Confessions are great as long as they’re not mine! The world enjoys a good confession. From Bill Clinton, to Lance Armstrong it seems that we are often fascinated when someone admits their faults and their wrongdoing and even more so when the confessor has previously denied all charges.
Why is it that these two men struggled to admit their fault? Why did they have a change of heart? One answer may be to do with pain and progress. Denying sin is one way to avoid immediate pain and admitting sin is one way to progress through it.
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“It is easy to look down on others; to look down on ourselves is the difficulty”.
So says the eighteenth century rebel Walter Savage. How often do you look down on yourself and examine your heart? For the Christian I think the answer should be no more than 24 hours ago.
Another matter at the heart of the Gospel is self examination. This is the fourth Gospel principle that I’ve tried to build into my life which has proven to be both helpful and challenging.
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“Sir, what is the secret of your success?” a reporter asked a bank president.
“And, sir, what are they?”
“And how do you make the right decisions?”
“And, sir, what is it?”
“And how do you get experience?”
“And, sir, what are they?”
Decision making is one of the unavoidable realities of life. Apparently the average human being makes 612 decisions per day (according to ask.com!). Yet as is implied in the joke, we sometimes make wrong decisions before we get to the right decisions. Decision making is the third gospel principle that I have tried to build into my life and which remains a challenge today.
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It sometimes comes as a surprise to hear that Christians struggle with faith and belief. After all,they hold in their hands the very Word of God which contains all the information, evidence and testimony of who God is and what He has done in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Yet it seems many prominent Christians have faced the struggle of faith and belief. It was said of C.S. Lewis that one of the things that surprised him in his Christian life was his lack of faith. Despite all the wisdom and insight and his ability to present the Christian faith in a logical and rational manner (doesn’t the Lewis trilemma stump just about everyone?) he struggled with faith and belief.
However, for the Christian it is the critical means to progress with God.
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I wonder if you have the gospel figured out? Do you know the content? Is it clear in your mind what the gospel is? One of the personal challenges I have faced as a Christian is making the move from knowing the gospel to living it out. I believe the Gospel provides a way of life for the Christian but sometimes it can feel that the gospel is nothing more than a set of facts to be ticked off.
It’s interesting that the rise of the evangelical gospel is tied to a period in history (which we now call the Enlightenment) where mankind made great progress in the scientific world. With that came the rise of rationalism where it was often thought (like in the world of science) that if you simply present the facts then people will realise the logic and consequently their need of Jesus Christ.
Continue reading “Living Out The Gospel – Powerlessness”