• 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!

Captivated by sin more than by Jesus

A fellow worker from the WT community forwarded me a challenging article on: “The Danger of Fruitfulness without Purity”.  I would commend it to your reading and reflection.

The final challenge from this article got me wondering as to how such a change actually begins to work itself out in my life: “If we will simply return to the power and the beauty of the gospel, not only will the Lord grant fruit, but it will be fruit that will endure and bring his name great glory for eternity.  Let’s live and end well for that great name.

That led me to a book that one of my mentors recently sent my way: Prone to Wander.  The authors provide practical ways to work out the exhortation of the excellent article above from Desiring God Ministries.  It comes through confession of heart difficulties and allowing the Holy Spirit to apply again and again ‘the power and grace that is ours through the work of Christ on the cross.’

repentance and faithOur hearts can so easily be captivated more by sin than by Jesus and His work on our behalf.  Let me quote a large section of one of the first prayers in Prone to Wander as a practical aid in learning to respond more quickly to the call to repentance and faith:

O God, our Father, forgive us for our many sins.  Like Eve [and Adam], we are easily captivated by the objects that our eyes desire.  We fall so often, and when we do, we run and hide in shame instead of running to you to confess our sin and find joy and forgiveness in the cross.  You have given us your most cherished treasure, yet we prize many other things more highly than Christ.  Forgive us for trusting in our own strength more than in his power to save us completely.  We live each day with hearts full of our own desires, minds full of our own agendas and plans for our own self-promotion.  Forgive us, Lord.

Jesus, you are our strong salvation. Thank you for invading our world to rescue us from ourselves.  We cannot fathom the humility, love, and commitment to your Father’s glory, which led you to give up heaven for us.  When the Holy Spirit took you into the desert to be tempted by Satan, you kept your eyes fixed firmly on your Father, your soul devoted to serving him in perfect obedience, and your mind saturated with Scripture.  You gave up your own glory to be stripped, humiliated, and shattered in death, so that you could serve us and be our substitute.  The joy or your life was fixed firmly upon the will of God, and now we find the joy of our lives to be your obedience for us and your death in our place.  How can we ever thank you adequately?  Holy Spirit, fill us with everlasting wonder that the gospel is true.  You kept your promise to send a Savior; help us to stop trying to rescue others and ourselves.  When we are tempted as [Adam and] Eve did, remind us of Christ, who kept all your laws for us, and fix our eyes on him.

3 Responses

  1. “We have been called to be fruitful – not successful, not productive, not accomplished. Success comes from strength, stress, and human effort. Fruitfulness comes from vulnerability and the admission of our own weakness. For a long time, I sought safety and security among the wise and clever, hardly aware that the things of the kingdom were revealed to little children; that God has chosen those who by human standards are fools to shame the wise. But when I experienced the warm, unpretentious reception of those who have nothing to boast about, and experienced a loving embrace from people who didn’t ask any questions, I began to discover that a true spiritual homecoming means a return to the poor in spirit, to whom the kingdom of heaven belongs.” – Henri Nouwen

  2. David quoted, “If we will simply return to the power and the beauty of the gospel, not only will the Lord grant fruit, but it will be fruit that will endure and bring his name great glory for eternity. Let’s live and end well for that great name.”

    Amen to that! What is at the heart of the Gospel? Is it not the message but God the giver of it?

    I am reading through ‘Practicing the Presence of God’ by brother Lawrence again. To be often in the presence of God by being aware of Him and talking to Him through Jesus is indeed so wonderful and almost as a side product it produces purity.

    But it needs practicing…:-)

    • Thanks Adrian for ‘entering’ the conversation! The heart of the Gospel is the ‘message’ of what Christ has done for us that drives us back and deeper into relationship with Him. Thank you for reminding us of the larger goal of reflecting on that message.

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