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3 Questions for the Fear of Man

Worry

One of the most common issues that comes up in my counseling office, as well as in my own spiritual life is “the fear of man.”  Ed Welch defines the fear of man in simple terms, it is “when people are big and God is small.”  Welch writes, “Scripture gives three basic reasons why we fear other people…1) We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us. 2) We fear people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us. 3) We fear people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us. These three reasons have one thing in common: they see people as ‘bigger’ (that is, more powerful and significant) than God, and, out of the fear that creates in us, we give other people the power and right to tell us what to feel, think, and do.”

The fear of man can take on many different shapes and sizes.  It might look like an unpleasable boss who apparently has the power to bring financial ruin upon you by firing you.  For pastors, it often looks like a disgruntled church member who can bring untold chaos to the body by gossiping, calling for special meetings, and writing endless letters.  In some extreme cases it may look like an abusive spouse or father who verbally puts you down in order to lift himself up.  What all of these circumstances have in common is the fact that the person in question looks very powerful and intimidating.  The fear of man is so powerful that it can even take on physical manifestations, especially for those who have dealt with abuse in the past: sweaty palms, heart racing, nervous habits, or even panic attacks can all be the results of the fear of man.

Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”  The snare of the fear of man is that it if people are big and powerful in our estimation, God is invariably small.  There is only so much room in the human heart and when men become too big, the heart diminishes God and our perception of his ability to save.

Like most people, I’ve struggled with the fear of man since I was a child.  In counseling I’ve recently come up with a set of questions to help overcome the fear of man.  These certainly aren’t exhaustive, but I’ve found them to be extremely helpful in my own life, as well as the lives of those I work with.

When I am tempted to fear man I want to ask myself 3 questions.

1) Who do I fear right now? This question is intended to be something of a slap in the face, to help me realize what I’m struggling with.  The real issue is not that I have a disgruntled church member who may cause great harm to the church; the real issue is that I am being tempted to fear him or her more than I fear God.  Psalm 34:7, 9 might be a good verse to meditate on in this regard, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them…Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack.”

2) How have I sinned? This second question is really designed for me to “get the log out of my own eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).  Often times the fear of man can look like a false sense of guilt over something I’m being accused of.  This question allows me to step out of the situation I’m in and ask myself in biblical terms if I have sinned.  The goal of this question is that I would make that right with the Lord, before I make it right with anyone else (Psalm 51:4).

3) How have I been sinned against? This final question is meant to provide one more level of clarity as I work through the fear of man.  If I’ve sinned against someone than I need to go and make it right with them, on the other hand if someone else has sinned against me I need to go and confront them in that.  Matthew 18:15 says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault.”  The goal of this question isn’t for me to find a weapon to attack with, but rather to help clear the fog of the fear of man from my eyes and to see people accurately through the lens of scripture.

There are certainly other questions that could be asked and would be helpful (i.e. “How can I serve in this situation?” or “What does God expect of me right now?”), but the big idea is to use questions to lift the fog of the fear of man and to see God as He truly is.  Isaiah 66:1-2, “Thus says the Lord: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?  All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord.  But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

February 21 2010 | Devotional | Comments Off on 3 Questions for the Fear of Man

In My Father’s Arms

Kid_hugging_dad

The last few weeks have been pretty difficult from a parenting standpoint.  For some reason my oldest son (Micah) has decided to put his mother and I to the test in almost every conceivable way that he can.  Sometimes it’s a fight about whether or not to eat his dinner, sometimes it’s a holy war about taking a bath, and sometimes he just seems to be mad at life in general and mad at us as well.

The other day he decided to take his protest to the streets, specifically the toilet paper aisle of Wal-Mart.  As we were walking through the store enjoying our Saturday morning and picking up a few things Micah decided to have a complete melt-down.  There we were in the middle of the store while Micah cried, complained, stamped his feet and through himself on the ground.  As a parent I had several options open to me at this moment.  I could give him a quick swat and tell him to shape up, I could grab him by the ear and march him right out of the store, I could look him dead in the eyes and warn him in the sternest way that he needed to stop it, or any number of other things to correct the behavior.

