It’s all in how you approach it
“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
The two criminals that hung on the Cross beside Jesus perfectly demonstrate the two choices that we have in how we approach Jesus Christ – both in respect to our salvation and our daily life. The first approached Christ ordering Christ to save him. The second asked to be saved. The first approached in a mocking, demanding manner, the second in a humble manner. And which is still with Christ in Paradise? The second, of course. ” Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up”. James 4:10 reminds us that we must approach Jesus Chris with humility in all things, just as we must approach Him in humility when we ask Him to be our Saviour.
So many times in our day-to-day walk, we forget who is the Lord of our lives. It is so easy to fall into a demanding tone with Jesus. We would never think that we are being demanding, but we constantly ask for things, forgetting that we also need to thank Him, to praise Him, and to worship Him. We are constantly surprised when things don’t go our way, always desiring our way instead of His, forgetting who is in control. How arrogant can we be? ” A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23).
So how are we to approach Christ?
For starters, we need to constantly acknowledge His divinity. Each and every day, we need to talk to God about the fact that He is God, that He loves us and cares for us, and that He knows each and every thing about us. Meditate on these verses for a moment, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high “; (Hebrews 1:1-3). The first criminal that hung beside Christ failed to see that Christ was God and the Messiah. The second recognized Him and asked to be remembered by Him. We must recognize who He is, daily.
We need to approach Christ in humility. We need to emulate Jesus Himself who, ” humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ” (Philippians 4:8). And then we must, ” Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you ” (I Peter 5:6-7). We approach Christ in humility by coming before Him acknowledging His place in our lives and our very great need for Him. When we do this, we can then cast our cares upon Him knowing that He cares for us. The second criminal on the cross came to Christ in humility because in the absolute clarity at the end of his life, he could see Christ clearly and he knew whom it was he was hanging next to. ” Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven ” (Matthew 18:4). In order for Christ to be Lord of our life, we must step off the throne.
We need to approach Christ in confidence. When we have acknowledged Christ as Saviour and God and come before Him in humility as a sinner, we can have absolute confidence in our relationship with Him. ” For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved ” (Romans 10:13). Once we know Christ as Saviour, we can approach Him at any time. Hebrews 4:16 reminds us, ” Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need “. We can approach Christ boldly, because we are His children. ” According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him ” (Ephesians 3:11-12). Because of our faith, we can be bold and approach Him with full access.
Friends, the God of the Universe loves us and we have the privilege of approaching Him each and every day. When we do so, however, we cannot forget HOW to approach Him. We must come before both in humility and boldness, never forgetting that He alone is Lord of our lives. What have we learned from the two criminals on the cross? Well, our eternal lives hang in the balance of how we approach Christ and each day we are given a choice to make Him Lord, or hop on the throne ourselves. Follow the path of the humble and yet completely-saved criminal and live your lives in paradise with Christ.