• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

How to not let the Gospel change our hearts

As I wrote last week, complacency can easily blur our vision, rob us of the joy we have in Christ and make us weary and tired saints.control

However, there are other ways which inhibit the impact of the Gospel in our lives; that cause us to be unconsciously learning day by day how not to let the Gospel change our lives.

While sitting with a colleague in the emergency room on Monday, he made a simple yet insightful comment as he thanked me for driving him to the hospital.  He said, “It’s always easier to do things for others than to have to depend upon others for help.”  None of us would ever say it outright, but we prefer to be the givers rather than the receivers. We long to be in control of situations because the search for power over our world runs deep in our hearts.  We enjoy feeding on ‘self’ more than on Christ.  Even in our desire to minister to another may lurk a drive to put oneself forward rather than the Father.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Marva Dawn, in commenting on this text in 2 Corinthians 12:9, put it this way: “His (Christ’s) power begins when our power comes to a complete end.”  We can understand this intellectually.  We know that Christ and His power need to be lifted up over ourselves.  However, we can feel ‘power-less’ to actually see any movement on this front.

Part of the answer was right there in the ER.  We were there together.  By being together, we could serve each other. By being together, we could ‘push’ one another towards the only resources we needed, toward the only power that could address our ‘self’ centredness.  We need to loosen our ‘control’ in order to allow God, through others, to remind us of the deep truths of the Gospel for our lives today.

 

2 Responses

  1. This idea was at the heart of my Christmas reflections this past season. In seeing the humility at the arrival of Christ, and the way in which he humbly served, we often jump right to our own humility and service of others.

    But the more important point–or at least the point that much come first–is that Christ came to serve us, and if we understood what that really looked like and felt like, being served by such an unusually modest man, we’d probably refuse. Like your friend, we’re so stubbornly independent that we prefer to drive ourselves to the ER. Like Peter in the upper room, we’re much more likely to say to Christ, “You’re not going to wash ME, are you??” Because to admit helplessness and allow others to serve you is humiliating. What does that actually say about our own humility, then? And even worse, what does that say about our own service? That often we’re serving others not because we’re humble, but because we prefer a place of superiority.

    And it’s rampant. When I write prayer letters to supporters, I have no problem asking prayer for our team, for the people we’re ministering to, for my wife and kids….but I rarely ask for prayer for myself. That might look like humility–I’m thinking of others before myself, right?–but it’s moreso a refusal of help.

    A big implication for community, then, is acknowledging our reciprocal need. I need others just as much as they need me. I need exhortation just as much as I need to exhort. I need help just as much as I need to help.

    • Thanks for opening this up some more in terms of real life application. I particularly liked your last comments: “I need exhortation just as much as I need to exhort. I need help just as much as I need to help.” That’s one thing that cross cultural work should help us face very quickly: our need for help.

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