In this case, I decided to go a different route.  As my wife and other son walked away I took Micah by the hands and drew him into my arms and held him there for a long time.  Then I quietly said, “Micah, you are so troubled by so many things right now and you are miserable in your sin.  But, right here in my arms is where you are going to find happiness.  This is where all of your needs are met and where you will find joy, when you are right with me and in my arms.”

I’m convinced that one of God’s primary purposes in parenting is to teach us about ourselves.  You see, I am much more like my son than I care to admit.  I too rant and rage when I don’t get what I want,  I too question my Father’s goodness when I am denied something that I think is important, I too lash out at those I love when they get in the way of my plans, my wants and my desires.  All the while my loving Father holds out His arms and says, “Drew, you are so troubled by so many things but you will only be happy when you are right with me and resting in my arms.”

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

February 15 2010 | Devotional | Comments Off on In My Father’s Arms

Everything’s Broken

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The other day I took one of my Junior Highers out to get ice cream.  We looked intently at all of the flavors, made our choices, and sat down to enjoy ourselves.  This was the first time that I’d spent much time with this particular young man so I started asking lots of questions about what he liked to do, where he went to school, what his family was like, etc.  What followed was an hour long conversation that broke my heart in almost every way.  In the same matter of fact tone that you might tell someone about what you did yesterday he began to relay to me the broken details of his life.  Divorce, parental drug abuse, multiple siblings spread all over the state, CPS, and countless other tragedies made up the tapestry of this young man’s life.  The only consistent thing seemed to be the complete instability that characterized his day to day experience.

As we finished our ice cream and made our way outside I couldn’t help but think about how broken this young man’s life was, and he’s only 12.  Something inside of me wanted to cry out, “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be!  Children are meant to live with both of their parents, to be raised to know and fear the Lord, to have security knowing that mom and dad love them and love each other.”  The problem is that life is broken and so nothing is the way that it’s supposed to be, including this young man’s life.

Paul Tripp writes about this brokenness in his book, Broken Down House:

“The brokenness around you affects you in different ways at different times.  Sometimes you have to deal with personal hurt.  Sometimes you grow angry that things do not function as they were designed to.  Sometimes you are overwhelmed with feeling sad or lost in the face of this world’s pitiful condition.  Sometimes you get tired of the effort it takes to live in a broken-down house, and you just want to quit.  At every point and every moment, your life is messier and more complicated than it really ought to be because everything is so much more difficult in such a terribly broken world.”

How do we respond to life in this broken world?  Should we close our eyes to the suffering around us and try to insulate ourselves from the brokenness?  Should we allow our hearts to become numb or indifferent with apathy?  Should we just lay down and cry?  Here’s a summary of Tripp’s response:

  1. Determine to be honest about the world we live in.  In other words, don’t try to cover up the brokenness of the world we live in.
  2. Let yourself mourn.  This world is a broken place full of pain and it is appropriate for us to mourn over that.
  3. Fight to be dissatisfied.  Do not allow the day to day drone of this broken world lull you into being satisfied with it’s brokenness.
  4. Be glad.  While this world is broken, Emmanuel has come to restore that which has been lost.
  5. Live with anticipation. By an extraordinary act of God’s grace, all his blood-bought children are guaranteed to be part of a much better neighborhood.  Someday we will all live in the New Jerusalem on a street called Shalom, where brokenness will be no more.

February 08 2010 | Devotional | Comments Off on Everything’s Broken

“I’m Busy”

confused-man I’ve recently noticed something about myself.  When friends ask “How are you doing?”, often times my default response is “busy.”  Not, “I’m doing well” or “I’m keeping up” but “I’m busy.”  In some ways this is understandable.  I’m a pastor at a large church, I have a growing family, I’m out 3-4 nights a week for ministry related activities, and I shepherd a large group of High School and Junior High students.  It seems that “busyness” is probably about the only thing that I have time for.  What’s more, I know that I’m not the only person who struggles with busyness.  Whether they be Doctors, Lawyers, House Wives, Computer Programmers, or Teachers everyone seems to be unbelievably “busy” these days.

