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Tuesday
Dec042012

Don't create a theology based upon your disappointments.

 

Too many times, we build a theology around our lack of something we hoped we should have by now; or our disappointments:

1.  Example One:  "That just doesn't happen in my life:  God just doesn't work that way."
You were hoping to be further along in your prayer life, but aren't where you expected to be after all these years.  You hoped you could experience more of the supernatural rescue of God, but wonder why it seems so fleeting and so seldom.  So you create a theology that says, "God just doesn't work that way anymore.  Or at least not in my life."

 

2.  Example Two:  "The Christian life is not about me becoming stronger."

You were hoping to see more growth in your life, a developing and maturing strength that others seem to have but seems meager and dwindling in your own journey.  So you create a theology that says, "God doesn't expect us to grow, or us to become more capable and stronger over time.  It's all Jesus' work anyway:  He'll act in and through us, but we aren't doing the growing.

But wait.  Why wouldn't you expect to see an increasing love for your enemy, or discernment, or  an unpressured "one another" kind of love developing over time?  The assumption that "Christian life is not about you doing all the right things"  is true; but if overstated, can turn you into a marionette puppet, where Jesus pulls all the strings and bypasses your will, your heart, and your mind; robotically moving you wherever he wants to.

This idea that "God doesn't expect you to grow" usually comes from the legitimate claim that we shouldn't be striving to live from the arrogant and self-aggrandizing energies of the "flesh."  Depending upon the flesh for the victorious Christian life is directly counter to walking in the Spirit.  However, the suggestion that "the Christian life is not about you becoming stronger" overstates it.  We should expect to grow, but how?   The answer is by cooperating with the Holy Spirit as he does the work of releasing our new appetites, desires and tendencies - those new cravings he placed within our new and noble hearts.

Otherwise, it would seem inconceivable that Jesus would live in you, yet leave you unchanged, without any sign of unpressured, yet increasing growth.   There may be pain, wounds and assumptions in the way of that growth; but you can expect to grow.  Your heart may be pinned down in places; but it's still noble and true. Yes, it's all radically dependent upon his work; but it still causes you to grow.  It's an unpressured growth...over time; but a maturing life where your new heart's appetites get released, your mind is increasingly renewed, and your body is more lead by your heart's new nature rather than by the movements of the "flesh."

 

Caution:  Don't turn a disappointment in your journey into a theology about how God works.  Be careful not to assume that a lack of something is a sign that what you hoped for doesn't exist.  It will lead you to resignation or short-change God's surprising work in you, rather than lead you to a more full-hearted life.

 

 


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