Social media can be a great way to communicate but be weary of the subtle lie that Facebook tells you. When someone updates their status, you have to options in response. You can either like it or you can comment on it. My heart is grieved that this represents times in my life that I have treated the gospel the same way in that I either had to like what was written in God’s Holy Word or that I had to add my own spin or comment to it.
I recently watched Francis Chan describe the childhood game of follow the leader. How foolish would it be in the game to see the leader jumping up and down and all the other players just standing there with their response being, “well, I am doing it in my heart.” It is no different than the response that many of us have had or currently have about sharing the grace news of the gospel, tithing, the way we treat our spouse, humility, serving others, and showing favoritism.
Today, Matt Chandler spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastor’s Conference. He drew comparisons of the church teaching how Christians should act instead of dealing with the deeper issue of the depraved heart. The teaching that our behavior determines our standing with God results in moralism. Sins like pornography, sex addiction, theft, human trafficking, gossip, slander, pride, adultery, control and manipulation are all just symptoms of the real issue, the heart. Like the prayers of Nehemiah 9, Daniel 9, Psalm 18, Deuteronomy 36, 1 Samuel 2 we ALL are sinful. Each prayer has confession of sin, admission that they rejected of the Word of God, and rebellion are the themes of how people responded to God. Each prayer references God as abounding in love, hearing our cry of repentance, showing mercy, and making provision for us.
In another sermon, Matt Chandler was speaking on the true signs of being renewed and having a regenerated heart. When we become more aware of and deal with our own sin instead of focusing on others sin, we are displaying signs of renewal. It is much easier to harshly criticize or chastise others sin but the pain of the plow as AW Tozer describes it in his sermon on Hosea 10:12 (Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.) is breaking up the fallow hardened ground in our own heart realizing that we live and stand beneath Holy God.
I don’t need to follow the story of Joran Van der Sloot to know about human depravity. I don’t need to see photos of the crime scene from Charles Manson’s victims. I don’t need to watch the news as they parade person after person and story after story of those who have violated the law or deceived others. I can look at my life today to see the woeful sin of a depraved heart.
I have had pride, lust, and envy all exposed in my heart today. This is evidence that I still have idols that are being torn down. Proverbs 19:22 What a man desires is unfailing love. Most would be uncomfortable confronting or admitting these places in their heart but I choose to jump head first into the truth that God loves me because he made me and there is nothing I can do to earn it – Tal Prince.
I don’t have to have an opinion about everything. In the past, I confused Christianity as “what I wanted” with the cross in the background as the endorsement for my selfish ego. The truth is I am hidden in Christ according to Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. God’s word speaks and I just have to do what it says as a Christ follower whether it is to show grace to those who don’t give grace, tithe, share the gospel, or live in humility. What I think and feel doesn’t matter. We exist for His namesake, for His glory, that the world would know him through our lives! Over lunch, Kelly Stephenson said to me “if we cling to the cross, it will be evident where we place our hope because our lives will be grace stained.”