In HOPE

In HOPE 8.19

 David Timms  

Prayer for Today

Loving Father, forgive me for my reluctance to abandon myself entirely to you, for my insatiable desire to control my own life, for my doubts that you can and will produce life out of death. Embed the gospel deeper within me and help me embrace it fully and unreservedly today. Please open my eyes to recognize anything that seduces me away from full surrender. Let me not live a dangerous good today, but a life more yielded--wholly yielded--to You. Amen.

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“It is the things that are right and noble and good
from the natural standpoint that keep us back from God’s best.
To discern that natural virtues antagonize surrender to God
is to bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle.”
~
Oswald Chambers, His Utmost for My Highest.


A Dangerous Good

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 death.

The good 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 reasons.

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 Christ.

Second, we 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 God.

It's much easier to impress people than 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?

The 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 our deaths.

In HOPE --

David

 

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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2008) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.