A couple days ago, I was listening to the radio and heard the David Crowder song “Shadows” end the chorus has stuck with me. Then later in the day I was having a discussion with a couple of people and the question was asked “Why does he (or she) behave that way?” A response was given along the lines of “the enemy is atacking him (or her).” For some reason that did not sit well with me. I guess I do not think that it is that simple.
I was later driving around with those thoughts running through my mind and I put two and two together and came up with the following tweet….I’m not lost in the dark, merely resting in the shadow of the cross. Those thoughts have stuck with me so I figured why not put them down since I am guessing that I am supposed to remember them.
In the past, I have talked about or even blogged about the reality that not everything is Jesus vs. Satan. There is often a third component and that is us. That is self. There is more to it than the little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other. There is the individual. There is you and there is me. Not every temptation is from the enemy. A lot of the time, most of the time, I have found that I feel very little in the way of being attacked, but rather, I simply choose me over Him.
In most of my reading of Scripture, and I am welcome to being corrected, I find very few places where I can say the devil made someone do something. Even in the garden, Satan did nothing but talk. This talk was persuasive, but Eve (and Adam) chose. They chose to follow some desire to be like God in knowing the difference between good and evil. In the temptation in the desert, Christ chose not to give in to the temptations. The fact that Christ chose correctly or wisely, does not mean that the time was not challenging or tumultuous. The humanness of Christ, probably desired to destroy Satan during the temptation, but knew it was not the time. He was resting in the shadow of the cross.
I think that resting in the shadow of the cross is that challenge of all believers. It is the challenge of a believer to rest in the shadow of the cross before jumping in to things. The challenges that we face as believers are there because we have a natural human tendency to be drawn in to those things. It is these weaknesses of the flesh that give the enemy a megaphone to yell at us, BUT the enemy does very little in the way of making us do anything. If we struggle with greed, then we already have a natural desire to have more than someone else. The enemy might bring things to light, such as someone getting a nice new car, a bigger house, a bigger paycheck, anything that is unfair, but ultimately we choose the path we are going to take.
We are not lost when we wrestle with these decisions or even when we choose incorrectly, but much of the time we are trying to rest in the shadow of the cross. We are struggling to rest in the completed work of Christ. Often, I will hear of a brother or sister struggling and the phrase “they are falling away” is used. Are they? Has their faith in the completed work of Christ really wavered? Do they no longer know who Christ is, what He accomplished? Are they denying Him? That is falling away. That is stepping away from Christ. Struggling with sin (whether it be one individual sin habitually or any number of sins) is not falling away; it is being a fallen human. Struggling with sin is the punishment for the separation that took place in Eden. Struggling with sin, is the battle to remain at rest in the shadow of the cross.
When my life is not going the way that I want it to, I do not immediately jump into the realm of is Satan attacking, nor does my Lord become any less real to me. He is and will always be Lord of Lords and King of Kings, but I still struggle. It is not because of the enemy though, but rather because I am trying to force myself out from under the shadow of the cross. That is a place that I can never be. I must always remain in the shadow of the cross because I am crucified with Christ. My rebirth as a new creation has taken place in my heart, but I am still in a earthen vessel that is tethered to the cross.
I have not truly experienced the freedom of the resurrection to the fullest. I have only tasted but a piece of that. It is that taste that allows me to sit in the shadows of the cross, waiting patiently for guidance and wisdom from Him.