What shall I say to the commendation of Christ and His Cross I bless the Lord He has made my prison a palace to me. And what am I that He should have dealt thus with me? I have looked greedy-like to such a lot as this, but still thought it was too high for me when I saw how vile I was.

-Isabel Alison—in regards to her own execution in 1681


Do you believe in Jesus enough to go to a cross of your own if it meant doing so?  In Paul’s parting words to the Galatians he speaks of the Cross of Christ Jesus.  For Paul, the Cross  was the basis for examining his own life and loves. 

 For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.   (Galatians 6:14, The Message Bible)

What do you boast in?

It is at the Cross alone that we find not an ounce of condemnation but grace untold, and it is at the Cross that we were put to death in relation to the world.  For Paul, the central issue comes down to what God has already done on the Cross—never to be done again.  The Cross doesn’t impact our lives, it totally changes our lives.  It is by what was done at the Cross that God takes what was trash and makes it art, takes what was filthy and makes it clean, takes what was pitch-black and makes it into a rainbow, and takes what was a stench and makes it a bed of roses. 

He takes those of us who were nothing and he makes us something. 

This is what it is to live in the shadow of the Cross.