I worry about the way preachers/writers of Christian books and Christian church leaders so share from the Word of God that guilt results. You know when you are responding from guilt to a message heard when you find yourself thinking or doing the following – really, really praying and really meaning it; coming forward and giving your life again and again to Jesus Christ; making vain promises of serving the Lord – whatever it takes. Too many Christians burn out. Too many Christians are exhausted by a vision of ministry – that doesn’t come from God, but at its best from the unredeemed heart of man, and at the worst the pit of hell. Let me explain: preachers, seeking to stir up zeal, say
Give your heart; but rather, Christ has already given his
Yield your life; but rather, Christ has always been the owner of your life
Get on fire; but rather, Christ is the light and he says we are too
Keep on running to God; but rather, Walk in Christ
Get hungry for God; but rather, Christ is the bread of life – take, eat and feed on him
Press into God; but rather, Christ says we are hidden in him
Be a world changer; but rather, Christ says, come to me and lead a quiet life
Surrender all; but rather, Christ says, I’ve done everything for you and you are not your own
Step up to the plate; but rather, Christ says, I have raised you up to my throne
Burn out for God; but rather, Christ says, Shine for me
Work on your relationship with God; but rather, Christ says, he is our beloved and we are his.
Oh, listen to this: The King (Jesus Christ) stands in your stead; the King (Jesus Christ) lifts up your head; and the King (Jesus Christ) has shouldered all your dread. You are adopted in Christ – and with him, along with him, comes everything else you need for life and godliness. Not understanding this state of being adopted leads us to be anxious – have we done enough for Christ? Are we truly consecrated? Have we prayed as we should? Have we shared the faith as much as we should have? And the answer to all these questions is simply, “No!” And it makes not a scrap of difference to how God thinks of us – for we are accepted in the beloved, adopted ‘according to the kind intention of his will.’ Jesus is the source, the Fountain of all life, love, delight and joy. He is the ever fresh, ever vigorous, ever new, ever energising Spring – and even if every one of the 7 billion people on earth drank of him and slaked their thirst entirely, he could not be drunk dry. He is a Fountain of life and joy – AND WE ARE IN HIM, adopted, accepted into the life and fellowship of the Holy Trinity. Oh, the gospel is always counter-intuitive. We need to stop giving our lives to Jesus, and instead rest in the reality of our adoption, of Christ already having been given to us, and our position in him is safe and secure.