The bottom line for anyone who is in Christ or who needs to be in Christ (and that’s pretty much everyone) is that Jesus Christ is EVERYTHING. He is our all in all. We were created to be complete and full of joy in worshipping Him alone; and when we don’t… when ‘stuff’ gets in the way…when we get in the way… our sights, thoughts and actions go from holy worship to man-centered foolishness and all the sinful responses that come with it.
I remembered this as I was rebuked/exhorted by a comment from Jerry Bridges posted at a blog site which I completely recommend…
“God wants us to find our primary joy in our objectively declared justification, not in our subjectively perceived sanctification.”
This is a no-brainer of course… right?! None of us ever get distracted from running the race once we’ve begun, right? Well, sadly I have. Sadly, right in the middle of church, ministry, unending opportunities to live and share the Gospel… I lost sight of the goal, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:12-16). Somehow it became earthbound, man-centered, pride-centered… sinful. It became devoid of faith and full of man’s wisdom. I lost sight of God’s love for all mankind and His special affection…His electing love for His church.
In the middle of this life I’m living, I sometimes forget the obvious. Christ has done it; He has won the victory for all who are in Him. I lost my footing on the sure foundation of justification and got waylaid by a subjectively perceived sanctification, as though my efforts contributed to the Cross or bought me some degree of standing or acceptance before God.
I grew up in a family with 7 boys and 1 girl. I was likely the most quiet and reserved, but we all learned to fight. I am a fighter or more carefully, a protector. I don’t like bullies. I hate the devil. I hate the lies that would lead my church away from the Gospel. BUT, I am no more equipped to fight this fight as a fragile, finite created being than any other created being. Today, I am enjoying the reality that Jesus Christ went before me and won the victory… to God be the glory.
I am (as my beloved brother John Piper puts it…) fighting for JOY. The enemy is ready to steal it away…” to steal, kill and destroy”. But I am loved by a Victorious King and this King will lose none of His… so, I rest in His love.
I hope you do too.