Archive

Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

Enjoying God for All He’s Worth

April 22, 2015 6 comments

The other day I enjoyed a particularly breath-taking moment with God. I had just finished a good work out and was eating some fruit in the living room while my wife rested from a long day. I like fruit, but for some reason, I was particularly aware of it’s sweetness this day.

I intentionally slowed my pace so that I could really enjoy the sweetness more thoroughly. As I did I began to take note of a few other delights as well. I focused on the beauty of some roses sitting on our coffee table, relished the companionship of my wife and relaxed in the silence of a nice Spring evening.

This was the first time in several weeks, maybe even months, that I had slowed down enough to really savor life. My wife and I have been busy preparing for our first child, selling our house and taking care of our daily affairs. It has been particularly easy to miss out on all the good around us.

A Taste of Something Sweeter

For some reason, on this particular night, however, God seemed to put the world on pause so that I could enjoy him in a way I hadn’t for quite some time. Then it hit me. I wasn’t just enjoying the fruit, the flowers or my wife, I was enjoying God through the fruit, the flowers and my wife.

Psalm 19:1 says, “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” The same is true of the rest of creation as well. God radiates his glory, excellence and beauty. It proceeds from him, like light and heat proceed forth from the sun. All of creation then reflects God’s glory, excellence and beauty in one way or another to one degree or another, like the moon reflects the light of the sun.

That’s breath taking enough as it is. When we take a step back to meditate on this Scripture a little longer, it becomes even more breath taking. This ultimately means that fruit is only sweet because it reflects the sweetness of God’s glory. Roses are only beautiful because they reflect the beauty of God. Companionship is only enjoyable because it reflects the companionship we can have with God through Jesus.

Image via colindye.com

Image via colindye.com

Seeing and Savoring Christ

Amazing right? It gets even better. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Romans 1:19-20 reminds us that God has made himself known plainly through creation. This means that things like a refreshing Spring rain, a savory meal or an adventurous road trip are all means by which we can enjoy more of all that God is for us in Jesus.

It is through Jesus that we enjoy, as Ephesians 1 says, “every spiritual blessing.” It is through creation that we get to savor those spiritual blessings through tangible experiences that bring the many benefits of Christ’s work to life for us. God’s glory is to be seen and savored through all of creation as creation redirects our hearts back to the good things we have in Jesus Christ. Next time you do something that you enjoy, let your enjoyment of God’s creation redirect your heart to God so that you can enjoy him for all that he’s worth.

Categories: Theology Tags: , , ,

The Unexpected Benefits of Generosity

April 15, 2015 8 comments

Money is a hot topic in our culture. Everyone wants more of it, anyone can get it, few seem to keep it and even fewer gladly give it. There are spenders, investors and savers, but there aren’t nearly as many givers.

The Money Trap

In America money is king. We look to it for security, happiness and freedom. We hoard it to make ourselves feel safe from potential disasters like illness, unemployment and unexpected expenses.  We spend it on frivolous pursuits like excessive shopping, expensive dinners and extravagant vacations to temporarily gratify our appetite for pleasure. Worst of all, we pursue it tirelessly working ourselves to the bone 60+ hours per week at sometimes two or even three jobs because we believe the lie that if we could some how get more of it we would be free to retire, work less and play more.

The sad reality is that money always promises, but never delivers (at least not permanently). It promises security, but breeds worry when our bank account isn’t as full as we’d hoped.  It promises happiness, but often results in disappointment when the things we buy lose their appeal. It promises freedom, but only enslaves us to our jobs and our debts.

Promises Fulfilled

The good news is that Jesus always delivers on what he promises.  Where money fails, Jesus succeeds.  Through Christ believers enjoy eternal security in the Father’s love. Since no one can undo what Jesus has done, no one can take that security away.

Through Christ believers enjoy eternal satisfaction.  Money and possessions will always lose their appeal.  Goods get more expensive and clothes wear out, but God’s presence is never ending.  Through Jesus believers live in and enjoy God’s presence for all of eternity. This is a happiness that truly satisfies.

Best of all, through Jesus believers enjoy lasting freedom.  In Christ, we are free from the anxiety, the temporary gratifications and bondage that money brings.  We are free to be at peace in God’s provision, free to enjoy the eternal satisfaction of God’s presence and free to enjoy life without the need for a never ending pursuit of material possessions.

