"See just how snake-like I can be..."

One of my favorite books is Roy Hession’s Calvary Road. If you’ve never had the opportunity to read it I highly recommend picking up a copy. It is a classic that I reference and read often.

I’ve thought in the last few days about one of my most well-read, regularly-visited passages.

Here’s the context-I’m struggling right now. For the last few days Satan has had a field day with me. My emotions are raw. My responses are harsh. My patience is tested, and I am tired. Relationships that should bring comfort are bringing conflict and criticism. My flesh wants to plead my innocence. I want to call into account the circumstances as justification for my actions. My will protests. I will not bend “the proud, stiff-necked I,” as Hession would say.

In Calvary Road, Hession talks a lot about brokenness. God is beckoning me back to one particular passage where Hession asks the reader to consider Christ. Here’s an excerpt:

“For this reason we are not likely to be broken except at the cross of Jesus. The willingness of Jesus to be broken for us is the all-compelling motive in our being broken too. We see Him, who is in the form of God, counting not equality with God a prize to be grasped at and hung on to, but letting it go for us and taking upon Him the form of a Servant-God’s Servant, man’s Servant. We see Him willing to have not rights of His own, willing to let men revile Him and not revile again, willing to let men tread on Him and not retaliate or defend Himself. Above all, we see Him broken as He meekly goes to Calvary to become men’s scapegoat by bearing their sins in His own body on the Tree. In a pathetic passage in a prophetic psalm, He says, “I am a worm, and no man.” (Psalm 22:6) Those who have been in tropical lands tell us that there is a big difference between a snake and a worm, when you attempt to strike at them. The snake rears itself up and hisses and tries to strike back-a true picture of self. But a worm offers no resistance, it allows you to do what you like with it, kick it or squash it under your heel-a picture of true brokenness. And Jesus was willing to become just that for us-a worm and no man.”

I am not fond of this passage. I have struggled for years with the idea of Jesus as a worm. I prefer to think of Him as a valiant yet obedient victor even in death. I struggle with the picture of my crowned King as one of a worm. I even told God so. I argued with Him about the accuracy of such a portrayal of Jesus. I suggested that Hession had overstepped and not balanced the greater message of the Word that ascribes Jesus the glory, honor and power due His Name.

In the midst of my brave and heart-felt defense of my Savior, the Risen One interrupted my thoughts and asked simply, “Do you defend my character or your arrogance?”

“My darling daughter you rail against the idea of Me as a selfless worm while resting on my provision as a spotless lamb. Is it because you hate the idea that I ask you to be just as selfless, just as broken?”

It was true. I don’t hate the idea that Jesus is a worm; I hate the conviction that I must become one as well. This dialogue with the Lord occurred nearly nine years ago during my first reading of Calvary Road. The Spirit brought it to my mind again today.

So if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go dig out my copy and walk the path of brokenness. It’s time to bend that“proud, stiff-necked I.”

P.S.-Extra credit for those of you who know which movie today's post title was quoted from.

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My start value

Hi, ya'll. If you're coming by from the Proverbs 31 devotion, welcome. I'm so glad you stopped by.

I'm just sitting here paralyzed on my sofa mesmerized by the discipline, skill and thrill of men's Olympic gymnastics. This is quite addicting. Really why else would a tired, anemic 18-weeks-pregnant mother of a three year old and eighteen month old still be awake at nearly midnight?Curses you Olympic coverage broadcasters! You are now my enemy.

I know it's really my own fault; so I'm desperately trying to justify my new addiction. I'm turning this into an educational experience. You see I just learned that each man's routine has a unique start value based on the difficulty of the tricks and choreography planned for a particular apparatus. One gymnast's start score on vault may be a 7.5 while another gymnast may begin with only a start value of 6.25. This start value caps how high a gymnast's potential score can go. The start value is then combined with a score for an athlete's execution of choreographed skills.

Now I know you don't really know me, but please don't judge me too harshly for what I'm about to tell you. Here's what I've been thinking-what is my start value spiritually? Sure I'm not always the most consistent athlete, but where's my baseline? What's my contribution to the team? Here's what I came up with:

Daughter of a world-class preacher: 1.725
Lifetime church membership and involvement: 1.25
Wife of deacon: .5
Children's worship leader: .5
Proverbs 31 Speaker: 1.00
Small group leader: .75

I wasn't even done mentally totaling my score when the Spirit whispered, "Whitney, your start value is 0.00. All the credit for a perfect score was in the execution of a perfect life." He didn't need to say anymore. I knew immediately how foolish and fleshly I had been.

I wish I could tell you that I don't normally assess my spiritual life quite so legalistically, but I think I do.

Many nights I have fallen asleep while mentally sizing up my day. How many times was I short with my children? Did I spend time alone with the Lord? How long? Was I gracious and loving toward Chad? Did I spend enough time in preparation for leading bible study? How does this compare with the amount of time I spent reading blogs and watching television?

So tell me, am I the only one?

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