In some ways this busyness is a good thing.  1) Keeping a busy schedule allows us to get more done, and frankly sometimes there’s just a lot that has to get done (i.e. raising the kids, making a living, etc.).  2) While it is possible to keep busy doing absolutely nothing, my experience is that most of the busy people I know are extremely hard workers and are very conscientious about their use of time.  So, there are some good aspects to “busyness.”

On the other hand, “busyness” can oftentimes be nothing more than a veiled form of personal pride.  Far too often busyness is simply a manifestation of my own desire for autonomy. I want to be able to do what needs to be done without having to rely on anyone (including God) for help.  Oswald Chambers described it like this, “We calculate and estimate, and say that this and that will happen, and we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses.”

So, what is the cure for this pride of busyness?  You may be surprised to learn that it is not necessarily to do less things (although, it may very well be that something has to be cut out in the long term).  There are seasons in life which present greater responsibilities than other seasons and those responsibilities simply have to be dealt with.  The problem is not so much in the volume of things that I have to do, but rather in my attitude toward the things I have to do.  Martin Luther once said, “I have so many things to do today that I must pray for two hours instead of my usual one.”  The cure to the pride of busyness is to be still (Psalm 46:10) before God and to trust Him, even in the midst of busyness.

January 31 2010 | Devotional | Comments Off on “I’m Busy”

If God is Sovereign, Why Pray?

pray1 One of the questions that I often encounter is in my adult Sunday School class as well as youth group is, “If God is sovereign, why should I pray?”  For years I wondered the same thing.  It seems that when you combine the fact that God is sovereign (He can do anything) with the fact that He is omniscient (He knows all things) prayer almost seems unnecessary.  I mean, if there is no chance that I am going to change God’s mind with my prayers, than what’s the point of praying?

What helped to change my thinking about prayer and the sovereignty of God was one simple principle that has since become very precious to me: Prayer is not about changing God, prayer is about changing me.  In other words, we do not pray in order to change God’s mind but rather so that God will change our mind.

One of the radical implications of this truth involves the way that we approach prayer requests.  For years I maintained a prayer list which I would go over in my prayer time that simply consisted of asking God to do things for certain people (provide financially, give the doctors wisdom, etc.).  These things are all well and good, but I’ve come to understand that God is interested in more than providing financially for those who I care about, or giving wisdom to the doctors who are working on those I love.  God is supremely interested in my heart and how these circumstances affect me personally.

It seems that God uses prayer as one of the primary means by which He sanctifies His children.  So rather than giving God a laundry list of items I would like Him to address, my prayers should focus on the needs before me and specifically on my response to those needs.  For example, rather than simply praying for God to bring healing to a loved one I might want to pray something like this, “Father, I am greatly concerned for my dear friend in the hospital right now.  I ask that you would provide for all of her needs and that you would bring healing to her in Your good time.  But Father, I also want to confess that when those close to me are sick I find myself prone to anxiety, because I don’t want to lose them.  I know that ultimately, this anxiety is really a way for me to question your goodness so Father, would you guard my heart against this temptation and help me to trust in you for the life and well being of those I love.”  I believe that what God is doing in these kinds of prayers is changing my heart and conforming my desires to His.  Kent Hughes described prayer in this way:  Imagine getting into a boat, having secured a line to the shore and casting out onto a lake.  When you pull on that line of rope, the mainland does not come to you but rather you are drawn to the mainland.  In prayer, God is seeking to line us back up with Himself by changing our hearts through the discipline of prayer.

January 24 2010 | Devotional | Comments Off on If God is Sovereign, Why Pray?

Blogging Through the Trinity (part 3)

I started this morning out with a good cup of coffee, which was a very good thing because of the weightiness of what Dr. Ware brought to us today.  With each passing day I grow to have a greater and great appreciation for the gravity and seriousness of the doctrine of the Trinity.  This is not an easy doctrine!  It is fraught with peril on every side, so great care is needed when we begin to unfold what the Scripture teaches about the triune nature of God.

