Thursday, May 1, 2014

Truckin' along

Our motivation to obey the commands (or imperatives) of Scripture can finally become a delight when we see that the reasons (the indicatives) almost always center around God’s love and provision for us in Christ. Through the gospel, the Holy Spirit empowers our motivations so that we are driven with gladness, not guilt, being ever reminded of our forgiveness in the gospel, not our failures in the law. It is God’s ability, not ours.

Chandler, Matt; Geiger, Eric; Patterson, Josh (2013-11-26). Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church (Kindle Locations 378-381). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

So here is one of my struggles, so much of what is preached and taught in church centers around our actions. If Jesus is lucky, he is tagged on as an after thought. Just last week our Sunday School teacher made a comment in jest, but there was really more truth to it than she realized. She said (about halfway through the lesson) "And let's talk about Jesus too, because after all, this is Sunday School."

The first half of our time together was spent on the law. The rules. Here is what you have to do to be a good Christian...in this instance it was "go out and get to know your neighbors. Now how can we be more intentional about doing that?"

Now I am not saying that getting to know your neighbors is a bad thing. I would even say it is a good thing. Unless I tend to be a jerk or something. Then maybe not. But a desire to know my neighbors it is not what I believe should drive my behavior.

Jesus endured the cross for the pure joy of it. (Heb. 12:2) He didn't do it to be a good guy, He did it because He loved His Father and wanted to please Him. He did it because nothing brought Him greater pleasure than serving His Father. I used to think that His joy came from saving me, but I don't believe that anymore. I believe I am the by-product of His joy, not the cause of it. His joy comes from glorifying God, not rescuing me. He fixed His eyes on God, just as I should fix my eyes on Him. My joy should not come from my neighbor thinking about what a great example I am, but my joy should come from Jesus calling me a faithful servant.

That is what I want to drive me, my love for God and His Son. To be driven by the beauty of my forgiveness rather than my attempts to earn that which is already given. To rely on God's ability, and not my inability.

I don't think I am completely there yet.

But I am working on it.

5 comments:

KC Bob said...

Reading your thoughts about this book (here and in previous posts) I am wondering if Chandler sees church differently than most religious folks.

Don G said...

I do believe that he sees things differently than most, but he is not alone. I think of Michael Horton, Tullian Tchividjian (Billy Graham's grandson), Jared Wilson, John Piper. At times it is a scary line of thought, because if he is right, a lot of people could be in for a rude awakening someday.

KC Bob said...

That list of guys all seem to earn their living from various churches. Seems like they probably still do not understand that the church is not about Sunday or about sermonizing.

These days I am sticking with my mega-UMC flavored church not because I am happy with it, or it's $90m building project, but because I do not see the church the same way that I once did. Mostly I see the homeless mission close by or the medical clinic down the street aways as the true expression of the church. The place I attend on Sundays is simply a para-church expression of the Body of Christ.

Don G said...

Yes, they all do I believe. But one has to be careful about stereotyping. Just because they are preachers doesn't necessarily make them bad.

I have learned that God uses all kinds to get his message across.

But I agree with you, a Sunday in the soup kitchen is usually more inspiring than one in a pew.

KC Bob said...

Never said they were bad. Just think that they are a part of a system that seems to resemble the OT priesthood of the few more than the NT priesthood of all believers.

And I agree that God uses all kinds. LOL, just ask Balaam.