No More Addition

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

One of the reasons why so many have difficulty and fail in their faith journey is because of addition.

When Christ invites us to receive him as Lord and Savior, he is not asking us to add him to our selfish, sinful, dying old self. Christ is not asking us to clean some stuff up and make room in our old life for Christ. This is the problem of addition. This is the problem of addition.

Old, Dying, Nasty, Sinful Life + Christ

Look at the text for this day.

  • PUT OFF your old self which is corrupted by deceitful desires
  • PUT ON the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness

This is not adding Christ to our old life. This is renouncing our old life for Christ and the new life he offers. This is not making room for Christ, this is taking the fulness of Christ and the new life he offers.

New ways of living. New priorities. New perspectives. New life.

Any time we attempt to hold on to our previous way of life – a life that was under the control and influence of the flesh and sin – we will struggle.

Just because we choose to take on the new life Christ offers doesn’t mean that it’s easy sailing from that moment. The old flesh will continue to fight. Our old ways of being and thinking will still wriggle its way in. It will be a constant battle to reject the old ways of living.

If we’re going to struggle either way, what’s the point?

Great question. The point is joy, contentment, peace. If these things matter at all to you, you will want to put off your old self and put on the new self Christ offers. You will battle and struggle, but should you choose Christ you will have joy, contentment, and peace.

No more addition. PUT OFF the old self.

A transformed life. PUT ON the new self.

He’s Right Here!!!

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).

In Hosea, God asks Hosea to marry a prostitute who continues to cheat on him to show how Israel continues to prostitute herself as a nation with other gods. I know. Kinda brutal. But so is adultery and prostituting yourself with other gods.

In this book you can literally feel the heartbreak of a God who longs and loves a people who continue to cheat on him. Now, it wasn’t that the Israelites were not offering sacrifices or keeping their holy days. They were doing all those things while they were pursuing other lovers.

What God wanted from the Israelites was their hearts, their loyalty, their allegiance, their fidelity, their love. It is absolutely possible to go through the motions of religion while being absolutely distant in heart.

I share this with you because I have a confession to make. I found myself going through the motions of reading the Bible, praying, and journaling everyday while my heart remained distant. Even while I was reading God’s word and praying I acted as if God weren’t even there! Can you imagine? God sitting right across the table from me as I am reading his word and praying to him, and totally ignoring him and acting as if he weren’t even there?!?!

Goodness gracious!!! What an idiot!!!

So, every time I read God’s word and every time I pray, I talk to him as if he’s really there. You know why? BECAUSE HE IS!!!!!

So, the next time you read God’s word and pray to him, won’t you read and pray as if he were really right there with you? You know why? Because he is!

Growing Up

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Yay! You showed up! You’re here! Well done!!!

The way some people go to Sunday worship, they act like they are doing God a favor by showing up. Hey, look at me. I’m here. You ought to praise me for being here. Didn’t I do a good thing by just showing up?

In what relational setting would that work?

  • Marriage – “Hey honey. I’m home. Praise me for being here. Acknowledge how awesome it is that I showed up at the house.”
  • Friendship – “Hey, I’m here. Look at me. I showed up. Aren’t you glad I’m here!”

Yeah. That wouldn’t fly.

It’s not enough for Christians to show up in worship. Showing up is expected. That’s what Christians do. Christians worship. There’s nothing special about that. That is the bare minimum.

Our text tells us the goal of Christian spirituality:“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ

  • “to equip us for works of service”
  • “to build up the body of Christ”
  • “to reach unity in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God”
  • “to become mature”
  • “to attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”

The purpose of Christian spirituality is to grow up. The church is in absolute trouble if she has a hard time getting people to show up. If the church is praising people for showing up????….oh my! Of course you show up for your family. Of course you show up for your marriage. Of course you show up for your friendship. These are expected!

Grow up. Grow up. Grow up.

I thank God for you Little Church and Lakewoodgrace. You are fantastic about showing up so that God can build up his church. Way to go!!!