The topic for most of the day was the Son’s relationship to the Holy Spirit.  The Old Testament consistently speaks of a day when God will make a new covenant with His people and that covenant will be inaugurated by the coming of the Messiah (Jesus) as well as the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 44:1-5 – But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen. ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants; And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.’ “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord,’ And will name Israel’s name with honor.”

One of the most profound implications of the Son’s relationship to the Spirit is found in the incarnation of Christ.  As you read through the gospel accounts it becomes increasingly clear that one of the outstanding characteristics of Jesus is the fact that He relied so heavily upon the Spirit (Luke 4:1-2).  The reason for this seems to be that in the incarnation Jesus set aside the use of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:6-8) and so He lived His life in the same way that you and I live our lives.  He did not call upon His divine attributes to get Him out of sticky situations (like finding out who touched Him in a crowded street), but rather lived His life in complete and utter dependence on the Spirit.  This quality of Christ’s dependence on the Spirit is what qualifies Him as our great example.  Jesus lived the same life that I live (save that He never sinned), a life completely dependent on the Spirit.  This serves as a tremendous source of hope on two fronts 1) No matter how difficult the path that I may walk down, Jesus has already gone before me.  There is no place in this life so dark that Christ has not already gone there.  2) I need to live my life in dependence upon the Spirit.  In other words, there should be an increasing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in my Christian life, because that’s how Jesus lived as my great example.

January 07 2010 | Trinity | Comments Off on Blogging Through the Trinity (part 3)

God’s Thousand Dollar Promise

Human beings have a hard time reckoning with large numbers.  For example, I can tell you what the difference is between $1 and $100 or even $100 and $1,000 because I’ve experienced those kinds of differences in my checking account and purchasing history.  But it’s nearly impossible for me to quantitatively understand the difference between a million dollars and a billion dollars or the difference between a billion dollars and a trillion dollars.  Those kinds of numbers are simply too big for me to know by experience, so I have to think of them in simpler terms (i.e. “a million dollars is a lot of money, a billion dollars is a whole lot of money and a trillion dollars is an astronomical amount of money”).

Something very similar to this can happen when Christians try to understand the love of God.  The love of God is so deep, so high and so wide that it is impossible for us to grasp it in all of of its fullness.  Take for example Isaiah 53:7-10 for example.  Isaiah writes:

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
wand with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;

This is surely one of the most moving passages in all of the Bible and yet the depth of it is almost unsearchable.  Verse 10 tells us that it was actually the will of God the Father to crush his only Son and put him to grief.  In eternity past the Father purposed to crush his own son so that He could adopt me as His own.  I have two boys (and another on the way), so I know what it is to love my children and yet I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to “crush” one of them.  The concept is so deep and so powerful that it blows all of my categories.  In many ways Isaiah 53 is like a trillion dollar promise to God’s people.  It is simply beyond our experience and beyond our reckoning to be able to fully come to terms with the love of God described in this passage.

In order for us to understand the depth of what Isaiah 53:7-10 is expressing we need to find a thousand dollar promise in Scripture that describes the love God in terms that may be a little more accessible to us.  We need to understand what the trillion dollar promise of Isaiah 53 looks like in everyday terms.

I have been meditating on a passage of Scripture for the past couple of months, which I believe is that thousand dollar promise.  For me, it has helped to open up Isaiah 53 to me in a way that I would not have known it otherwise.  The passage is Zephaniah 3:17 where Zephaniah writes:

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

I think that Zephaniah 3:17 helps us to understand Isaiah 53:7-10 by placing the love of God into one of its everyday forms.  Have you ever considered the fact that God enjoys you?  Not only that, but God actually rejoices over you and exults over you with singing?  When I come home at the end of a hard day at work I rejoice to see my children and to hear about their day.  I enjoy being with my wife and I cherish every moment that I get to spend with her, because I love her.  You see, I know by experience what it’s like to enjoy being with someone and to have them enjoy being with me.

Zephaniah 3:17 is a thousand dollar promise which tells me that not only does God love me enough to crush His Son for my sins, but in the day to day of life God’s love means that He actually enjoys spending time with me, in much the same way that I enjoy spending time with my boys.

