We do not get tempted by that which repulses us. Temptation rarely begins by trying to get us to do something that is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of our values. It starts close to home with the passions and desires that God wired into us and tries to pull them a few degrees off course. That subtle deviation is enough to disrupt the flow of the Spirit in our life, so coming to recognize the pattern of sins most tempting to us is one of the most important steps in our spiritual life.
…When a car or a body begins to wear out, it is not equally vulnerable at every point; there are inevitably a few areas that are most distressed that will be the first to go under pressure. So it is with our souls. My sin pattern is so characteristic that it can be used to identify me. It is my sin profile, and anyone who knows me well will recognize my sin profile in a moment. In fact, other people often know my sin profile better than I do myself.
Oswald Chambers said that the root of all sin lies in the suspicion that God is not good. We sin when we don’t want to trust God in a particular area of our lives and we want to keep control of it ourselves. I might know in my head that God is good, but in hidden parts of my heart, I am still suspicious. That is the story of the relationship between God and the human race. We always drift toward trusting ourselves more than God.
The revolution of Jesus…is a revolution of character, which proceeds by changing people from the inside through ongoing personal relationship to God in Christ and to one another. It is one that changes their ideas, beliefs, feelings, and habits of choice, as well as their bodily tendencies and social relations. It penetrates to the deepest layers of their soul.
…Jesus did not send his students out to start governments or even churches as we know them today, which always strongly convey some elements of a human system. They were, instead, to establish beachheads of his person, word, and power in the midst of a failing and futile humanity. They were to bring the presence of the kingdom and its King into every corner of human life simply by fully living in the kingdom with him.
Spiritual formation, good or bad, is always profoundly social. You cannot keep it to yourself. Anyone who thinks of it as a merely private matter has misunderstood it. Anyone who says, “It’s just between me and God,” or “What I do is my own business,” has misunderstood God as well as “me.” Strictly speaking there is nothing “just between me and God.” For all that is between me and God affects who I am; and that, in turn, modifies my relationship to everyone around me. My relationship to others also modifies me and deeply affects my relationship to God. Hence those relationships must be transformed if I am to be transformed.
This Week’s Special
Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.