Thursday, April 3, 2014


The Gospel Coalition has an awesome Lenten devotional that Ross and I are trying to do this year. I say trying, because Lent has been a time of turmoil, per usual, and we're a bit behind. BUT I read this excerpt a few days ago and can't stop thinking about it. Funny how so much of the ugliness of my heart is exposed at this time of the year.

Pride is thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Romans 12:4). However, humility is not thinking less of ourselves than we ought to think, but simply thinking of ourselves less...

All of us want to be part of a community where pride and ego are put to death and selflessness and service are brought to life. This is just the kind of community that the Bible calls us to... (but) notice that the key to this kind of community is humility. In other words, our lack of concern for others and service to others is primarily because we lack humility. All forms of self-concern manifest themselves in a lack of love for others. We become consumer instead of servants...

Our consumerism is rooted in a lack of faith. We are worried about what others think because we are not convinced that God delights in us (Psalm 149:4). We are anxious because we do not believe God will meet our needs (Matthew 6:32). We vie for attention because we do not think God rewards what is done in secret (Matthew 6:6). We compare ourselves to others because we forget that Jesus is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). A consumer is self-seeking because he is preoccupied with building his own kingdom in order to meet his own needs. During Lent, Jesus especially calls us to re-right our lives, to "seek first the kingdom of God..." (Matthew 6:33).

The simple practice of self-denial in Lent teaches us tat those who trust God to meet their needs are free to consider the needs of others. They discover this gospel paradox: As long as I'm looking to get my needs met, I will never get my needs met. But when I begin to meet the needs of others-- when I begin to live for them instead of for myself-- I find that God graciously takes care of my needs in the process. The grace of God turns us into servants. Instead of demanding that we be served, we joyfully lay down our rights and seek to serve God and others.

God's grace toward us in Christ needs to get down deep into our hearts in order to change us. We need to acknowledge our resistance to grace, which manifests itself in our desire to establish our righteousness and meet our needs apart from God. Jesus came to serve-- to heal, to feed, to make more wine, to wash feet, and to die. When we humbly receive the fullness and sufficiency of his love, then we will find ourselves increasingly joyful and selfless as we delight in serving others.

I've been in a funk the last few weeks, and I feel the old panic rising inside of me. I need some of this to get deep down into my own heart today.

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