Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gospel Change

The reason I went to Shefield last week was to start the Porterbrook Network course - its an awesome course based around church planting and mission (most of the time I'll be doing it over skype and missing out on the fantastic home made cakes :o( ) I absolutely loved it this week - and it's given me a lot to think about. Hopefully I'll be able to process some of what I'm learning on here over the coming months.
One of the strands we're looking at this year is about our own Christian character. We were asked what about ourselves do we want to change - not a new haircut or wardrobe, but one specific way we would like to be more like Jesus. I don't think I ask myself this question enough. I'm very aware of my own sin but I rarely sit down and think, what do I want to change, how will I do that.

We then thought about the wrong reasons we have for wanting to change:
- to impress God - somehow God will like me more if I change this thing, I'll be more acceptable to Him. It is just not true. The only way we are accepted by God is through Jesus. Arrogantly, we want to add something, even something small, to our salvation. We want to be a contributor rather than someone who just receives the free gift of God's grace. How rude are we?!
- to impress ourselves - we all want to think well of ourselves - that we are really a good person, my identity is based far too much on what I do.
- to impress other people - this is the one I struggle with most. I can't think of many good things that I do without having at least a small amount of wanting other people to know, and to think that I'm great. If I'm honest, most of the time its my main motive. It is all about me and what you think of me. I want to change so that others will pat me on the back, or think 'wow isn't Lou godly / a nice person / whatever. It is far to easy to forget that I have a Father in heaven who sees what I do, and why I do it - I always want earthly recognition.

All of these reasons are not the right reason to change - they all make change about me - which is a definition of sin! Gospel repentance is as much turning away from the right things that we do out of wrong motives as it is from turning away from wrong things. Which is so hard!! I'm so much more of a sinner than I ever realise, as I just never do things out of right motives - never!! But God does forgive me. The only way we can purge any sin in our life, the only way we can change is not by guilting ourselves into it, but by recognising that it has already been dealt with on the cross.

The reason I should want to change is none of the above. It is because Jesus has already freed me, I am no longer a slave to sin. I should want to change to enjoy the freedom that comes from not sinning, to enjoying be more of the person I was made to be - to be delighting in God through what Jesus has done for me. Its so hard when everything around you and insdie you is screaming at you that sin is good, it is enjoyable, give into it. But that is a lie. Giving into sin, giving in to wrong motivation is selling myself short, is not being the person I'm created to be and is dampening my true joy. I want to change - I want to be more like Jesus, because God is amazing and I want to delight in Him.

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