Confession, Venting, and Grace
I am a sinful man. There is no denying my natural bent towards my own self-exaltation. God has been exposing me for who I truly am under the scrupulous light of who He is. This process has proven painful and precious. How often have I doubted the sheer power of God’s grace to accomplish His great glories in favor of my own manufactured facade? How little have I proclaimed the intensity of God’s love through Jesus Christ on the Cross to the broken, weak, and scarred? What has my heart run to in immediate sincerity and my mind defaulted to in familiar comfort? These are difficult questions for me and for you.
We are a proud people. Grace should change this. Recently, I have had various confirmations of convictions that I hold regarding the nature of ministry. It is impossible to improve on the moving of the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to make the word of God more effective than God has made it. It is impossible to strategize another way to minister the gospel which is superior to God’s way. Our pride tempts us to believe that God, His word, and His gospel aren’t enough. Blasphemy! God’s grace is still amazing, His glory astounding, His love abounding, and His mercy surrounding. His heart is still pounding for you and for me.
Have we become so presumptious to think that our clever programming or culturally relevant hype are really better than the simple proclamation of the gospel? Our incessant need to be in control of all aspects of our lives has led to the unfortunate, yet prevailing, thought that we need to help God out a little. Of course we would never use that phrase but the underlying acts of human self-sufficiency are still pervasive.
When we truly grasp the magnitude and scope of the gospel’s power in our lives, as well as in the world, then we will find ourselves looking at much of the church culture that has developed and wondering when we started wading in the shallow end of Christianity. When we apply the “filter of global reality” we can also see the superficial spirituality that has come to characterize many of our American churches. Our brothers and sisters around the world are satisfied with Christ alone; meeting in caves and underground rooms at great risk to themselves and their families. As we pursue Christ with our shopping cart mentality the unfortunate reality is that we forget we were bought with a price.
My venting may sound somewhat grim, but I’d like to end with the optimism of the gospel itself. Regardless of our past, present, platitudes or pride, the grace of God can enter in and transform us into a vibrant body of believers who hold Him highest of all and seek to advance the glorious gospel of grace!