Theme of the Week: The Good News That God Doesn’t Believe In You
Bible Verse: “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5, CSB
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:1-12
Rather than asking what our New Year’s resolution might be, let’s ask what God’s resolution for us is—what his good and gracious will is for our lives. It turns out to be the same on January 1 as on March 1 and July 1, all the way to December 31. God’s resolution is simply this: to get us out of ourselves and into his Son.
Rather than encouraging us to believe in ourselves, the Spirit gives us faith to trust in the Lord who remains faithful, even “if we are faithless . . . for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). Rather than telling us to look within and tap into our potential, he’s hard at work, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2 NIV).
In his novel The Hammer of God, Bo Giertz tells the story of Fridfeldt, a young pastor in Sweden who is passionate about obedience, holy living, producing spiritual fruits, being that person who always has his religious ducks in a row. On the surface, anyway, Fridfeldt seems to be the poster boy of discipleship. But his weakness is precisely that seeming strength.
Every hour of every day, this man’s resolution is focused in a singular direction: on himself. Yes, it’s a focus on doing holy stuff, but that is all smoke and mirrors. Fridfeldt, intensely religious though he may be, is really no different than a secularist. His eyes are on his works, his heart, his activity, his achievements. He is the center of his religious world. His “Jesus” is not so much a savior of sinners as a cheerleader of doers.
Excerpted from Upside-Down Spirituality: The 9 Essential Failures of a Faithful Life by Chad Bird, Copyright 2019, Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, used by permission.
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