Monday, March 14, 2011

The Insufficiency of Wickedness

Time and time again the proud are humbled, the wise are shamed, and the rebel is made to kneel before the Cross.

I have never been in the condition to doubt myself. Doubt how others may react to me yes, but never taking the burden of doubt itself. Part of my condition, my self-imposed disease is to see myself as greater than I am. My pride is ladened with deception, greed, envy, and malice all of which work together to enhance what I consider joy. The result of my pride is that I desire others to experience the greatness I consider myself so that any adoration can satisfy my desire to be praised. Yet though I desire the affections of others I do not need it. At the end of the day, were all the world against me I would still insist that jealousy drove my enemies further escalating my self-made pedastal to new heights. My pride delights in itself and is self-seeking.

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up on the last day." - John 6:44

Now ultimately my pride does not matter. It is a horrid, wretched thing that stains the earth with its filth and pollutes the hearts of those it meets. It garners no love for others, but only imitates love to fulfill its wicked purpose.

Jesus was punished on the Cross by His Father, because when His Father saw Him, He saw my pride. He saw my selfishness, my deception. He saw how I used others maniacally for my gain without care for their well-being. God the Father saw it all and He punished His perfectly righteous Son for it. What's worse, if you are in Christ, that same disease and selfishness was placed on the Son to be punished by the Father. What is the punishment? Separation from the all-fulfilling, all-knowing, all-loving, all-merciful, all-righteous, all-just God of the universe who knew your name before time began. This is the God we worship. I accept all that I have done to further myself, poison those around me, and defile the name of God but I have not the right to bear shame or burden for any of it. Because to bear the burden, the shame, the condemnation for my sin would mean that Christ's work on the Cross was not sufficient. It would mean that the death of God's Son was not good enough to cover my pride. That is unacceptable. To live in self-pity is to spit on His sacrifice and that is the worst opponent of gratitude.

I don't say this in condemnation of anyone, but only to show myself how wretched I truly am to bear any burden for evil deeds that Christ attoned for. Repent? Yes. Wallow in disgrace? Never. I have lied to those I claim to love. I have toyed with hearts and minds for the sake curiousity and discovery. Yet for all my filth, the Father of Christ sees me as righteous. Not because of my works, so that I may not boast, but by the work of Christ on the Cross that cannot be defeated.

Grace is a gift greater than life and I am blessed to receive it. I am blessed that even in my reckless ignorance, the Lord continually leads me towards Himself through sanctification. I never recognize its full scope and never appreciate it as much as I ought, but it still remains faithful. Grace is all-sufficient as Christ is all-sufficient and I live by both.

- A Wretched Child, Eternally Blessed

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Being Wrong Never Felt So Right

I find it very hard to admit that I'm wrong. This has been the case as long as I can remember but I don't think I've ever considered it much until recently... probably because I have been wrong a lot. If you hear it from no one else, hear from this objectively prideful legalist that being wrong is no fun. Granted I have seen how the Lord has used my failings to edify me, it still doesn't take away the sting from my ego (a good thing no doubt). Oddly I have felt very pressured to be right as of late. Its mostly self-inflicted pressures but still, I don't like the fact that I'm having to make decisions with the full confidence that they will be the wrong ones. Just as a side note I would like to say that the Lord has kept me in surprisingly good spirits so praise be to His name.

During my flu infested week I had the great privilege to sit at home and listen to sermons from John Piper for 5 days (I can think of few other men alive that are as filled by the spirit). Taking advantage of the wisdom of another, I listened to a sermon on decision making. Let the record stand that up to this point I had never heard a talk on decision making that gave any practical application. Anyway he specified that good gospel inspired decision making came from an overflow of the Word. At this point the Lord began to work in my mind and I considered the nature of "overflow". Considering a cup I determined that if a cup is being filled with water, the only way to ensure that some water does not go to waste is to place it in another cup... bingo. Therefore effective decision making is not just a product of being filled but placing the excess of the Spirit into others. So the solution to my crisis was not to hole up and think for a week, but to experience an outpour of the faith in evangelism and discipleship.

I am supposed to give a talk on the importance of the spiritual disciplines. In considering what the disciplines are I also feel it necessary to explain the significance of each one. To be honest I have been worried how I'm going to find the root of each discipline but the grace and peace of the Lord has been sufficient as usual. Moral of the story, I'm going to make bad decisions and fail often. Yet Christ supplies me with my needs and all my successes will come through Him. Blessed be the wondrous cross and our Saviour by which we are saved.