November 16 2009 | Devotional | Comments Off on God’s Thousand Dollar Promise

Where the Wild Things Are

where_the_wild_things_are_ver2 When I was a little boy my mother used to read the book “Where the Wild Things Are” to me before I would go to bed.  It is the story of a little boy who had been very naughty and was sent to his room where he fell asleep and dreamed of going to where the wild things are and having a “wild rumpus” with them, eventually becoming the king of the wild things.  The story ends with the boy feeling homesick and going home only to awaken from his dream and find that his mother had left a meal for him in his room that was still hot.

It’s funny, but sometimes ministry can feel a lot like this children’s book.  If you’ve ever attended a tense church business meeting, sat in on a controversial elder meeting, or participated in a church budget meeting you have probably experienced something of a “wild rumpus” with the people of God.

If you aren’t careful, it would be easy to allow these experiences to weigh down your spirit and become a cause of great angst rather than an occasion for your own growth in the discipline of patience.  The fact of the matter is that if you’re wondering “where the wild things are?”, the answer is that many of them are here at the church and they are here for a reason.

I was recently reminded of the story of Charles Simeon who was a pastor in the church of England in the 1700’s.  Charles Simeon was assigned to a church that essentially despised him because he preached the gospel and called men to live holy lives.  The malice of some of the people in the church went so deep that they actually locked their pews (at this time individual people could own pews and refuse to allow others to sit in them) and forced the rest of the congregation to stand in the aisles as Charles Simeon would preach.  Now I’ve seen some wild things in my years of ministry, but I’ve never seen something like that.  What makes this scenario even more unbelievable is that it went on for 12 years straight.

I’ve been greatly helped by Charles Simeon’s comment on his “wild rumpus” over these 12 years.  Simeon wrote:

In this state of things I saw no remedy but faith and patience. The passage of Scripture which subdued and controlled my mind was this, “The servant of the Lord must not strive.” It was painful indeed to see the church, with the exception of the aisles, almost forsaken; but I thought that if God would only give a double blessing to the congregation that did attend, there would on the whole be as much good done as if the congregation were doubled and the blessing limited to only half the amount. This comforted me many, many times, when without such a reflection, I should have sunk under my burden. (H. C. G. Moule, Charles Simeon, [London: The InterVarsity Fellowship, 1948, orig. 1892], p. 39)

If you’re in the church for almost any amount of time you will encounter the wild things and sadly at one point or another most of us will act like one of the wild things.  What Charles Simeon has taught me is that in my encounters with the wild things God is actively pursuing my growth in  “faith and patience” and that makes the wild rumpus worth it.

HT: Desiring God

October 26 2009 | Devotional | Comments Off on Where the Wild Things Are

Cheer Up My Friend

There are certainly times in life when we need a little more encouragement than others.  When the night seems especially long and the the road seems especially hard, it helps to have a friend come alongside and offer a word of cheer.  For some reason these last few weeks have felt a little darker than most, but tonight the Lord sent a friend in the form of a letter written in 1838 reminding me to “take heart.”  In the chaos and loneliness of life it may be that you are in a similar place, so I hope that these words mean as much to you as they have to me.

(The following is excerpted from a letter written on November
16, 1838, and was published in the ‘Gospel Standard Magazine’)

Dear friend,
O the pleasure, wonder, and delight when the dear Comforter
brings to my remembrance the way He has led me these forty
years in this dreary wilderness–the helps He has afforded me;
His never-failing mercy in supplying me; His omnipotent power
in keeping me; His unwearied patience in bearing with my
devilish, crooked ways; His never-failing faithfulness,
notwithstanding all my unbelief. It is of His mercies and His
unfailing compassion–that I am not consumed. I am confident
that it is because He changes not, that such a worm as I am–is
not consumed. For I am sure there never was such a stubborn,
refractory, stupid, rebellious, proud, presumptuous, blind fool as
I am!
My dear friend, it is here where my poor soul wishes to be living
and dying–enrapt up in the bosom of everlasting love! O what
sweetness to have drops out of this fathomless sea, this
boundless river! And, if the drops are so sweet, so soul
ravishing, so sin subduing, so devil conquering, so world
vanquishing, and so God glorifying; what must it be to be
brought to the fountain-head! What must it be, to be delivered
forever from a cursed body of sin and death, out of the reach of
all the fiery darts of the devil! What must it be, to have no
nights, no clouds, no storms, no afflictions, no frowns forever
and ever! There it will be an eternity of God’s smiles, an eternity
of immortal pleasure–and not one moment of pain nor grief
forever and ever!
O sweet home, heavenly rest–“where the wicked cease from
troubling,” and the poor, tempted, tossed, tried, weary soul shall
be forever at rest–undisturbed forever! O that the dear
Comforter may bless us with foretastes of this heavenly
kingdom, where we shall sing together, notwithstanding all our
present sinkings, murmurings, frettings, wanderings, groanings,
and sighings! All that either the world, flesh, or devils have
done, can do, or ever shall do–shall never be able to pluck us

