Dig until you uncover the truth

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)    
      
In this past Sunday’s sermon on the gospel and personal growth, I made the case that underneath every sin is idolatry: we are looking to something other than God to give us satisfaction, comfort, peace, glory, etc. And, if you are willing to dig even deeper, underneath every idol is something we don’t believe about God. Deep down, we are not sure that God is good and will care for us, and so we look to money to be our source of security. We are not sure that in Christ really is found life to the full, and so we look to worldly entertainment to bring us joy. We do not really believe that God can give us peace in the midst of our anxieties, and so we turn to our addictions to soothe us. If this is true, then the best thing we can do is to return again and again to the gospel, to remember the majesty of God’s love as displayed in Jesus’ death for us when we were still sinners, that we might grow in our trust of Him and love for Him.

A couple of years ago, I tried really digging into one of my biggest struggles. I have always struggled with procrastination, particularly with tackling the really difficult things on my to-do list. As a pastor, I have so many directions I can go with my time: people in need of discipling or care, ministry leaders to train and support, prayer, outreach, reading, writing, preparing sermons, planning for the future, and so on. Often, what gets pushed aside are the items that are more challenging for me: difficult conversations, working through thorny issues, figuring out leadership challenges. Over the years, I have honed my task management systems to the point where I at least know what I need to accomplish in a given day. The problem comes in executing that list, particularly when I choose to take on the easier, less critical tasks and do not leave myself with enough time to take care of the harder, more important ones.

As I began to pray and dig into this issue, I believe God helped me to see the heart of the issue. I realized that if I didn’t give my best effort to those challenging tasks, then I would always have an excuse when things didn’t go well:  “I could have been successful at that, but unfortunately I had to take care of other things.” I saw that deep down, in some place I was not consciously aware of, I believed that if I gave my all and then failed, then I was a failure, with no excuses to hide behind. But as long as I had excuses, then I could see myself as a victim of my circumstances, and not have to deal with my crisis of competency. Deep down, my procrastination arose from a fear of failure, a fear that I was a failure.

But that is not the bottom layer. Underneath that fear of failure lies a lack of belief in the gospel. The gospel, after all, is the greatest news of all for failures. It proclaims that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). ALL have failed, but the good news is that every failure has been covered by God’s grace. We are beloved failures, saved sinners, redeemed screw-ups. And as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is never in vain.” In other words, even if you give your best and still fail, it is not meaningless; in some mysterious way I do not fully understand, even my failures, when done in service to the Lord, matter eternally for good.

Underneath every sin is idolatry. And underneath every idol is something we don’t believe about God and the gospel. Don’t be afraid to start digging, that you might uncover the truth and build your life upon it.

Posted in
Posted in , , ,

No Comments


Recent

Archive

 2023

Categories

Tags

1 Corinthians 10 1 Thessalonians 5 2 Corinthians 13:5 2 Timothy 4 Abundant Life Adoption Affirmation American cullture America Anger Anonymity Anthropology Anxiety Apologetics Approval Arguments Atheism Baptism Barnabas Battle Be still Bible Study Bible reading Bible study fellowship Bible Billy Graham Bob Pierce Bonhoeffer Books Breath Prayer Brennan Manning Brian Fearon Bronx Busyness C.S. Lewis Cape Coast Castle Central African Republic Character Charles Spurgeon Charleston Cheap grace Christian media Christian privilege Christian publishing Christmas Church growth Church life Church College Commitment Communication Community Compassion Competition Confidence Contentment Coronavirus Counseling Courage Cove Service Cowardice Craig Wolfram Critical Race Theory Criticism Cross Culture D.L. Moody Daniel David Death Deborah Despair Discernment Discipleship Discipline Distractions Division E.M Bounds Easter Ebenzer Ecuador Edward Kimball Election Elisabeth Elliot Enabling Encouragement Endurance Envy Ephesians Eternal life Eternity Evaluation Evangelism Faith False Teachers Fame Family Fasting Father Fear Fellowship Footwashing Forgiveness Francis Chan Freedom Friendship Gaia McDermott Gates George Mueller Gift exchange Gino Marozzi Giving Glory God's character God's faithfulness God's goodness God's leading God's love God's plan God's presence God's sovereignty God's wrath God\'s faithfulness God\'s love God\'s sovereignty God Good Samaritan Gospel Grace Grief Haiti Handel's Messiah Happiness Hartford City Mission Healing Heaven Hebrews 11 Hell History Holiness Hollywood Holy Spirit Home Honesty Hope Horatio Spafford Hospitality Houston Human rights Humility Hypocrisy Identity Ideologies Idols Immanuel In memory of Information overload Injustice Insecurity Integrity Intimacy Isaiah 9 Israel JI Packer Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 8:11 Jesus' death Jesus' love Jesus\' love Jesus Job Joe Barone John 8 John Newton Jordan Perterson Joseph Joshua Joy Judgement Judges Justice Kanye West Kingdom of God Knowing God Lamentations Lament Las Vegas Leadership Leaf by Niggle Lent Les Miserables Lessons learned Longing Lord's Prayer Love Lynne Pleau Mark 10:21 Mark Driscoll Marketing Memorial Day Men's conference Mercy Mike Yaconelli Ministry Missions Money Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Moses Music Nancy Butler New Year's New life NewLife Old Testament Opinions Optimism Order Orlando Outreach Parenting Passion of the Christ Passion Pastoral care Pastoral ministry Pentecost Peru Phil Vaglica Philip Yancey Philippians 4:13 Play Pokemon Go Politics Poverty Power Prayer Preaching Pride Month Pride Prison ministry Progress Prophecy Prophet Prosperity Gospel Proverbs 14:4 Proverbs Psalm 13 Psalm 46:10 Psalm 46 Psalm 51 Public Speaking Purpose R.C Sproul Reflection Relationship with God Relationships Relativism Relevance Reputation Rest Resurrection Rev 2:4 Revival Rich young ruler Righteousness Romantic love Ron Luce Running Sabbath Sacrifice Salvation Same-sex marriage Samuel Sanctification Satan Saul Seculosity Self-Image Self-Worth Service Sex Trafficking Sex Shirley Prey Signifigance Silence Sin Smartphones Social justice Songs of Ascent Spiritual Disciplines Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Warfare Spiritual growth Statues Stories Street Church Stress Success Suffering Suicide Sunday School Survivor Syria Technology Teen Mania Thanksgiving The Hartford project The Ragman The Sound of freedom The Underground The Valley of Vision Tim Keller Titanic Tolkienn Tozer Trauma Trust Truth Uconn basketball Unanswered Prayer Unity Uvalde Valley of Vision Vows Williams Syndrome Wisdom Work Worry Worship Zechariah accountability accusation addiction bitterness cancel culture child trafficking confession conflict cool devotion disillusionment divorce emotions evil evolution faithfulness foster care glory days gratitude idolatry influences listening marriage nostalgia pastor perspective problem of Evil prodigal son purity of heart racism recovery redemption relevant repentance story temptation the one Jesus loves time management trials tribalism violence vision