Image via makinghistorygrow.wordpress.com

Image via makinghistorygrow.wordpress.com

The Benefits of Generosity

One of the best ways to experience more of the security, happiness and freedom that are in Jesus is to become a more generous giver.  Here are five reasons why.

1. Generosity increases our dependence on Jesus. So much of our well-being is tied to the strangle hold that money has on us. When we give generously we have no choice but to trust the Lord to be and do for us what we were looking to money to be and do for us. It is through generosity that money’s grip on us is severed and Christ’s unending supply is realized.

2. Generosity increases our delight in God. Money is important to us because of the value that we ascribe to it. By giving it away we remind ourselves that God is infinitely more valuable than anything money can buy. It is through generosity that God becomes an infinite treasure from whom we enjoy unending pleasure.

3. Generosity increases our contentment. By giving away what we cannot keep, we discover that which we cannot lose. Generosity teaches us to enjoy more of God by wanting less of this world. It gives us a deeper experience of Jesus by making room for him to fill our hearts, something he cannot do when we let money crowd that space.

4. Generosity multiplies our blessings. This is true in two ways. First, by giving to others we get to share our joy with them.  When this happens other people get to enjoy God’s blessings with us.  Second, by giving to others we are storing up for ourselves treasures in heaven.  If we keep it to ourselves we get to enjoy it now.  If we give it away we’ll enjoy it exponentially more in the kingdom.

5. Generosity advances the kingdom of God. Church planting, oversees missions, church operations and leadership training all cost money. By investing our money into the things of God we get the joy of advancing of the kingdom of God. Why wouldn’t we want to be used of God to extend his glory in all the earth?

Money can either be a god we worship or a tool with which we worship God. When money reigns supreme in our lives we miss out on the fullness of God. By giving generously, however, we learn to enjoy God for all that he’s worth. Don’t let money take from you that which only God can give you. Jesus has secured for you everything you need before God. Give yourself room to experience more of that by becoming a generous giver!

When Your Well Runs Dry

March 30, 2015 3 comments

We’ve all been there.  Early mornings, long days and late nights trying to fulfill all of our obligations. Work, family, school, bills, entertainment, volunteer work, exercise, hobbies, managing a social life and keeping up on social media, all while trying to pursue our ever elusive dreams.

It’s not uncommon for American’s to work 50-60 hours a week, to sleep less than six, to fill our weekends with sporting events and social gatherings, then to spend Sunday evening frantically trying to squeeze every ounce of joy out of life before having to do it all over again on Monday. It doesn’t take long for the American Dream to become the American Nightmare.

Image via blueinkalchemy.com

Image via blueinkalchemy.com

We’re overworked, under-rested, exhausted, frustrated and always one step away from burn out. Our dreams manage to stay elusively out of reach or we obtain them and they fail to deliver. Our days are filled with stress and our nights with worry. What if I can’t cut it? Will everything I’m living for be what I hoped it will? Is it even worth it?  Each day is a treadmill and the life we want is always just out of reach.

Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places

At this point, we want someone to tell us that we can do it, our dreams are within reach and the life we’ve always wanted is just around the corner. The truth is, our dreams demand more than we can give and always promise what they cannot deliver.

In Luke 9:23-25 Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

The prophet Haggai likewise declares, “You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:6).

The Unexpected Let Down of Getting What We Want

Even if we obtain what we’re pursuing it will eventually fool us and fail us.  It temporarily gratifies, but it does not eternally satisfy. Take New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady for example.  The guy has won four Super Bowls, has a supermodel wife, is famous and has more possessions than the average person can dream of.

Yet in an interview with 60 Minutes he said that he “didn’t expect winning to come with so much baggage.” After his third Super Bowl win he asked with desperation, “why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still feel like something is missing?” Maybe the Lord was right, life “does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15) Neither does it consist in the achieving of one’s dreams.

Getting Life from the Source

Proverbs 4:23 says it best when it warns readers to “guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” This is a warning to be cautious about what we source our lives in.  This isn’t to say that our dreams are bad, it’s to say that they’re a poor place to put our hope.  If our life is sourced in anything other than Jesus we are going to run dry because nothing can be for us and do for us what only he can be and do.

