I’m a sinner, but it really bothers me.
FEBRUARY 20, 2023
I’m a sinner, but it really bothers me. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God because of his radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering, that grace is what Key Life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, we’re, I wrote a book that has recently come out. It’s called Laughter and Lament: The Radical Freedom of Joy and Sorrow. And as we often do when I write a book, I spend some time on the broadcast going through some of the themes of that book. And so, that’s what we’re doing now. We’re spending some time in that book, looking at some of those themes. And by the way, it’s kind of difficult to do this because when you have the whole book in your hand, and I would suggest that you get it, that you, you can get it from us at keylife.org, from Amazon, from any good Christian bookseller anywhere. And I don’t get a thing for it, so I’m not talking about my greed. It all goes to Key Life. So, but get the book and you can hold it in your hand and you can look ahead and you can look back. But when I’m doing this on the broadcast, you don’t have the book and it’s kind of difficult. And we’re in a chapter that is a very difficult chapter of that book. We’re talking about laughter and we’re gonna talk a lot about laughter later on, but we’re also talking about lament and I’m teaching now from a chapter I wrote called Life is Hard and then You Die. And you probably are saying, especially if you were listening last week, good night, I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep for the next month. Well, you’ve got to stay with me cause this is different and I’m going to get to the good part eventually. But we’ve got to walk through the dark. And by the way, that’s the place where Jesus meets his people at the lament. My good friend, late friend Larry Crabb used to say, don’t run from the dark, run to it. That’s where Jesus is. So, my apologies if this is so negative and I know it is. After I finished last week, I thought, this is awful. This is terrible. People will never listen to this broadcast again, but stay with me cause we’re going to get to the good stuff. That’s the nature of a book, in a broadcast, just teaching a text, there’s always bad stuff and there’s always and a lot more good stuff, but the nature of this is a little bit different. So, pray for me. And we’ll stay with it and I promise we’re going to get to the good stuff. Let’s pray and then we’ll turn to the book, mainly The Book cause that’s where I got it, the Bible. Father, we come into your presence, so glad that here in your presence we can complain, we can talk about our pain, we can cry, and we will be accepted and loved, and we can laugh, and we can dance, and we can remember that you are sovereign over everything in our lives. We praise you for that and we worship you. But we worship you simply because you’re worthy too. You are God, the sovereign, Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of everything, and you’re worthy of our worship. Father, as we go through this week of broadcast, as always, we pray for the one who teaches, that you would forgive him his sins cause they are many. We would see Jesus and Him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay. If you’ve been with us, we’ve talked about the danger of denial, how it is an awful place to be. We’ve talked about the laughter and the lament of God himself, of being created in the image of God and how important that is. And now, and that’s what I was talking about before, we’re talking about how life is hard and then you die. And I spent a whole lot of time talking about how dark it really is. We live in a fallen world and the implications of a fallen world are cancer and war and hunger and death and fear and guilt, and it goes on and on and on. And you’ve got to look at that, or your lament will be phony. If you pretend that everything is right, if you say, I’m fine, I’m just fine, you’re going to miss one of the great gifts that God gives his people. Read the book of Lamentations. Read the books, the Psalms of lament, and we did some of that because that is a gut wrenching lament because of the nature of the way the world is fallen. And you’ve look at it cause if you don’t look at it, you miss the gift of lament that God has given us. And so, I spent a long time talking about that sort of thing, and then I said, it’s even worse than that, you are fallen. It’s your sin. I think I told you about a former student who had asked an old retired pastor, when the struggle with sexual lust got better. Son, the pastor said, when you’re dead and you’ve been buried at least three days. When does the struggle with the flesh get better? Listen to me, when you get to heaven and the war is over, when you get to heaven and the war is over and between now and then, as Paul so clearly said in the seventh chapter of Romans. Between now and this, sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose, sometimes you’ll be obedient, sometimes you won’t be obedient, sometimes you’ll do it right, and sometimes you’ll do it wrong. Don’t you hate it? Does that bother you? Well, it bothers me. I honestly thought I’d be a lot better by now, When I was young, I had heroes, and I was sure that if I worked at it and prayed a lot and studied Scripture, I would be just like them. I’ve done all of that. Just so you know, I’m old, and frankly, sometimes I think I’m not a lot better. I’ve also discovered that my heroes were heroes because of biographical mapfeasance, by writers who had lied about the dark side or hid it all together. Recently we interviewed Diana Groover on our talk show about her book, Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints who struggled with Depression and Doubt. Now, that book’s probably not going to sell a lot of copies, but it is a necessary and important. Diana’s, and I think I called her Dana. Diana’s book deals mainly with the depression and doubt of seven well known Christians, Martin Luther, Mother Teresa, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther King Jr. and a bunch of others. The book is profound in its inside about the struggle of flesh against the spirit, that is the reality of all Christians. And that includes you and that includes me. You may not believe this, but you have never met a man who wants to please God more than I do. How could I not? After experiencing God’s incredible love, unconditional forgiveness, and amazing grace. That is a natural feeling, but it’s more than a feeling. There is the troubling fact that even knowing and experiencing all that, I know all the grace and love that you can imagine. After experiencing all of that, I still run from him sometimes. I still betray him sometimes. And often my sin is first degree sin.
And I act and believe in ways that grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30. That is a dark and disturbing place in my life. Someone who said that sin isn’t what you do, it’s how you feel after you’ve done it. There’s some truth to that, and it references the hard and difficult place and leads me to a lament that is so dark that I sometimes think I’m going to die. And the reason I’m so honest about saying that is because people are my business, and I know that you’ve been there and you’ve done that too. When you did, you either ran or wept. If you haven’t cried with Paul
Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death.
with great passion, you probably haven’t faced the demons and you’ve missed the freedom of honest lament. It comes from the battle and the lament is a part of how we define ourselves. I don’t particularly like it, but what I taught you is true. So, you think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown resuming our tour of his latest book, Laughter and Lament. And today we got into the provocatively titled chapter, Life is Hard and Then You Die. Dark? Yes. True? Also, yes. But as we touched on today, there’s also hope. More tomorrow. Join us, won’t you? Well, as you could probably tell, we’re very excited about Steve’s new book. In fact, to celebrate it, we did a very special episode of Steve Brown Etc. last year. It was the first one we’ve ever recorded live in front of a studio audience. Really fun show. But listen, don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself. We put the whole episode on CD and if it’s okay with you, we would love to send it to you, for free. Claim your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. And if you’d like to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Just ask for your free copy of the Laughter and Lament episode of Steve Brown Etc. Finally, a question, have you ever considered partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving is pretty easy. You could charge a gift on your credit card. You can include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely through text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.