We can all do a little good for a
little while -- at least long enough to make a few
friends and establish ourselves as "decent people."
Indeed, a little
charity, a little service, and a little friendliness can
carry us a long way. But not in God's sight.
Our ability to impress each other with a winsome smile,
a kind word, a great effort, or a sacrificial act can
distract us from vigilant attention to God. Indeed,
as Oswald Chambers suggests, such "natural virtues
antagonize surrender to God."
The heart of
the gospel is not niceness or decency but
news is not only that Christ died
for our sins and rose again, but that as
we continually die to Christ we too shall know the power
of resurrection life. Many of us accept Christ's
death but resist our own, for perhaps two
First, we misunderstand the gospel.
We reduce it to a series
of steps that we took to be born again. However, the
gospel is not a key to the door
of heaven but a way of life with
may find ourselves afraid to die daily to Christ because
we lack confidence in the resurrection power of the Father.
Jesus' instruction to the rich young ruler to sell
everything and give it to the poor seemed dreadfully
risky and outrageous to the young man. What if that
simply made him destitute, too? Thus, his doubt in
the Father's power to bring life out of death and fullness
out of emptiness produced a basic disobedience. A
decent young guy ... out of step with
It's much easier to impress people
surrender to God. The superficial world of smiles, handshakes, and small
acts of service seems safe. But to reduce our lives to
decency is to live a dangerous good. What matters most
to you this week? Decency or death?
greatest gift we can offer each other (friends,
colleagues, family, and spouses) emerges from our utter
submission to Christ.
May God grant us the courage for
crucifixion and deeper confidence in
His power to create beauty from ashes and life from