Assuming the Gospel
Sometimes, I wish it weren’t so. I wish I was perfect, never having any faults. Right now, at this very moment I can name a myriad of areas in my life where I have fallen short. Areas I wish I were different in, better at or more knowledgeable about. And sadly one of the areas I continually fall short is keeping the main thing the main thing. Even as a full time college minister the main thing, Christ and the cross, does not stay central in my heart and life.
I easily get distracted. Maybe I’m infatuated with an idea over here. Or I get excited about a new opportunity in this area. Or maybe an obstacle seems insurmountable. Or I care about the approval of my co-workers rather than the acceptance of God. Most detrimental I become prideful about my “success” in an area of my life. In these seasons my heart becomes characterized by anxiety, worry, stress. I am fragile emotionally and feel empty lacking acceptance or approval. My life gets messy, complex, distracted or maybe even uninteresting. I start to wish I were somewhere else doing something else. It becomes a struggle to stay focused and have passion in major areas of my life.
What’s the answer? What do I do? Who can deliver me from myself?
I don't forget the gospel. I just start to assume it. It becomes common to me. It no longer stirs my soul to worship.
Jesus will…(right, Jesus is always the answer in Sunday School)
During these seasons of my life it’s not that I have forgotten the gospel or the great exhortation to ‘preach the gospel to yourself daily’. I mean my job is preaching the gospel. I tell lost people about it, asking them to surrender their life to Christ. I clarify and crystallize the gospel for new believers. I remind and encourage young believers by it. I help maturing believers be saturated by it and see it bear fruit in their life. With all this work of the gospel, I don’t forget it. Sadly, I just start to assume it. It becomes common to me. The good news no longer conjures a reaction in my soul. Where is the worship? My heart is not elated by the Good News. I have no amazement at the grace of God. No gratitude for his working on my behalf. I have no compassion for the things that evoke His compassion. I start to think and feel, ‘Of course God would desire me… he is lucky to have me on his team… look at all I do and sacrifice… I’m the MVP of this team’!
Now maybe you’re not as prideful and arrogant as I am to say those things out loud, but I believe that at some point you have felt them. You feel dry in your relationship with God and that relationship has grown more and more distant.
When you find yourself here do one simple thing…repent!
Take out your calendar and within the next few days set aside a block of time (extended time) to be alone with the Lord. When you get that time start by confessing:
God I am wrong! My heart, mind and life are all wrong. Please show me through your Word where and how I am wrong. Even though I don’t feel like it show me your express written will for my life and heart. Show me where I have strayed from your will or trampled on it believing I know better than you. I do not deserve you to interact with me or to be kind to me because you are a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children I trust you will. Grant me repentance and worship of you alone! Amen.
After starting with a prayer begin to study who God is, who He says you are and what He has done through Christ. Take your time and keep reading and praying until your heart is broken and worshiping with zeal. Here are some verses that God has been using to generate worship in my heart recently.
1 Peter 3:18
2 Corinthians 5:21
1 Peter 2:22-25
2 Corinthians 8:9
Maybe after reading this you wouldn’t characterize your relationship with God as cold and distant. Maybe you would say your time with God is dry or you feel ‘warm’ towards Him. You are still in a dangerous place, my friend! Run quickly to God and rekindle a white-hot relationship. Repent and worship afresh at the foot of the cross of Calvary. See the King of Glory bearing your sin in your place because He loves you. He tasted death for you! The Creator of the Universe suffered your punishment, the wrath of almighty God, that you may have peace with him and no longer be his enemy. You are no longer a stranger or alien but have been brought near as a son/daughter of God. And that is what you are. God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your heart crying, "Abba, Father!"
Go back to this place. Worship the good King and experience his embrace and nearness as the Father. Make it your first goal everyday to get your heart happy in the Lord. Make worship of him your delight, joy and treasure!