In the midst of busy days and the demands of life, how do we continually focus upon the Gospel and live a cross-centered life? Our Pastor taught this week on the importance of living a cross-centered life in our current series on Galatians. He referenced a book by C.J. Mahaney, Living the Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing. In his book Mahaney suggests five simple ways we can live a cross-centered life by drawing near to the cross each day.
Memorize the Gospel
God instructs us to store up His Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) Begin with the Bible’s central message. Here are a few passages with which to begin.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21
- Romans 8:31-34
- Isaiah 53:3-6
- Romans 3:23-26
- Romans 5:6-11
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
- Galatians 2:21
Do you have trouble with Scripture memory? Begin by simply reading the verse several times throughout your day. Write it out. Post it in prominent places where you’ll see it throughout your day. There are also some great apps to help you memorize Scripture. You might want to check out the Bible Minded App. Remember, it’s not a race. Take time to allow God’s Word to permeate your heart, soul and mind. You’ll soon discover it’s at the ready when you need to recall it in your day.
Pray the Gospel
“The gospel should be at the center of your prayer life because it makes it possible for us to approach God. The gospel gives us the confidence to pray boldly—we’re accepted in God’s beloved Son.” —C. J. Mahaney
Pray using a simple prayer thanking God:
- for who He is and all He has done to forgive us of our sins purchased through Christ’s death on the cross
- you’ll never be separated from God because Jesus bore God’s wrath for our sin
- because of the cross you are reconciled to God
- you’ve been given the Holy Spirit to dwell in you, lead you, guide you, teach you and empower you to resist sin and serve God
Sing the Gospel
Make cross-centered worship a regular part of your daily routine. One resource you might find help is our weekly worship set list of songs we sing regularly on Sundays, available through our Warren Worship Spotify Playlist. And here is a Spotify playlist from Sovereign Grace Music titled The Cross-Centered Life.
Review How the Gospel Has Changed You
“The apostle Paul was committed to remembering what he once was because that memory magnified God’s grace.” —C.J. Mahaney
We need to follow Paul’s example. It’s a simple exercise of saying “Before Christ I, ___________.” (fill in a few words/descriptors of your life before Christ). Take the time to write out your testimony. Be specific and identify the sin in which you were lost and how God changed your life for His glory.
Study the Gospel
To grow in your passion for what Jesus has done, increase your understanding of what He has done. —C.J. Mahaney
Mahaney lists several practical recommendations in his book for making the gospel an ongoing life-study. If you are not in a Life Group here at Warren, we encourage and invite you to become part of one. Each week you’ll meet with others who are on this same journey and you’ll spend time studying God’s Word, praying and sharing life together. You can find out more about Life Groups at Warren (on and off campus) on our website, warrenbapist.org/lifegroups. Or contact Lane Lowery, our Spiritual Formation Pastor, and he’ll be happy to help you find a group that is right for you!
Mahaney closes with this final exhortation.
“But remember that we can’t do this on our own. We need God’s Spirit to light the truths of the cross within our hearts. This is true at the moment our hearts are regenerated, and it continues to be true every day of our Christian lives….We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and bring the gospel alive to us again. He’s quick to hear and faithful to answer. But His help but be actively sought. “