This weeks addition on the OneLife Blog, the Lancaster Media Committee will be sharing some of the conversations and things they have been learning around their small group discussions called Gospel Centered Life. Enjoy!
-Lauren Collins (Media Committee Coach)
“Hey y’all! One of the studies we are making our way through is a study called Gospel Centered Life! One of the things we are learning through GCL is the importance of heart repentance. I am learning that my perception of repentance was dolefully distorted: when I wronged someone, I would apologize for my words or actions, but my pride reduced repentance to a mere practice instead of a lifestyle. This aroused from an inflated view of my own “righteousness” apart from Jesus. The idols of control and success, for example, cause me to pursue action, results, and projects over people and relationships, leaving in their wake reverberating waves of hurt hearts. I would apologize for the fruit of the idol (impatience, lack of listening, etc.), but I failed to make it a lifestyle of recognizing and repenting of the root (the idol). I am learning that mere apology for the fruit of a sin excuses, dismisses, and ignores the root of the sin.
True repentance, however, recognizes the depth of our brokenness, the height of God’s holiness, and the grandeur of the cross of Jesus that bridges the gap between the two. When we truly repent, we confess not only our broken behavior, but the sin that caused us to respond the way we did; we recognize that righteousness lies in Jesus alone and this makes us turn from shame and turn to Jesus for healthy vulnerability and humility.”
– Chantal Peterson
‘”Not very teachable”… “Is defensive when accused of error or weakness”… The things I thought I was—like being teachable or completely open to the input I receive—I’m realizing I’m not. The pride I have in my intellectual growth fooled me into thinking I had the flexibility to exercise this intellect as well; If I have the capacity to learn, then it follows in my mind that I must also have the willingness. If I am able to grasp the meaning behind the cultural mandate or the doctrine of man’s stewardship within creation, then it must be that, by default, these thing will be taken to heart and magically renew my relationships with God, myself, and others. Right knowledge leads to right action—right? Not necessarily. The GCL lesson 3 that my group explored a couple weeks ago exposed this irrationality in my thoughts and took it a step further through an exercise in personal identity: As an “orphan” (perceiving and behaving separately from the grace of God), my tendencies to not be very teachable and to become defensive when accused of error or weakness reveal a dependence on my own finite abilities and a rejection of the infiniteness of the knowledge, grace, and Fatherhood of God. Along with seeing that sad self-dependence, what really got me was having my eyes opened to the resulting loneliness and homelessness of the orphan—my orphan status—and the deep longing the orphan feels for the relationship with, and acceptance of, God, “The Father.” Although I do not feel that I have accepted God’s Fatherhood to the fullest up to this moment, it is my earnest hope and desire, as I am here at OneLife, that I become more willing to translate head knowledge into heart knowledge and to enter into deeper communion with God not as an orphan, but as an adopted daughter through Christ.”
“One lesson that really resonated with me from The Gospel-Centered Life was Lesson 3: Believing the Gospel. It talked about passive righteousness, which basically means we do not labor for our righteousness, but rather we receive righteousness by faith in Christ. I thought this was a great reminder that we must cling to the gospel promise that God is pleased with us because he is pleased with Jesus. What freedom is there! The good news of the gospel is not that God makes much of us, but that God frees us to make much of Jesus! So we no longer have to live as orphans but as sons and daughters of the one true King!”
“We are unable to do what the law commands us to do, but Jesus did it for us. And because He lives in us by his spirit, we are enabled to do it, not from obligation, but from delight.”-The Gospel-Centered Life. In our GCL article four we talked about The Law & The Gospel. The chapter reminded us that far too often Christians get caught up in legalism or a license mentality. Jesus does not need us to obey the law, we as Christians need to realize that “the point of the gospel is to drive us to Jesus” not for us to find our righteousness in obedience to rules or to use Jesus’s sacrifice to do whatever we please. We are able to walk into freedom because Christ has fulfilled the law and invites us into life with Him.”
“Are you pretending to make yourself seem better than you are? Are you trying and please God in the things you do by performing? The first time I read these questions, I answered “no” to them; justifying my answer in telling myself that, “Of course I am a human, I’m not God, I’m not a perfect human being, so then, why would I even be trying to make myself seem better than I am?” I had dismissed the questions and moved on.
As the days passed by, I became more and more frustrated by the people around me. For a while, I only felt anger for the people that were closest to me. At the peak of my annoyance, I asked myself, “Why am I feeling this way?” I took a deep breath as I began to reflect and review the recent events. I realized that I was seeking acceptance and approval by making myself better than I am and by making a big deal out of the acts I was doing to receive a positive reaction from people.
The gospel tells us there is something called passive righteousness. We must adopt it and it needs to become core to our lives. It is called such because we do not need to work for it, it something that is given to us through faith. Passive righteousness means that God has credited Jesus’ perfect righteousness to us and forgiven our sin. Thinking this way has begun to change the way I think, and while it is not easy, it is beginning to change my life.”
“We must cling to the gospel promise that God is pleased with us because he is pleased with Jesus.”
This sentence hit me hard during our GCL a few weeks ago, and the more I think about it, the more it stirs up a bunch of emotions inside of me. So often I beat myself up over my past sin. It’s like part of me thinks that past me messed up so badly that God couldn’t ever love me as much as the Bible says. In my head, I have to be the best person out there so that God thinks I’m redeemable. I should be as perfect as possible so that my good acts and ‘perfectness’ cancel out my past actions that I don’t think God should be able to forgive me from. In reality though, it’s the exact opposite. Yes I’ve sinned, yes I’ve fallen short, but that’s why Jesus died. He suffered on the cross so that when God looks at me, He doesn’t see the marred, sin infected Amara, He sees His Son. Perfect, pure, holy Jesus. And when I step back and really let that sink in, I’m filled with joy. Adoration. Some days I want to go shout it from the rooftops-I’m a child of The King! Other days I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, feel the breeze blow around me, and laugh because I know-I believe-I’m loved. My Abba loves me! When we believe the gospel, we can rest in the idea that we have received righteousness through faith-passive righteousness because it’s given to us freely-and we can worship. We are sons and daughters of the most high God. The creator of the universe. He loves us not because of who we are, but because of who Jesus is. And so we can celebrate!”