Life isn’t found in the achieving of one’s dreams it’s found in Jesus, the giver of life.  He is the only well that won’t run dry because he is the only source that is eternal. When our lives are sourced in Jesus we are free to pursue the dreams God has put into our hearts without being enslaved by them.  We are also free to move on to the other things God has in store when life doesn’t go according to plan.

More importantly, we have to understand that our dreams can’t give us what we really want, only Jesus can.  We pursue fame to feel important, money to feel secure and friends to feel accepted.  These aren’t bad things, but they will often fail to deliver that which we desire.

When our lives are sourced in Jesus we have all the significance, security and acceptance we need. We will be free from tirelessly chasing empty promises because we won’t need them to give us what we already have in Christ. The tighter we hold onto the fleeting pleasures of this world, the more we’ll miss out on the eternal satisfaction of God. 

The Science of God

As a pastor living in a college town I run into skeptics, doubters and unbelievers regularly. One of the most common objections I hear about the Christian faith is in regards to science. People just can’t seem to wrap their minds around God.

I get it.  I really do. I have a degree in biology and psychology.  I’m more than familiar with naturalistic evolution, evolutionary psychology and the behavioral sciences than I’d like to be.  I’ve taken physics, chemistry and genetics.  I, like many of my peers, appreciate hard facts, empirical evidence and measurable results.

In a world of scientific questions, factual evidence is our friend. Measurable outcomes are important, but when it comes to God I’ve learned that they just aren’t enough.

theosophical.wordpress.com

theosophical.wordpress.com

When Science Isn’t Enough

Science is built on the premise that what can be known is measurable.  It can be quantified with empirical evidence. This is true to an extent.

When it comes to the natural world we can use natural means to measure natural outcomes.  The problem is, God is not natural.  He is supernatural. He is beyond that which is natural and is therefore immeasurable by natural standards.

It is absurd to conclude that a supernatural God does not exist because he cannot be measured through natural means. How can what is limited measure that which is unlimited?  That’s like concluding that the ocean doesn’t exist because it doesn’t fit in a five gallon bucket.

The famed physicist Albert Einstein is credited with rightly saying, “What’s measurable isn’t always important and what’s important isn’t always measurable.” He, a self described agnostic, understood that even the most skeptical among us should have “an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”¹

Scientific Limitations

The infinite God cannot be defined by that which is finite. He who is limitless cannot be comprehended by that which has limits, unless he chooses to reveal himself within the context of those limits.

Imagine that we live in a two dimensional world with a three dimensional God. If this three dimensional God were to stick his finger into our two dimensional world we would describe his cylindrical finger as a flat circle because we wouldn’t have any way of accurately seeing his finger for what it is.

Our two dimensional science just doesn’t have what it takes to measure this three dimensional God. The limitless God is beyond the limits of science. Furthermore, to say that God must submit to the laws of science is to make science God.

Giving God His Rightful Place

The very definition of God refers to a supreme being who retains ultimate authority over the world he created.  By definition he cannot be bound by science, since he the Great Scientist is the one who put it’s laws into effect.

Just like a software developer has the power to by-pass the codes he put in place to make a software function in a particular way, so God also has the power and authority to by-pass the natural laws if he so chooses, and sometimes does. You cannot say that God must be measurable by science because that would make science God, which it by definition cannot be.

A Window Through Which to See the Creator

What does science tell us about God, then? A great deal actually.  In Romans 1:19-20, the apostle Paul explains that God has made himself known to us in part through creation.  We can learn about his attributes and enjoy his glory through that which his hands have made.

Jesus himself also used creation to teach his disciples about the Father, particular in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7). In them he used plants, animals, agriculture, seasons and weather to help his followers better understand the nature of God. It was from this very notion that many of the first scientists, who happened to be Christian or influenced by Christianity, pursued the sciences, because they believed that the study of science would better help us understand the Great Scientist

Science cannot, however, tell us all that there is to know about God. It is just too limited. The only way for man to fully know God is for God to fully reveal himself to man. The remarkable truth is that God has chosen to make himself known to us through his Son Jesus Christ.   John 1:18 tells us that “no one has ever seen God” but that “the only God, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

We don’t have to stress over how to scientifically prove God. He validated and vindicated himself in Christ. He can be known and enjoyed through Jesus and Jesus can be known through the Word of God.

