Invitation to the Crosslife dougfloyd 6/1/2007 When Jesus says, “Abide in me,” he is inviting us into the deep communion that

He shares with the Father. He is welcoming us into life everlasting. He is offering the gift of living in the middle of the crosslife. Abiding in Christ is to abide in his death and to abide in his life at the same time. Sometimes tears give way to joy—other times joy and tears dance in love. Living in the cross is living in freedom is living in the Spirit. The Spirit of Resurrection leads me to and keeps me in the cross. From this side of eternity, the cross looks like death, but from the other side, it is everlasting life. Jesus offers a simple command: love God and love one another. While we love to write about love, to talk about love, to feel something called love, we dare not actually trying to live in the reality of love. In a world at war with God (and love), the invitation to love is an invitation to be misunderstood, to be hurt, to know weeping, and to enter into the pain of death. Love is costly. And yet, without love, our lives seem empty and meaningless. While we may not always be able to identify it, we sense something in us that gravitates toward love, longs for love, and yearns to love completely and freely. But we cannot love freely. We are covered. Sort of like a refrigerator covered with magnets. Some refrigerators are so completely covered with magnets, it is difficult to even find the handle. Think of these magnets like attachments that hinder the free flow of love. They may include offenses, bad thoughts, sorrow, pride, anger, and all manner of deception. We are covered with these magnets, these attachments. Each day we step out into the world, we are covered yet again with all manner of attachments that prevent us from loving God and loving one another. Someone compliments my outfit. The compliment might attach to me as pride or lust. Someone else insults me and the insult attaches. When I think of them I am offended. Throughout the course of the day, various encounters with people and places and emotions may cause attachments. These little, virtually unnoticeable attachments collect around my soul, hindering the free flow of God’s love. Some attachments cause pride, some cause anger, some cause prejudice, some cause discouragement. Instead of loving freely, I respond to a multitude of filters that distort my true perception and diminish my ability to act. Unfortunately, I cannot sort through all these attachments. I cannot always see them. These attachments, these passions, prevent me from loving freely. Thus for every act, there may be a series of hidden motives: some of which I can see and others that are not so clear. I act to protect my pride. I act to exact revenge. I act to fulfill a longing for acceptance. I act at the impulse of lusts. And in all these actions, I might outwardly be acting in the name of the Lord. A.W. Tozer warns that the selfish man glories behind the pulpit and kneeling at the alter. Paul suggests in I Corinthians 13, that a person can do all manner of kindnesses even giving their body to be burned and still not really love. God in his grace calls us into the freedom of His love and then makes a way for us to know and live in that love.

The love that flows between the Father and the Son is free and unattached. The Spirit of God embodies that love, and the Father, Son and Spirit love in a selfsacrificing flow of continuous delight. Humans can never fully grasp the wonder and glory of this love; we only see glimpses. The Son comes to reveal this love on earth. He reveals this love most fully in the cross. As Son approaches the cross, he acknowledges that the hour of glorification is at hand. The Son reveals that the cross is the fullest, clearest image of God’s love on earth. It is completely free, completely abandoned, completely unhindered, and completely poured out. Even as He dies, love and forgiveness continue pouring from His lips. The love He reveals is the love we were created to know. We were all made to be perfected in the wonder and beauty and glory of this love: this crosslove; this crosslife. The human story, our own story is story of rejecting this love and running from it. Without the freedom of the Spirit’s love, we seek life and love in created things, in people, in emotions. We seek life in the creature rather than the Creator. The created world, the realm God gave for us to move and flow in love becomes our prison, our coffin, our barrier to God. By seeking life within the created realm, our souls becomes riddled with attachments, passions that choke us, enslave us and hinder us from loving freely. Resentment, bitterness, lust, loneliness, fear, anger, and a world of other deceptions block our ability to know and give love. The only medicine to cure our souls is the love life of God we rejected. The Son comes to reveal that love life on earth and even as he reveals it in the cross, he breaks the power of sin and death. This act of love, this act of obedience, the act of glory prepares a place, a mansion, a dwelling where the Spirit can come with us and in us, revealing the love life of God. Jesus says, “I’ve come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” This life the Son comes to give is the life of the Spirit. The Spirit reveals the vibrant life of love flowing endlessly between Father and Son. The Father welcomes us into love through the Son by the Spirit. And this glorious, wondrous, soul filling, self-giving love manifests in our world as the cross. Thus, the resurrecting life of God, the heavenly medicine for our soul is experienced as death. The cross is not simply process of death to life. The cross is life in death. So we experience the overwhelming love of God as both rejoicing and suffering. This love begins transforming us, freeing us from the enslavement of attachments that hinder us from loving freely. This can often be painful. The Spirit freely works in and through the circumstances of our world. As he frees us, the cup of sorrow becomes the cup of joy. The crosslife summons you whether you live in Tanzania or Timbuktu. There is no way to see God without passing through the cross. Thus, Jesus stands in the heart of the cross and proclaims, “No man comes to the Father except by me.” The crosslife is not a means to an end. The crosslife is eternal life. The crosslife is abiding in Christ. The crosslife is the life of being transformed from glory to glory. As the Spirit brings us into the freedom of his love, we are free to love properly. The love of God manifests freely in all emotions: anger, joy, laughter, and sorrow. Jesus responds properly because he is free to love with no attachments: the evil one has nothing on Him. But we are not free to love. So we

respond in pity when we should respond in anger. We respond in sadness when we should respond in joy. We respond in bitterness and resentment when we should respond in forgiveness. So we welcome the gift of the Spirit. We rejoice in the crosslife. Though the outer man wastes away, the inner man is being renewed day by day. We may fall and fail, but the Father promises to send the Spirit, disciplining those who are His. And the Son will present us blameless before the Father. So with our feeble hands and feeble hearts we embrace this call, this cross, this death, this life. The crosslife frees us to rejoice in abundance and in scarcity. Whether in weeping or in laughter, we rest and are grateful for His goodness. We know that even in the midst of our daily deaths, life everlasting pulsates through our souls, and transforms us from glory to glory.