privilege and honour I share in God's glory.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa is married to Nathanael, a mum to one, runs a home-based cake business, Lollicakes and is also currently studying towards an Early Childhood Teaching qualification. www.lollicakes.com.au
Clarissa Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html
Clarissa Yates is a young writer and a mum of two from Perth, Western Australia and a business woman with her 'Hooked in a Box' - www.hookedinabox.com. Hooked in a Box is a curated gift box studio company that hand-picks and creates customised and personalised gift boxes for Mum and babies. Clarissa Yates previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html