______________________________________________________________________

*For more on the historical Jesus and the Bible check out “Simply Jesus: Does the Church have Him Wrong?“, a sermon series from Living Hope Church about the person and work of Jesus Christ.

¹ Isaacson, Walter (2008). Einstein: His Life and Universe. New York: Simon and Schuster, pp. 390.

² Driscoll, Mark (2010). Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, pp. 97-104.

Spirit Empowered Ministry

October 20, 2014 3 comments

When it comes to leadership a lot of attention is given to strategies and principles. There are literally hundreds of books written about how to lead more strategically.  You’d be hard pressed, however, to find many good books about Spirit-empowered leadership and ministry.

Such a neglect of the Spirit in ministry would have been entirely foreign to first century believers. I don’t think they would have disagreed with the importance of strategies and planning, but they would have always subjected their strategies and plans to the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. The first Christians understood that no strategy would ever be enough to turn someone’s heart toward Jesus or to overcome a person’s resistance to God. They knew that only the Holy Spirit could do that.

The Spirit Trumps Strategy

The Lord’s final instructions before ascending into the heavens was for his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had received power from on high. (Acts 1:8) At this point Jesus has already been crucified for the sins of the world, buried and resurrected.  He’s given his followers their disciple-making strategy, their leadership lessons and the essential truths they would need to teach new converts.  Even with all of this good teaching Jesus knew that his disciples lacked one thing, power.

The disciples weren’t short on strategies and principles, they were short on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. These would-be world-changers had learned all the best disciple-making techniques from the best disciple-maker that ever lived and they still needed something more. Certainly leadership strategies, disciple-making methods and ministry techniques are important (Jesus had them), but that doesn’t mean they’re enough to actually get the job done. We need the Holy Spirit for that.

Power From On High

Shortly after Christ’s ascension, the disciples did what they were told.  While prayerfully waiting for what Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven, rested upon each of the disciples and then empowered them to preach the gospel with great effectiveness.  Their preaching was so powerful that 3,000 people became disciples that day. (Acts 2)

Image via hopesingapore.org

Image via hopesingapore.org

Throughout the rest of Acts, the Holy Spirit works in and with the early Christians to make converts, establish churches and fulfill the Great Commission. Their ministry had both strategy and power.  The results were nothing short of world-changing. (Acts 17:6)

Imagine a military vehicle rigged with all of the latest technologies.  It’s got the most comprehensive GPS system, a top-of-the-line radio, the best off-road tires a person can buy and plenty of artillery.  This vehicle might have all the potential in the world, but if its tank isn’t filled with gas it will be significantly limited in its effectiveness.

In the same way, we can have all the right doctrine, the best apologetics, world class leadership techniques and the most simplified disciple-making strategy, but if we aren’t filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit we won’t be accomplishing much. We need power for ministry, not just equipment for ministry.

Extraordinary Power for Ordinary People

The difference between a Spirit-empowered leader and one who is not is the both the effectiveness of his ministry and the orientation of his heart, the latter leading to the former. With his death and resurrection Jesus not only gave believers access to the Father, he also gave them access to the Spirit.  Christ followers not only have power to know God through Jesus, we also have power to make him known through the Holy Spirit.

If we want to have truly effective ministry, then we must be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Like a military vehicle, it’s not enough to have all the right equipment, we also need to be filled with gas. Practically speaking, this means that the effective minister plans, prepares and strategizes to position himself to be used by the Holy Spirit, but that in his heart he completely relies on the Holy Spirit to do work in peoples lives. Don’t hinder your disciple-making efforts with self-reliance.  Daily ask the Holy Spirit to empower you for effective ministry.

For more on the Holy Spirit check out this series of videos from the Living Hope Church- Maryville Campus. 

11 Principles for Becoming a More Generous Giver

October 13, 2014 2 comments
Image via nextavenue.org

Image via nextavenue.org

Generosity is an often overlooked aspect of the Christian life.  It can be such a taboo topic that many pastors and leaders won’t talk about it.  Money is so personal to us that we often won’t part with it easily.

