Thursday, August 9, 2012

If You Were A Boat

I'm back, today anyway, beating the same drum I hope I have from the start: where our hope is.  Our hope is in Christ.  Today, I've got a question that's been rattling around in my head.  For context, I could refer to JD Greear teaching that a believer's life should have absolutely no explanation for how it's lived, except for the gospel.  I can testify that the gospel-defended life is most likely one characterized by much sin and suffering, as is the gospel, but much more so by grace, healing, restoration, mercy, love and joy.  There is no gospel-centered life without sacrifice, as there's no gospel without suffering, and sacrifice wouldn't be sacrifice if it were easy.  

I could also say that a recently, Matt Papa shared this little gem: why would God give you what you've always wanted, if what you've always wanted isn't Him?  Indeed, there's no corner of our life, not even the happy, good, God-pleasing corners, that is not to be laid on the table as a willing sacrifice, for His glory and our good.  When our happy lives and all of their pleasing, or at least pleasurable, corners are offered up, the glory revealed and healing and knowledge of Our Father and His Son, who already sacrificed more than we ever could while we still hated Him, are sweeter blessings than we could have known absent the opportunity to give over what we thought was so sweet.  

I can also say that truly loving people - hurting, hurtful, sinful people - with the love which we have received is hard.  But for the gospel, there is no explanation for loving someone when that love appears to be of absolutely no benefit to us, and in fact when it is most painful and costly.  The gospel is that while I was still a sinner, while I was still a long way off, while I was hostile, stiff-necked, proud, stubborn, covetous, gossiping, mean, defensive, defiant, unfaithful, unrepentant, selfish, dispassionate, fearless, lying, and blind to my need for Him, Christ died for me.  I am the beneficiary of a gift I needed so desperately I couldn't even ask for it.  As a response, I am charged with loving the way that I have been loved:  selflessly, sacrificially, repeatedly, patiently, with endurance and kindness and with no other explanation.  We don't love people because they are worthy; we love people because Christ is worthy.

So, here's the question and I think the answer, which in fact are related to having only the gospel as an explanation for one's life or one's response to suffering and to offering up what's good for what is better: of what benefit is it to the wind to fill the sails of a boat and move it across the water, but to give glory to the One who commands the wind?  Of what benefit is it to the tree to harbor the bird in a storm, but to demonstrate the power and provision of the One who sustains its branches and makes it strong?  Of what benefit is it to the moon and stars to guide lost sailors, but to testify to the glory of the One who spoke them into creation with a word?  Of what benefit is it to a sister who at great cost suffers alongside her brother, bearing up his burden in his season of weakness, but to point to the One who sustains her and is the refuge where she hides, that she can show His promises of healing fulfilled.  I confess:  I am a boat with sails full of wind I don't deserve.  Hopefully, sometimes, I'm the wind.

Friends who know and are beneficiaries of the gospel:  it is my hope that you would recognize lives defended and explained only by the gospel as just that, and give your Father glory.  Be grateful when you are the beneficiary of gospel love.  Live out the gospel in your life, for the benefit of redeemed sinners and for the glory of God.  Do not shrink for fear that no one will understand; if inexplicable love is your testimony, then tell it.  It's not explanation that makes the gospel known; it's revelation, and that's not your job.  Leave yourself no other defense for how you love but that the love and mercy you have received is so much greater than what you could ever give.  Every life, with all that is good and bad in it, a living, willing, paltry, joyful sacrifice in response to the most glorious and highest price paid for us, for our good and God's glory.

Also, I love this song.  For goodness sake, listen to it.

With gratitude for inexplicable love in my life and for being loved for no reason other than the gospel, thanks for coming back, and thanks for praying.


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