Thursday, March 7, 2013

Life, Rest, and The Gospel

Greetings Family and Friends,

       I have been thinking quit a bit lately about life, rest, and the gospel.  My thoughts stem from a recent surge in the culture of religiosity that there are more than one gospel.  As a christian, I believe in only one gospel and one God.  I am not a defender of religion or a sect of religious people or groups.  I study the Bible because I believe in its words contain the answer to life and rest.  I do not defend the Bible because the Bible does not need to be defended.  I do not defend it because it defends itself.  Spurgeon states, "The Bible is like a lion, you don't defend a lion, you let it loose and it defends itself."  Today's writing is not about defending anything, it is about describing to you the freedom I found in my wretched life, at the end of my control, to rely on another for the answer to life, rest, and the gospel.


        Externally, I never imagined that relying on another would play a big role in my life.  I do not like the fact that I have to loose control of anything.  Loosing control is like biting into soggy bread after it has settled, it literally makes my skin crawl.  In trying to identify what life is about, I found that I was a huge failure at living life.  A few examples derive from what my control looks like, such as:  The day I removed the brakes from my bike, that ended with my skin removed from most of my right leg, arm, and face, a definite situation I tried to control.  Also, the day I decided I was going to be a legalist again, that lasted about 30 minutes, in which time I berated a christian bookstore owner for being the reason I hated other Christians, I think I heard God laugh at me that day.  Then there was the day I lost control, I could not escape my depravity.  Throughout life I hid, ran, and spoke against my depravity; however, realizing I could not escape it left me helpless.  I realized that there was no christian who could save me, no buddhist who could help me find my way, no muslim could make me find peace.  I was in dire straits, dead spiritually.  All the times I tried to give way to a program or self cleansing action, none could I correct in my control.  Life truly met me in my helpless uncontrollable state, I was unable to save myself.  Like Paul said in Romans 7...wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death?... thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord... I gave up control to gain life which led to the greatest discovery I have made...


        Internally, I did not understand the concept of rest until it was applied spiritually.  Physically, I can rest with the best.  I consider myself well educated in the art of lazy.  Physical rest is not as important as spiritual rest.  Spiritually, I was screaming on the inside for help because all spirituality I had experienced until the age of 22 was an external act to be seen, to be loved, and to be accepted.  It is a scary place to live in when you know that you are fake.  Externally, you would have never known that I was fake because I played the game really well.  I had no rest on the inside.  I tried to control rest by telling myself that I was o.k., all the while knowing that I was not.  Resting spiritually is giving up the idea that I have anything to do with saving myself.  That because of the finished work of the cross, I can rest just as Christ has rested from that work.  Once I realized that I was a wretch, dead, and had no control, I rested.  Total and complete dependency of another.  a good example of this is Team Hoyt, the father son duo who participates in iron man triathlon's:   The son has no ability to swim, bike, or run; the son has no ability to put on his clothes, feed himself, or bathe himself; complete nothingness unless his dad swims for him, bikes for him, and runs for him.  The son knows he cannot complete these task, yet in every aspect of the race, he is smiling and taking it all in.  Completely dependent, completely resting in the fathers ability to finish.  Bazinga! As my good Epps would say!  That is it.  Christ said in Matthew 11, come all who are weary and heavy you can find rest for your souls.  Once you realize your depravity, your nothingness, it is easier to rest in God's finished work of the cross in Christ Jesus, and it is through rest that the gospel is made clear...

The Gospel

        My words are finite when it comes to writing about God, there is no way I will ever begin to explain the depths of God, and again I am o.k. with not trying.  God is not in need of my defense, God is the Lion who is good, yet wild.  I have seen lions fight and it is incredibly violent, the rage and energy exhibited in a lion fight.  I equate God to a lion because again, it is my finite words that cannot match His infinitude.  The gospel is God or it can be said that God is the gospel.   The gospel seeks, draws, and chooses its prey.  We used the verse in the Baptist world for years John 3:16 as a choice for the person.  But look at the verses content again, for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have eternal life.  The key is believe, whoever believes.  Believing has a prerequisite of being sought out and drawn in.  Just like the angel appearing and wrestling Jacob, we are set apart and ambushed by God.  The good news is that God before he spoke the world into existence knew that you would believe.  Believing is the prerequisite to life and rest, and it is in life and rest where the Gospel, the good news that is God becomes the very part of your breathe and his life and rest are lived in you through a relationship in Christ Jesus. 

These three I will never try to defend, because they are of God and I am dependent upon him for all three.

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