Life by Grace

JOIN ME IN MY JOURNEY PERMEATED BY THE GRACE OF GOD. "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." I Corinthians 15:10

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Make much of God...not me

I KNOW THIS ENTRY IS LONG, BUT THERE ARE GREAT TRUTHS PACKED IN IT THAT EVERYONE OF US NEEDS TO HEAR...AND I AM THE FIRST TO ADMITT IT. DO KEEP READING AND DRINK DEEPLY OF THE RICHNESS OF THE GREAT VALUE OF CHRIST SHOWN THROUGH THE GOSPEL!

I would like to add a further gospel focus to my previous entry titled "Earthen Vessel Moments." God has still been chipping away at my prideful heart throughout this week. The toughest part of the refining was yesterday. Romans 7:18-25 tells my story perfectly. Here are some selected portions that really highlight my struggle. "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me...But I see a law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

God led me to this passage as well as to a book that I started reading yesterday, God is the Gospel by John Piper. Both encouraged my heart in the amazing greatness of God compared to the wretchedness of my heart. I have only read the introduction and the first chapter of Piper's book, and it was awesome. He directly addressed the battle that has been going on in my heart. There is a war waging against the law of my mind. The final conclusion that I came to yesterday after reading from Piper's book was that I have been living extremely man-centered in many areas of my life, because I feel loved when I am made much of instead of when God is made much of. I have missed that God is the goal of the gospel and not what I get from His gifts to me. Piper states it better than I can, so I will let you read some selections from him.

"In this place, we have turned the love of God and the gospel of Christ into a divine endorsement of our delight in many lesser things, especially the delight in our being made much of. The acid test of biblical God-centeredness--and faithfulness to the gospel--is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or becuase, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever?....The sad thing is that a radically man-centered view of love permeates our culture and our churches. From the time they can toddle we teach our children that feeling loved means feeling made much of....If you don't make much of me you are not loving me."

"But when we apply this definition of love to God, it weakens his worth, undermines his goodness, and steals our final satisfaction. If the enjoyment of God himself is not the final and best gift of love, than God is not the greatest treasure, his self-giving is not the highest mercy, the gospel is not the good news that sinners may enjoy their Maker, Christ did not suffer to bring us to God, and our souls must look beyond Him for satisfaction....Our fatal error is believing that wanting to be happy means wanting to be made much of. It feels so good to be affirmed. But the good feeling is finally rooted in the worth of self, not the worth of God."

"The saving love of God is God's commitment to do everything necessary to entrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying, namely himself...Since we are sinners and have no right and no desire to be enthralled with God, therefore God's love enacted a plan of redemption to provide that right and that desire. The supreme demonstration of God's love was the sending of his Son to die for our sins and to rise again so that sinners might have the right to approach God and might have the pleasure of his presence forever...The gospel is the good news of our final and full enjoyment of the glory of God in the face of Christ. That this enjoyment had to be purchased for sinners at the cost of Christ's life makes his glory shine all the more brightly. And that this enjoyment is a free and unmerited gift makes it shine more brightly still. But the price Jesus paid for the gift and the unmerited freedom of the gift are not the gift. The gift is Christ himself as the glorious image of God--seen and savored with everlasting joy...The gospel of Christ proclaims the news that he has purchased by his death ten thousand blessings for his bride. But none of these gifts will lead to full joy if they have not first led to God. And not one gospel blessing will be enjoyed by anyone for whom the gospel's greatest gift was not the Lord himself."

In summary, God is slowly transforming my heart to seek God himself as my joy instead of anything that makes much of me or does not make much of him. I have been my own idol. Sometimes I feel like I will never see my heart change. But I keep coming back to the promise that through my crying out to God and seeking to know Him and His Word He will transform me to become like Him.

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