Archive for the ‘devotions’ Category
A few days ago, my bride and I were talking about how just a few years ago, we never gave the gospel a second thought. It was something we no longer needed because we were already saved. Living our lives with a daily sensitivity to the gospel was something we didn’t do and didn’t even understand. We didn’t know we weren’t doing it and we didn’t even recognize a need to keep the gospel front and center. We were blind to that. But then the Holy Spirit began a work in us that opened our eyes and hearts to the ongoing need to be gospel centered.
I couldn’t imagine going back to that old way of thinking because looking back, I see how it zapped me of my joy and made me critical of myself and others. My theology was at the center of my life and because of that, there was always pressure to look the way people thought I should look and to say things the way people thought I should say them. Pride and false humility ruled the day. When I was doing things right, I became proud; when I wasn’t performing up to the standard set for me, I was driven by guilt. But the gospel has stripped those masks away and made me free to be me, free to fail, and free to be real, because I am loved by God unconditionally in Jesus. The gospel alone gives me the power I need to live.
Life’s hard enough to live remembering the gospel. I couldn’t imagine living life that way again, with no gospel clarity or thought of it’s impact and power in the present. That seems so foreign to me now. Thank you Jesus!
These are some great gospel-centered quotes by Steve Brown that encouraged me again today.
How is it that being forgiven has made us feel so guilty, being loved has made us so uptight, and being free has made us so bound? How did sinners who have been forgiven repeatedly become judges?
When I am obsessed with being better instead of being consumed with God’s love and grace, I become prideful if I can pull it off and self-centered if I can’t.
God chose to be my friend not to make me better but because he wanted to be my friend. Rather than obsessing about my goodness, God asks me to hang out with him and see where he leads me. He promises that he will never leave me or forsake me. So I can quit worrying about getting behind in my holiness and sanctification. The more I worry about that, the worse I’m going to get, but the more I abide with him, the better I’ll get—even if I don’t know it.
Suffering deepens and enriches our experience of grace in ways that can only happen by suffering. Oftentimes suffering is the tool that God uses to stir up a passion for Jesus and the gospel that has grown cold. I don’t need to suffer to understand and believe the gospel, but I’ve noticed a pattern in myself and in others close to me with similar experiences in their own gospel wakening, where suffering in some form is what God brought into our lives to gently awaken us to the sweet aroma of the gospel and a renewed passion for the beauty of Jesus. Sometimes he brings us back to our first love by the tough things we go through and the ugly things he lets us see in ourselves. But even then, he is gentle and compassionate. Look at this description of Jesus from Isaiah.
…a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. (Isaiah 42:3)
Sometimes God bruises us to give us eyes to see things and a heart to love things that had we not been bruised, we would never perceive and understand from the heart. Sometimes he bruises us to deepen our love for him and our compassion for others. Our bruising gentles us down and magnifies Jesus in us. But even in our bruising, he is kind, compassionate, and Read the rest of this entry »