I’m not as good as I thought I would be.
JULY 23, 2020
I’m not as good as I thought I would be. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at Acedia and asking the question, which I move. What good is something like that? That’s horrible. Boredom with Jesus losing one’s passion. That’s an awful thing. Well, yeah, it is. And you don’t want to put such a good spin on it that you make it into something that’s just wonderful. Cause it’s not. It’s really hard when you go through a dark period and a dry period in your life, but we’re finding some things that are pretty good about it. We have seen that, uh, that Acedia and the loss of passion reminds us that we’re not home yet. And we need to be reminded, especially Americans and Canadians who have it pretty good then to, that this is not heaven, man. One time, uh, Aquinas was being led through, uh, the palaces of Rome and, uh, or maybe it was Wesley through a wealthy man. Well, it was Wesley. I’m an old guy I’m doing the best I can. Okay? Wesley was being led through the home of a very wealthy man. And he was showing off his paintings and his statues and his furniture and the multiple rooms and bathrooms and Wesley muttered under his breath. These are the things that make it hard for a man to die. That was a wise statement. And when we live in a relatively easy position and place, it makes it hard for us to die. Not only that, it makes us forget that we’re not home yet. And so when the passion goes, we’re reminded that we’re not home yet, but yesterday I mentioned we’re not fixed yet either. That’s 2 Corinthians 1:8b, where Paul said that he despaired of life itself. And the first thing you want to say is what do you mean? You’re a leader. We elected you. Actually, we didn’t, he was appointed. Um, but he was the leader. I mean, he was the man. He wrote more of the New Testament than anybody else. This was a man that you expect to encourage us, to lift us up, to tell us it’s going to be all right, to remind us of return of Jesus and to be cool. And here he is saying he despaired of life itself. And I suggested yesterday, that was because the world wasn’t fixed yet, but Paul himself wasn’t fixed yet. And when he despaired of life itself, he recognized his own weakness, weakness that he said later in 2 Corinthians was the source of God’s power. But the truth is we aren’t fixed yet. We live in a very hard world and we’re very human. What does it mean to be human? It means that sometimes you get cancer. It means that sometimes you’re so tired, you just can’t take another step. It means that as you get older, you don’t see as well as you used to see. It means it means that the sins that you thought would be gone by now, are not gone. It means that you’re not as good as you thought you were going to be. It means that sin haunts. It means that you’re learning because you had to learn that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. And if it doesn’t, you don’t have a prayer and you don’t have any hope. And so there’s a good thing with Acedia, it reminds us about the world and we need to be reminded about that. But it reminds us of ourselves personally. You’ve heard me say it a lot of times and it’s true. I really thought that I was going to be better than this, I really did. Sometimes, you know what God did for me two days ago? There was a play, I’m not going to tell you, I’m not going to give you a specifics because you’re not safe, frankly, but I, but, but I always think I’d been thinking and even thanking God for this wonderful time of ministry that I had a number of years ago. I mean, it was delightful. I had more fun and I don’t always, and I loved it and I would thank God for allowing me to be a part of it. And you know what God did to me? And I told him, if you really loved me, you wouldn’t do this. He let me see the sin that was so extant during that time of my life. The pride, the arrogance, the insufferable self righteousness. And he wouldn’t stop. As I kept looking at it, I kept wincing and wincing and saying, God, that’s enough. I don’t need to hear anymore of this, but he was reminding me what I’m teaching you right now. You’re not fixed yet. So you’ve got to center it on grace. I told you that when we finished this series on Acedia, we’re going to look at Galatians. You know what I did this morning? In preparing for that series, and that’s down the line a while. It may be next week, but it may be the week after, depending as we try to land this teaching on Acedia. But you know what I did this morning, I looked up and re-read Martin. Luther’s preface to the book of Galatians. In fact, when I teach Galatians, I may not teach it. I’m dismay on every broadcast. Just read his preface to the book of Galatians. You know what it did to me, it reminded me of two things. It reminded me that I am needy and sinful, and I don’t have enough gasoline to get better and better every day, every way. Now I am better. It’s always surprising to me when God lets me see that it, it really is better. I love more than I used to. I’m nicer than I was. I’m more obedient than I have been in the past, but there’s so much that is so wrong. And as I read Martin Luther’s preface to the book of Galatians, I was reminded of my own sin. But I was also reminded of God’s grace. Martin Luther was the one who said it, in another place. He said, we are great sinners and we have a great savior. So when you go through periods of losing your passion, a dry period in your life, a dark night of the soul, let it teach you. Let it become your teacher, your tutor, as it were to remind you of your humanness and your neediness and your sin. A real Christian would never lose his or her passion, right? Wrong. A real Christian would be on fire for God all the time, right? Wrong. A real Christian wouldn’t think for thoughts that you’re thinking, right? Wrong. A real Christian would never go through dark nights of the soul, because I’m walking in the garden with Jesus, right? Wrong. And so, and so what, boy, this isn’t up, don’t use this for your morning devotions, but, but it’s good. When we go through these periods that are so very hard and so very difficult, and God seems so far away and we’re so tired of being good that we’re not going to be anymore. So tired of religion, that we don’t want to go to church anymore. So tired of prayer, that we don’t want to pray anymore. When that happens, let that tutor remind you that the heart is deceitful above all things. It’s desperately corrupt, who can understand it. Let it be your tutor. And let it say to you, if anybody says he or she is without sin, he or she is a liar. And the truth is not in him or in her. The next time you go through it. And you’re at the end of your rope, remember all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And you say, well, that’s a downer. I don’t want to do that. Well, you can’t help it. If you’re going through period like that, it happens. It’s your tutor. And the tutor is a pretty strict one. I mean, she stands over you with the rod that makes sure that you get the lesson, but there’s more to it than that. I mean, if it were just that, men must work and women must weep and the sooner it’s over the sooner to sleep, that’s not, this is not a meaningless kind of thing. Do you know what happens once you see who you really are, then you learn to worship as you were created to worship and do you know why? Because you have an unbelievable reason to worship. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Struggling with the Acedia, is no fun. And it is a big deal. But as we learned today, it does remind us of God’s grace and how desperately we need it. Steve will continue with the series next week. But tomorrow as we do each week, we’ll switch gears for something we call Friday Q & A. That’s when our friend Pete Alwinson stops by and together, Steve and Pete will tackle the challenging questions you’ve sent in. On deck for tomorrow, gambling. I bet that’s going to be a good one. Well, here’s a statement that I probably don’t have to convince you of. We all fall short of God’s standards. We even fall short of our own expectations. We’re called a radical obedience, but why is it that we struggle much? You know, why do we feel guilty? Well, the fact is we are weak and needy people. And so when we run to Jesus, we do find the power. We lack Steve spoke about this in a message called When Being Bad Isn’t Bad Enough. We’d like to send you that full talk on a CD for free. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE right now. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also drop an email to St[email protected] and ask for the CD. By mail send your request to
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