The following are many of the recent tweets to come across my Twitter feed that I felt were worth reposting here as well as providing additional thoughts of my own.
"The fact that there is nothing left for you to do IS the death of self and the birth of the new creature." - Gerhard Forde (American Lutheran theologian)
The idea that there is nothing left for me to do occurs in the context of my salvation. This idea opposes and struggles against my deep pride that says I am capable of doing something...anything...to assist in my ultimate deliverance. Until I completely grasp this truth with my whole being, I will forever strive to find purpose in my efforts rather than finding my purpose in Christ's efforts. This certainly seems to be a key reason why I have yet to find complete freedom in being a new creation.
"When we exaggerate our significance, we lose our significance." - Tim Keller
Great follow up here to the first quote. As long as I am committed to being the center of my story, I will completely miss who I really am and what I am created for because I am attempting to live blissfully unaware of God's story.
"The gospel is the good news that God treated Jesus the way I deserved and he daily treats me the way Jesus deserves." - Pastor Tullian
I don't feel I really get this most days. The reason is because I have just become too complacent when it comes to God's grace in my life. I am treated as a child of God because of Jesus' sacrifice. But to truly appreciate and understand that, I need to daily meditate on the cross and the horror of my sin and constant rebellion from my God and Creator. I don't think nearly enough about how I grieve the heart of God (see Jeremiah 2), which means I barely have an inkling of the incredible gift that is God's daily treatment of me as His beloved. I do love finding new ways to describe the Gospel and this is a great quote in which to do that.
"To take a person out of slavery takes an instant. To take slavery out of a person takes a process." - Tim Keller
Amen Tim. Justification and sanctification. Process indeed. We become slaves when we give our hearts to anything that isn't God. This is the corollary to the Bible's warning to not give the devil a foothold. I have done this in my life. The ensuing battle is intense and deep and ongoing. Proverbs 4:23 is there for a reason. "Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Unfortunately, most of us, including myself, don't take those words seriously until we learn the hard way exactly why God gave us that warning. By that time, we have a battle on our hands that may be with us for the rest of our lives.
"For a person who shares in the sufferings of Jesus Christ there is no such thing as a private life." - Oswald Chambers
I see a lot of Christians who don't get this and I am certainly guilty of not being as open about my faith as I should be. As many a pastor has said, "Faith is personal but never private." We are called to be ambassadors, salt and light, to make disciples. We can't do those things if we take ourselves out of circulation. The more we are known, the scarier it becomes. But if we heed the truth that it isn't about us then all of our sin and shame can be used as a testament for the world to see God's grace, mercy and goodness in our lives. Will we be labeled as hypocrites? Absolutely. And now wonderful is our Lord that he loves us, pursues us and cherishes us in spite of that fact. To Him be the glory!
"Grace comes not to take away a man’s affections, but to take them up." - William Fenner
Had to think about this one a bit. Grace is unconditional and undeserved love. Think about the people in your life who have come closest to modeling grace to you. Don't your affections naturally gravitate toward them? How can our emotions and desires not be drawn toward the Author of grace? I think this is really the basis of Francis Chan's "Crazy Love"...which you should read if you haven't...or you should probably read again if you have. Once we begin to understand God's radical and all-encompassing love for us, we simply can't help but love Him in return...not because of what He can do for us but simply because of who He is.
How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
"If man's hunger proves he inhabits a world where food exists, my desire for Paradise is a good indication it exists." - C.S. Lewis
Maybe a good quote to share with someone who believes in macro evolution as the basis of all life. Where did this shared human desire come from? Why do we love beauty? Why is our spirit lifted by a sunset or a mountain or the crashing waves? There is a larger story at work here. There is a larger purpose for our lives then to come from nothing and to end at nothing. Otherwise, these feelings and desires make no sense from a view that everything evolved for a purpose to optimize life and ensure the survival of the fittest.
Any person who only sticks with Christianity as long as things are going his or her way is a stranger to the cross. - Tim Keller
I was speaking to a friend last week and I said, "I feel better when things go well and worse when they don't. And I know that is not how a Christian should feel." Now, I will stick with Christianity regardless of how things are going in my life because I believe it is truth. However, I am not truly living my life out of hope and faith in God Almighty if I am allowing the ebb and flow of earthly circumstances to steal my joy. One of the most challenging verses in the Bible for me is the following:
"For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one." - Hebrews 10:34
Joyfully accepted the plundering of their property? Yeah...I want joy like that. Unshakeable.
"I know, O Lord, that in faithfulness you have afflicted me." - Psalm 119:75
"God's love is not wearied by our sins and is relentless in its determination that we be cured at whatever cost to us or Him." - C.S. Lewis
God's love is relentless. I was just thinking about that in my life today. All of my running from Him and yet He chases me down. Who does that? Someone who loves me beyond all measure. Instead of becoming despondent and frustrated when God brings suffering or hardship into my life, I need to be keenly aware that He has a plan for my good in this. The short-term cost is for my eternal benefit. I should beg and plead God for that deal every single day.
"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:31b-32
"If we love people for all their saintliness, then we do not love at all. Love is wasted on saints. It is meant for the sinner." - Mike Mason
God came to bind up the brokenhearted. Don't love people for their goodness. Don't love people because they love you. Love them the way God loves them. Love them freely, unconditionally and without selfish motives. Love them because that is what we were made to do.
"Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to reward the rewardable, improve the improvable, or correct the correctable." - Pastor Tullian