Sunday, January 25, 2009

Preaching the Gospel to others, when they can't preach to themselves.

"Preaching the gospel to myself each day nourishes within me a holy brazenness to believe what God says, enjoy what He offers, and do what He commands."- Milton Vincent (HT: Of First Importance)

Lately, I have been going through a lot of stuff in my personal life. I have seen sin birth new sin which births other sins. I have fallen into self-pity, which leads to loneliness, which leads to many deeper issues. But through this, Christ has been faithful. I have been incapable of preaching the gospel to myself daily on many occasions but Christ has put many Godly men in my life who are constantly reminding me of what Christ has accomplished already. I have been reminded that there is no room for self-pity because my identity and joy is in Christ. I know much of this sounds cliche but I trust they are cliche because of how good the truth is. 
So what has it looked like. I have had to remember the gospel often, and when I don't I have had to be honest and vulnerable with men in my life. Through this, I am reminded that whatever I am living in guilt and shame about, has been redeemed by Christ and that there is no condemnation for me, under Christ. So I rest in grace, I rest in the fact that I suck at loving Jesus but He continues chase after me and draw me close.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My sin, Eustace and a big great lion

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treador (The Chronicles of Narnia), there is a character named Eustace. Eustace is a bratty child that wants everything his way all of the time. He is selfish, prideful and no thankful for anything. At one point in the book Eustace finds his way to a dragon cave and filled with treasure. His greed causes him to fill his pockets with diamonds and put as much jewelry as he could on his small arms, but he gets tired and falls asleep. Through his sleep and because of an enchantment, his greed turns him into a dragon. This outward expression of many things going on in his heart begins to change him. He finds his way back to camp and is somehow able to communicate who he was and learns to be thankful for his friends.
Now what I'm getting to, even though his heart is changing... he is still a dragon. But in the night, Aslan (the Christ-figure who "is the son of the Emperor-beyond-the-sea, who saved me (Edmund) and saved Narnia") comes to Eustace and has him follow him to a bath/pool. Before Eustace is able to bathe, he is told he has to undress. He realizes that Aslan meant that he had to shed his scales, so he begins to scratch off as many of his scales as he could, but no matter how much he scratched off there was still more. He is then told that Aslan would have to do the work of taking off his scales, that Eustace' work was insufficient. Eustace describes his experience 

"The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything anything I've ever felt. The pleasure of feeling the stuff peel of."

Through this, he is made back into a boy. Aslan places clean garments are put on him and the work of being "better" begins in response to what Aslan has done.

I share this because of how true this all is in my life. There is so much junk, so much outward expression of my sin that is always present that I try peel it off myself. Sometimes this is out of fear of Christ taking that blow to my heart, even though I know it will ultimately lead to my joy. But I really love this process that takes place. Despite, Eustace's efforts, it is Aslan that takes away his scales and places undeserved garments on him, just as Christ has stripped away my sin and given me undeserved righteousness before him. 
So I don't know if allegories are something that "speak to you" but I know for me they do. There is something about seeing something that is going on internally, played out as a story. It gives me a new perspective and a deeper appreciation for Christ and His work on the cross. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I have been reading “Spectacular Sins” by John Piper . In it he says “ Christians in the west are weakened by wimpy worldviews. And wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians. God is weightless in our lives. He is not terrifyingly magnificent. His sovereignty is secondary (at best) to His sensitivity.” (pg. 13) He goes on to talk about how when we are grounded in the scriptures, the whole of scriptures, we will have a deeper understanding of a strong, powerful, good God that gives and takes life. This understanding will lead our faith to not disappear during hard times but instead grow because of our understanding of who He is.
This has been hard for me to read. None of this is “new material” for me, but it is convicting to think about how easily my view of God will shatter because of hard circumstances. My prayer for myself and for you is that we might grow in a deeper understanding of how big and great God is. As I are teach about how “God is in charge of everything” (one of the foundational truths in the preschool ministry at The Village), that we will really believe it and find hope in this truth. 
Site Meter