Thursday, November 19, 2009

Religion vs. Gospel

This came from my friend's sister's church.  But I found it  super interesting.  And something to be thinking about.  Where do you fit?



I obey- therefore I am accepted

Motivation is based on fear and insecurity


I obey God in order to get things from God



When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe, like Job’s friends, that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life



When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a “good person”.  Threats to that self-image much be destroyed at all cost




My prayer life consists largely of repetition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need.  My main purpose of prayer is control of the environment


My self-view swings between two poles.  If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people.  If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel humble, but not confident- I feel like a failure.



My Identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work.  Or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy and immoral.  I disdain and feel superior to “the other”




Since I look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols.  It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc.  I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, whatever I may say I believe about God







I’m accepted- therefore I obey


Motivation is based on grateful joy


I obey God to get God- to delight and resemble Him


When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while He may allow this for my training, He will exercise His Fatherly love within my trial


When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a “good person”.  My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ.  I can take criticism.  That is how I became a Christian


My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration.  My main purpose is fellowship with Him



My self-view is not based on a view of myself as a moral achiever.  In Christ I am simultaneously sinful and lost yet accepted in Christ.  I am so bad He had to die for me and I am so loved He was glad to die for me.  This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time.  Neither swaggering not sniveling


My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for His enemies, who was excluded from the city for me.  I am saved by sheer grace.  So I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me.  Only by grace I am what I am.  I’ve no inner need to win arguments


I have many good things in my life- family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. but none of these things are ultimate things to me.  None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to much anxiety, bitterness, and despondency they can inflict on my when they are threatened and lost







Friday, October 16, 2009

God is good!

Over the past year, God has revealed to me so much about Himself. Things that were easy and exciting to take in and accept, some things that were incredibly hard to understand and come face to face with, and some things that have yet to be understood. 

God has taken me on a journey that has been centered around me decreasing and Christ increasing. A journey where there has been no doubt in my mind that God is faithful and loves me. A journey where i needed to be broken and have complete reliance and dependance on Jesus Christ. A journey where I have ripped out of everything comfortable. But through all of this... God has been good. Beyond good. 

Many times I have been brought to nothing but my tears and His word, but rejoicing through it. Sometimes I do not understand how I can be rejoicing through times that are bitter and cold and aching, and the truth is, apart from Christ, I cannot. It is Him in me, working and tenderizing my heart. Making it soft towards Him.

I felt as though I needed to share this today. It was an extremely difficult day for me today for a number of reasons, but God drew me to Himself, and I was again reminded of His greatness and love. And that I should tell you! And hope that it encourages you too. 
Also... Psalm 40 has been a prominent section of scripture for me lately. Here is a bit.

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
And he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, 
out of the miry clay.
And He set my feet upon a rock
making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear,
And trust in the Lord.
How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And who has not turned to the proud,
nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
Many, O Lord, my God,
are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts towards us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count."

Psalm 40:1-5