Generosity: Our Glad Response

Jesus understood this better than anyone.  In Matthew 6:19-24 he explains that money is such a personal matter that it reveals what we worship.  Because money is given a specific value, we can determine the worth of something we own based on how much we spent on it.

The same is true for God. If the value of an object is determined by how much money we spend on it, then we can determine how much we value God by the proportion of our income that we give back to him in worship. This doesn’t mean that we can buy God’s love, acceptance or forgiveness.  Those things are given by God as a free gift to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

It does, however, mean that we can tell how much we value the love and acceptance God has given us by the way we live in response, including the way we spend money.  If we are truly grateful for the price Jesus paid to give us forgiveness of sins and acceptance before God, then we will gladly use our resources to help other people know this great gift as well. This in turn demonstrates how much we value and appreciate what Jesus has accomplished for us.

The apostle Paul echoes this big idea in 2 Corinthians 8:9 when he says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” The concept is simple. We give to God as our glad response to what we have received from him through Jesus.  Giving is not a matter of paying God to do something for us. It is a demonstration of gratitude for what he has already done; an act of thankfulness, not of obligation.

Practical Generosity

In other words, our understanding of God’s generosity towards us is reflected in our generosity towards others.  If we are generous, it usually means we understand what Jesus has actually accomplished.  If we are not, it often means we don’t truly comprehend what Jesus has freely given to us on the cross. You could say that generosity is like paying it forward.  It’s giving of our resources so that others could know what God has made available to them in Christ.

Understanding this truth doesn’t necessarily make it any easier, though.  Even when we understand why we should give, it can often be difficult to take the necessary steps to actually get there. Here are 11 practical ideas that will help you out.

1. Learn to treasure Jesus. Jesus must be our most prized possession.  If we want to be generous givers, then we must learn to enjoy him so much that we are not satisfied until everyone else is enjoying him with us.  When we treasure Jesus we will gladly use our resources to demonstrate how much we value him. Money will become a means to help others value and enjoy Jesus with us. (Philippians 3:7-8; Matthew 13:44)

2. See yourself as manager, not owner. Ownership says, “I and my possessions are mine.  I will decide what to do with them.”  Stewardship says, “I and my possessions are God’s. He will decide what I do with them.”  When we rightly understand that everything we have is God’s, it’s easier to use it for his purposes rather than our own. (1 Peter 4:10; Luke 19:11-27)

3. Seek gospel transformation. The world has a much more significant effect on our lives than we would like to admit.  Many things other than God wrongly shape our worldview.  If we want to be generous givers, then we need Jesus to completely change our worldview.  We need, as Romans 12 says, to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12:2)

4. Develop a kingdom perspective. A worldly perspective puts you at the center of your life and world.  A kingdom perspective puts Jesus at the center of your life and world.  When we have a worldly perspective we will only ever spend our money on our own self-gratifying pleasures, but when we have a kingdom perspective we will invest our money into God honoring purposes that honor Jesus and make him famous. (Mark 1:14-15)

5. Give sacrificially off the top. Every time you get a paycheck make giving the first thing you do. It’s easier to give and then determine your budget, than it is to budget and then give what’s left.  This may mean you have to sacrifice TV, some entertainment, a coffee habit or a night out, but God is worthy of the best of your finances, not just your leftovers. (Proverbs 3:9)

6. Increase giving incrementally. If you’re not giving anything at all, don’t start by trying to suddenly give 40% of your income.  That’s not a sustainable life change.  Instead, try increasing your giving by 1-2% of your gross income every six months to a year.  This makes your increased generosity sustainable and much less stressful. (Proverbs 13:11)

7. Save for hard times and big opportunities. Wise financial planning is commended several times throughout Scripture.  Part of wise planning is understanding that you can’t plan everything.  Unexpected hospital visits, car maintenance issues and the single mom down the street who just lost her job aren’t things you can set an estimated time of arrival for.  Ease the burden ahead of time by setting aside a percentage of your gross income to savings.  This will allow you to continue giving generously when hard times or big opportunities arrive. (Proverbs 21:20; Proverbs 6:6-8)

8. Use a budget to live within your means. One of the best ways to give yourself the freedom to give generously is to use a budget.  Determine how much income you receive, identify your expenses, determine where you can cut back so you can give more.  Once you’ve determined the standard of living you can actually afford, be sure to live within your means.  Most people don’t have money to give because they don’t keep very good track of where it should be going. You can find a budget template online to help you get started. (1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Proverbs 27:23-27)

