Okay, so I really enjoyed the book Living the Cross Centered Life. Extremely beneficial. I have heard it highly regarded by many and I would absolutely recommend it.
But… I am thinking I would rather live the God Centered Life. Sounds like a Sunday School answer, I know. Bear with me. To the argument of the cross-centered life, I concede that God will be found at the cross. I concede that if we lose the cross then we lose the God centered life altogether. Yet I cannot escape that in God we have the cross… and so much more!
Now, by God centered life I do not mean that I only take my cues about truth, moral behavior, and purpose from what the Bible says about God. Nor do I mean that I am thinking about all that he has done for us even before and apart from the cross. These are good things but they do not embody the essence of what I mean.
The "God-centered" life is the life that finds its deepest meaning and truth not just in knowing of God but in loving Him;...The life that finds it deepest joy and satisfaction in God; the Life that finds its greatest treasure to be God;...The life that has deep yearning and satisfaction found in enjoying the presence of God. I want my life to be most enraptured with the infinite, unsearchable, extravagantly loving and incomparably intimate God and all His glory.
How can I do this apart from the cross? I can't! But...the cross is a means to an end. It is a beautiful means that I cherish and rest upon in every moment, or at least should. But it is the means. Let me ask a question that for me has been a gut check. I think it will show that I am not arguing semantics.
What is the paramount accomplishment that the cross brings?
...and so on?
Paramount is that we know God, in the intimate sense of knowing! He loves us and we love him!
Why aren't those other wonderful things supreme? Because those other things have the purpose of putting us in everlasting relationship with God. And, strangely, we can in our hearts cherish these other things without having God as our supreme delight:
Forgiveness that frees me from guilt and shame.
Redemption that gives me purpose and value.
Righteousness that frees me from the disappointment and devastation of committing sin.
Conquering death that I may never again fear its curse.
Conquering sin that I may experience that there is something more powerful than my flesh.
Reconciliation... this is a tricky one. The eventful release of my rejection and bestowment of my self-worth.
Heaven, a promise of all the best parts of life and more in an undefiled and unimaginable glory.
All of those answers are true of the cross (in the broader sense of the gospel) and what it promises. And the truth is... I have delighted in many of them at different times more than I have delighted in knowing God. I have been guilty of desiring righteousness more than God. I have been guilty of dreaming of a Heaven and all its delights that only had God as its backdrop like a city mayor. It’s embarrassing and disheartening to think how easy that has been to do. At those times the cross has really been all about me.
Yet, consider if the cross didn’t exist. God would still be supreme. Consider if there was no fall. We would not need a cross to love and worship God. The cross is magnificent and precious as it has deepened our experience of God's love. But it is God and his love that it revealed, not itself.
Consider Heaven. I believe we will never forget the cross as it is the glory of God's love that I believe will be imprinted upon us for all eternity. But in Heaven the work of the cross will be accomplished. We will be glorified and its work will be done. God will be no less supreme. In fact, because the cross has accomplished it’s work, we will hold God more supremely than we do now.
The cross is essential to God's plan. I will never know God while walking this sin-cursed earth in my unglorified flesh without traveling by way of the cross. It is the "hallway" by which I currently travel and a precious one at that - but not the destination. "Something" far more glorious holds that position. And in fact, He happens to be the one who lovingly built the hallway and is bringing me down it to Himself.