out of the hands of everlasting love!
Cheer up, my friend, though it is through much tribulation–it
is unto the kingdom of God! Though it is through fire and water–
it is into a wealthy place! Though it is through a terrible
wilderness, through pits, traps, and snares–it is into a land
flowing with milk and honey! Though it is through so many
fainting fits, so sickly and faint at times–it is into a land where
there never is any sickness, for the inhabitants there never are
sick.
Blessed be our dear Lord–He picked us up out of the ruin of the
fall–unasked, unsought for, unthought of–and deadened us to
all the pleasures and joys that we once lived and delighted in. He
has burned up our rags of righteousness and made us sick of
them in our very hearts–and brought us to long, pant, and thirst
for His holy righteousness. He has given us many blessed drops
and tokens of His love–that He is ours, and that we are His!
O blessed Lord, do help us, do keep us, do lead us, and do guide
us by Your counsel–and afterwards receive us to glory!

October 17 2009 | Blog | Comments Off on Cheer Up My Friend

To Live Without Me…

The other night Amy sent me out to Dairy Queen to pick up a couple of ice cream cones for us to eat while we watch The Biggest Looser (one of the many blessings of living with a pregnant wife).  As I was driving back home with cones in hand I had the radio tuned into our local Christian radio station (Praise 106.5) when a song came on that caught my attention.  The name of the song is “To Ever Live Without Me” by Jody McBrayer.  What caught my attention was not the stellar vocals, because they weren’t really stellar.  Nor was it the outstanding musical quality, because it was pretty bland for my taste.  What caught my attention was the pure, unadulterated pride implicit in the song along with the depreciation of the cross.  Here is the chorus:

Heaven knew the reason you were there

It was all about a man

It was all about a cross

It was all about the blood that was shed so I would not be lost

It was all about a love that was bigger than a life

It was all about the freedom that was given through your sacrifice

‘Cause you would rather die than to ever live without me

The pinnacle of the message of this song is the very last line which says that Jesus would rather die than “to ever live without me.”  Now on one level that is kind of true.  Jesus did die a substitutionary death on the cross in order to purchase my salvation and adopt me into His family.  However, the motivation for that sacrifice was not my inherit goodness, nor was it the sheer joy of being with someone as great as I am for eternity (note my sarcasm here).  The cross was about God the Father crushing His Son in order to glorify Himself.  This is one of the principle differences between man-centered worship and God-centered worship.  Man-centered worship tends to make everything that God has done somehow about me, whereas God-centered worship understands that man is simply the happy beneficiary of God’s passion for His own glory.

While the chorus was somewhat irritating, what really bothered me about this song was a single line where she said, “Selfless, you could have called ten thousand angels down to take your place.”  I can’t think of a single line of music in recent memory that is more disrespectful to the cross than this one.  The entire concept makes a mockery of Hebrews 1.

Hebrews 1:1-4 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

The point is that no one else could have made the sacrifice that Christ made, because only the death of God is sufficient to atone for my sins.  It didn’t matter if it was 10,000 angels or 10,000,000 angels giving their lives.  There is nothing that can wash away my sin but the blood of Jesus and I am so humbled by the fact that He did give His life and that I get to live with Him for eternity.

October 08 2009 | Devotional | 2 Comments »

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