November 2015 Final Issue
Home / Featured / Confessing and Receiving at the Cross
2014-05_Banner-Feature3

Confessing and Receiving at the Cross

Ever the “good student,” I engaged with the exercise, rattling off the negative traits I wanted to change:

  • critical
  • controlling
  • distant
  • bossy
  • independent
  • impatient
  • intolerant

I made the list but then didn’t know what to do with it. I hadn’t yet learned that I could take these behaviors of the old self to the cross of Christ, a living place of exchange. There Jesus would release me from them, imparting my new self in their place with His love. Though it would be many years before I learned the power of the cross, that day God met me and showed me who I was. I was no longer defined by a list of negative behaviors deeply engrained. His love was melting the hard exterior, bringing softness, forgiveness, freedom, and healing. As His cherished one, I could extend grace and mercy. I could ask for help. I could show love.

I was His beloved.

Our New Selves

The apostle Paul exhorts those receiving his letters to turn from their old selves – with their deceitful, sinful behavior – and embrace the new. I wonder if he’s so strong on this turning because of his own striking conversion. Here he is, one of the leaders opposing this new Jesus movement (even to the point of death), when Jesus appears to him on the road to Damascus. Paul falls to his knees, blinded. “Why are you persecuting me?” asks Jesus. Paul is never the same after the encounter – although the disciples in the early church are slow to believe his transformation. But his conversion bears fruit that lasts, and soon the disciples welcome him into the church.

Paul longs that those he meets – those in the churches he visits – would live in Christ. That they would slough off the rags of the old self and put on the royal robes of the new.

As he says in Ephesians 4:22–24: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in the true righteousness and holiness.

In the Greek, the verbs here are active – we put off our old self; we’re made new in our minds; we put on the new self. It’s a process, and not an instant prayer that we reel off. Day by day, we put on the new self; day by day, we shed our old ways. How so? By implementing spiritual practices, such as praying with the Bible (lectio divina), practicing the presence of God (calling to mind that He dwells in us), listening prayer (hearing God’s still, small voice), and confessing and receiving at the cross.

A Place of Exchange

Jesus’ cross pulses with life. He shed his blood that we might live, and He wants us to enjoy this life in the here-and-now, not just later in eternity. As we come to see the cross as a place of exchange, we can usher in His kingdom in the present.

Quieting ourselves before God, we can ask Him if we have taken on or have been given names that are not the ones He bestows on us. Do we call ourselves Worrier? Worthless? Ugly? As we give Him these names, we picture Jesus on the cross, releasing us from the false names while we wait for His healing word. No longer are we Worrier; we are Warrior. No longer Worthless, but Priceless. No longer Ugly, but Beautiful.

Of course, the cross is not just a place for receiving our new names. There we can confess the sins we’ve committed and the sins committed against us. That nasty exchange with our spouse this morning before breakfast? We take it to the cross (and to our spouse) for forgiveness and release. The pain we experienced when that boy bullied us at school, bruising our arms with his pinches and hurting our hearts with those nasty names? Jesus wants to receive that stored-up anguish and give us His love and assurance in its stead.

Confessing the abuse we suffered at the hands of one we trusted may feel excruciating. It might come out in primal screams, but we are safe in the arms of the Trinity (and trusted prayer partners). When Jesus frees us at His cross, He also enables us to forgive the perpetrator – even if we feel nothing at the time. But Jesus doesn’t want us to keep on suffering this abuse either – please get help and find a place of safety if this is happening to you. The effects of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse are devastating long after the abuse has stopped. The wounds left in your soul will prevent you from fully receiving all that Jesus wants to impart to you. The hardest step you will take is telling someone you trust about what you have suffered. But once you begin to tell your story, God will open a door to healing.

Or perhaps at the cross we need to confess our pride – we think we don’t need anyone else. To which the Lord says that He’s the one who has made us and formed us; He is the Potter, and we are the clay.

Or envy, that insidious sin that belittles God’s gifts in us and in others. To which the Lord says, I pour out my Spirit on you, that you might share my love with my people.

Or gluttony, when we eschew the Spirit-given gift of self-control. To which the Lord says, I will fill you with good things when you look to me for your satisfaction.

Or slander or gossip or malice or lust… to which the Lord says, whatever is good and beautiful and holy, think on these things. The cross of Christ relieves us of any and all of our wrongdoing, when we confess it to God and receive His forgiveness.

Jesus’ cross beckons you. Won’t you come?

The New Name

I will give you a new name
Known only to you
Contented will you be
At peace; in rest; whole.

I will give you a new name
Complete; without needs
Fulfilled; affirmed; fully clothed
Named by my love.

I have given you a new name
Walk into it; accept it
Wear it as a royal robe
Adorned you are by my love.

I have given you a new name
Beloved you are
Most precious to me
Cherished; adored; redeemed.

I have given you a new name
My daughter in whom I delight
With my presence, filled
A vase reflecting my beauty.

With your new name, go forth
Embodying peace, joy, and love
For with you I walk, in front and behind
Never to leave you, I promise; always here.

© 2012 Amy Boucher Pye

Print Friendly

About Amy Boucher Pye

Amy Boucher Pye
Amy Boucher Pye is a writer, speaker, editor, and reviewer. An American living in the UK, she is the author of Finding Myself in Britain: Our Search for Faith, Hope & True Identity (Authentic Media), releasing in October. She blogs at amyboucherpye.com and tweets at @AmyBoucherPye.

3 comments

  1. Chris Vickery

    Thanks Amy, I needed this. :-)

  2. Thanks Betty! It’s really the best place to be, isn’t it.

  3. Betty Ringeisen

    Wonderful article Amy. Thank you for calling all of us to the Cross.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Answer this question *