We’re often told that Christians shouldn’t beat themselves up for their sins and yet so many do it. Maybe that’s because the advice has been understated. Maybe we should go one step further to say that Christians mustn’t beat themselves up for their sins.
I’m reading Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life for the umpteenth time. This quote reminded me today why this book is a classic:
What then of our attitude to Satan? This is important, for he accuses us not only before God but in our own conscience also. “You have sinned, and you keep on sinning. You are weak, and God can have nothing more to do with you.” This is his argument. And our temptation is to look within and in self-defense to try to find in ourselves, in our feelings or our behavior, some ground for believing that Satan is wrong. Alternatively we are tempted to admit our helplessness and, going to the other extreme, to yield to depression and despair. Thus, accusation becomes one of the greatest and most effective of Satan’s weapons. He points to our sins and seeks to charge us with them before God; and if we accept his accusations, we go down immediately.
Now the reason why we so readily accept his accusations is that we are still hoping to have some righteousness of our own. The ground of our expectation is wrong. Satan has succeeded in making us look in the wrong direction.
Our salvation lies in looking away to the Lord Jesus and in seeing that the blood of the Lamb has met the whole situation created by our sins and has answered it. That is the sure foundation on which we stand. Never should we try to answer Satan with our good conduct but always with the blood.
As a missional movement, we’re constantly aware that without God’s provision, we will burnout, fail or burnout and then fail if not for the provision of God through prayer. Our leadership team is reading through the book that Richard Foster calls the best book ever written on the subject of prayer, Andrew Murray’s With Christ in the School of Prayer. I first read this work nearly fifteen years ago. I’ve still not gotten over it. As I read through it for what must at least be the fifth time, the insights continue to strike my forehead with same dizzying force as when I first read it. I’d like to share some of them with you through this blog.
I’m currently in chapter 7 of the book so you’ll have to read it for yourself to get insights from chapters 1-6, I suppose. Here is a quote from Murray’s exposition of the “Friend at Midnight” story from Luke 11:
When I come to God in prayer, He always looks to what the aim is of my petition. If it be merely for my own comfort or joy I seek His grace, I do not receive. But if I can say that it is that He may be glorified in my dispensing His blessings to others, I shall not ask in vain. Or if I ask for others, but want to wait until God has made me so rich, that it is no sacrifice or act of faith to aid them, I shall not obtain. But if I can say that I have already undertaken for my needy friend, that in my poverty I have already begun the work of love, because I know I had a friend Who would help me, my prayer will be heard. Oh, we know not how much the plea avails: the friendship of earth looking in its need to the friendship of heaven: He will give him as much as he needeth.'
Growth Groups Questionnaire
This tool, based on Neil Cole’s Life Transformation Groups, is designed to facilitate a one on one/one on two discipleship process. As with LTG’s, participants gather for one hour per week to ask and answer the accountability questions. At the meeting they agree upon a passage of Scripture to read on their own through the week. Unlike LTG’s, Growth Groups require participants to make weekly commitments to pray, join Christ in his mission and to obey his Word through Scripture. Because of this dynamic approach, we needed a means to update commitments on a weekly basis. So, we created this online form. Give it a try and see where it grows.
So, I can’t stop thinking about the Phil Robertson thing not because I watch Duck Dynasty (I’ve seen season 1) but because I believe this event like so many others in the past two years is a watershed moment for our society. Just for the record, his anatomical statements were meant to highlight the inherent unnatural nature of gay sex aside from biblical prohibitions. He was right on that point. He included homosexual behavior in a list with bestiality which Leviticus 18 does as well along with incest. And finally, he almost perfectly paraphrased 1 Cor. 6:9-11. These are his offenses. In our society, your choices currently are as follows: 1. “Get in line” (direct quote from gay rights activist speaking on CNN), 2. Be persecuted for accepting the Bible as the inspired Word of God. I pick #2.