Foolish Delusions

Have you ever felt the desire to do something spectacular for God? I have.

That’s my attitude for most everything I do.

Who wants to be a nobody missionary, or a parent raising a family in obscurity, or a computer programmer locked in an anonymous cubicle somewhere?

We have this burning desire to make a splash. To be known. To be admired.

It’s a common feeling each of us has, including some of the great saints. IMG_2571

“Each one of us carries in our heart a horrible religious fanatic. We would all like to do something so spectacular that we could brag and say, ‘See what I’ve done for God.’ This religious fanatic, if not watched, will destroy our faith with foolish delusions of good works. God’s approval does not come to us through good works, but through Christ whose works are perfect. And He did them for us. We own his perfect record. It’s a gift God has given to us, his saints. – Martin Luther

How would our lives change if we really believed all our works were perfect, that we’ve already done the big splash because we’re in Christ? And that God is pleased with us?

For me, it took the weight of the mountains off my shoulders. I was able to breathe and relax. The performance was over. What joy!

Knowing that everything I do in Christ is mediated through him and therefore acceptable to God was revolutionary.

Even my best works require Christ’s mediation.

Can you imagine what my sloppy, lazy works require?

The same.

We don’t do perfect this side of heaven.

Everything we do is mixed in with remaining sin.

That’s why we need a Savior at all times.

That’s why he’s in heaven interceding for us and mediating everything we do.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Talk to me.

 

 

How To Rid Yourself of Doom and Gloom

Today I woke up with a long list of grievances I compiled through the night of all the things that were wrong in my life.

Instead of realizing this was a tactic of the devil, I indulged in my black mood.

I vented all over my husband. I criticized the condition of our home. My children weren’t living up to my expectations. Even the cat was wrong today, if we had a cat.

I had no desire to pray on my way to work. Truth is, I was going to continue grumbling and enjoying my well-deserved pity party of one.

But then I reached into my book bag and pulled out an article on the doctrine of our Union with Christ. It was written fifty years ago by noted English bible teacher, Arthur Pink.

God met me there because when I finished it, my gloom was gone and I was rejoicing in the gospel.

Here’s what I learned that changed my heart:

1) Those old saints knew their stuff and preached it. The deep truths, mostly forgotten today because they might offend, are the only prescription for a healthy heart.

2) The doctrine of the Union with Christ is central to our understanding of who were are as Christians. Without it, we see ourselves as individuals tied to a lifeline to Christ, much like an astronaut twirling in space who is attached by a cord to the space capsule.

3) We view Christ as a solo act, independent of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and separated from the people he came to save. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

4) Christ and his people are inseparable – it is an eternal union that began before the foundation of the world and made known and enjoyed in time.

5) It is the foundation for all the other blessings we enjoy in Christ – the new birth (regeneration), the forgiveness of sins (justification), the remodel of our lives (sanctification), and our new bodies (glorification).

6) This union is so real and vital and intimate that God has never viewed us apart from Christ! And God never sees Christ apart from his church. He is the head of the church.

4) We are told in Scripture that Jesus became flesh for us; when he died on the cross, we died with him; when he was buried, we went into the tomb with him; and when he was resurrected, we were raised with him.

We have never been alone!

We are never alone now.

And we will never be alone in heaven. We belong to Jesus and that union is secured for an eternity.

All of these blessings come to us through the gospel and by faith in Christ.

He secured them. He merited them for us. He has given them to us.

Ephesians says we are seated with him in the heavenly places. That’s because Jesus is there, and where he is, that’s where we are, too.

Go out and tell somebody you have a new address!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave Your Status at the Door

In continuing with the theme of God’s kingdom, it is here that we can live status-free.

The world jostles for position all the time. It starts in the family. There’s a favorite aunt, or a special cousin. There are the relatives nobody likes, and there are others that everybody adores.

Then there’s school. The cool, the popular, and the geeks.

College is no better. Ivy league vs. state universities. Private vs. community colleges. Yale sounds better than Berkeley, Stanford more elitist than Cal State.

Once you get into the work force, you quickly slam into the status levels there. It’s called management and labor. The two great divides.

The only place on earth where this isn’t true is in God’s kingdom. There we have one head – Jesus. The rest of us are all brothers and sisters. We came into the kingdom on the same playing field – through the cross. We stay in the kingdom through no merit of our own, but solely on the merits of Christ and what he has done for us.

There is no room for posturing, snobbery, or reputation.

But there is plenty of room for compassion, love and service to one another.

Next time you’re tempted to elevate or belittle yourself – both are sin – remember that your life is defined by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

He’s the ruler of the universe. You can rub shoulders with him!