Running to the Pantry of Good Works

I have been reminded again of personal futility.

I’ve noticed a troubling personal trend. This trend is not new, but it is nevertheless fresh and disturbing. During times of spiritual apathy, sin, or negligence of spiritual disciplines I notice the feeling of being distant from God and his blessings. Then, I resolve to pray, read my Bible and do what is right. The result? I feel better. I feel assured, accepted and refreshed.

 

I am not a legalist.

I say this at the outset because I am scared of the label, both from the perspective of perception and also the spiritual implications. I don’t want to be that guy.

I am sure you can relate.

At the same time, I’ve noticed a troubling personal trend. This trend is not new, but it is nevertheless fresh and disturbing. During times of spiritual apathy, sin, or negligence of spiritual disciplines I notice the feeling of being distant from God and his blessings. Then, I resolve to pray, read my Bible and do what is right. The result? I feel better. I feel assured, accepted and refreshed.

At this point, you might be asking, “What is wrong with this?”

I’ll tell you. But first, a couple of qualifiers:

  1. We should feel disturbed when we sin, are lazy or otherwise negligent in our spiritual disciplines. There is blessing from conviction by God the Holy Spirit.
  2. We should feel better when we pray, confess sin, and engage in our spiritual disciplines.

So, what’s the problem? Where’s the issue?

The issue is about who the savior is.

Notice the basis for consolation? It is my performance. I sin so I feel bad. I then do better so I feel better.

Do you see what I have here? I have my only little, neat self-salvation project. I see my weakness when I look in and out at what I am and do. Where do I turn? I turn in for consolation from who I am and what I do.

This practice, which is far more prevalent than most of us think, is gospel-muting. It’s Jesus-eclipsing. It’s legalism.

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