9. Avoid and pay off debt. The Bible’s overarching theme on debt is clear.  Avoid it at all costs. As Americans, most of our financial stress comes from buying items we don’t need with money we don’t have.  It’s not that we don’t make enough money, it’s that we want too much stuff.  Learn to be content in Christ and refuse to purchase anything that you cannot pay cash for up front.  If you have debt, find a way to pay it down as fast as you can.  Don’t let yourself become or stay a slave to a lender. (Proverbs 22:7)

10. Invite accountability and coaching.  Don’t try to make financial changes on your own.  Talk to your Community Group leader, a pastor or a trusted friend who you know gives generously and budgets well.  Ask someone who is a good financial steward to help you create a budget, give generously and stay on top of your finances.  (Proverbs 15:22)

11. Think in terms of legacy. Proverbs 13:22 says, “a good man leaves an inheritance to his children.”  Another Proverb warns against foolish spending when it says that “a fool eats his children’s inheritance.”  The idea is that poor stewards think only of themselves, while wise stewards think of generations to come. If you want to be a generous and wise steward, start thinking in terms of the future.  Imagine the dozens and hundreds of people you could influence toward Jesus if you were to budget wisely and give generously.  Contrast that with the hundreds or even thousands of people that you will miss the opportunity to influence toward the Lord if you spend your money only on yourself.

Giving generously can seem like a daunting task if you’re starting from zero, but it’s not impossible.  Put these principles into practice and with some consistency you’ll see some serious progress in the long run.

This content is a summary of the sermon “Grace & Giving” preached at the Living Hope- Maryville Campus as a part of the “Stewards of Grace” sermon series.  You can view the sermon by clicking here. 

The Pillars of a Devoted Life

September 12, 2014 2 comments

Swearing allegiance to Jesus as Lord is a major decision that results in nothing less than a radical reorientation of who you are and how you live.  Add in the challenges of work, family and daily life and it’s remarkable that anyone makes it longer than a week as a Christ follower. How can we possibly stay enthusiastically devoted to the Lord when life gets so exhaustingly mundane?

Image via harvestwoodhull.org

Image via harvestwoodhull.org

Worth the Time

People tend to derive their greatest satisfaction from the causes they deem most worthy of their devotion.  Graduations, championships and retirement are satisfying because the reward we get from them is worth the sacrifice we make for them.

In the same way, the devoted man knows that nothing else in life is worth his life.  It is his great delight to devote the entirety of his existence to the One who is worthy of it.  The devoted man knows that nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord.  The reward of knowing Jesus is well worth the sacrifice it takes to follow him. It is delight, not duty that drives his devotion.

Sufficient for the Day

The devoted man is also a desperate man.  He has come to terms with his insufficiency and knows at the core of his being that he is woefully inadequate.  He knows that he is unable to overcome sin, obey the Word or live for God on his own strength or effort.  Indeed, it is a real and honest sense of his own inability that keeps him dependent on and desperate for Jesus.

The man who maintains lifelong devotion also knows that Jesus is sufficient for all things.  He knows that it is Jesus who saves him, frees him, forgives him and sustains him.  He knows that it is only by what Jesus has done that he can know and live for God.  And he knows that he will not make it through the day without the help of his Lord.

He is desperate for the Lord to work in his life.  He is desperate for God’s presence. He is desperate to know God’s excellencies so that he can delight more in them.  It is desperation, not drudgery that fuels his dependence.

Cultivating Devotion

Delight, desperation, dependence and submission are the four pillars of a devoted life. If we want to cultivate them we must come to terms with the fact that we do not have the ability to live for God without God’s help.  We must recognize that we need Jesus for everything.  We will naturally find ourselves in a place of desperation for and dependence on Christ when we take the time to reflect on how much we need him.

Additionally, meditate on God’s excellencies.  Ponder God’s glory. Think deeply about the infinite worth of Jesus Christ. Delight and submission flow freely when we position ourselves to see and savor Christ, both for who he is and what he has done. Devotion to Jesus is a daily display of the infinite worth of Jesus as our glad response to the finished work of Jesus.

%d bloggers like this: