Faithful in the Present

Our theology may be true or it may be false, but one thing is certain—we all have a theology that we confess even if we deny the existence of God. Whether we live our lives consistently with our truth claims is another matter.

But I’m not thinking so much of apologetics today as I am of the inconsistencies in my own life. Why do I say one thing and then respond like a practical atheist when life throws me a curve ball?

We just finished studying the book of Job at our house, and I came away with lots of things to chew on. Job’s friends were wrong in insisting that his trial was a direct result of some sin, that he was simply reaping what he sowed. But Job did sin during the course of the trial by placing God in the dock and demanding that He explain Himself—and we all know how that turned out.

We live with the reality of remaining sin and life in a fallen world. That means the enemy is both internal and external. We are spring-loaded to fear, to respond in anger, to panic, to think more highly of ourselves than our neighbor, to look when we should turn away, to speak when we should listen, to cling when we should let go. Our heart is a battleground 24/7.

Yet, as Christians we stand in the shadow of the cross. By God’s grace, we have experienced the tender mercies found in Christ. And through the Spirit we are empowered with a knowledge and love of God, being renewed in the image of Christ.

So how do we live faithfully in the present? Personally, I want to be shaped by the gospel. I recently read that the average church member heard about eight sermons a week during the time of the Reformation. Imagine that in our age where many churches have dropped their Sunday evening service owing to low attendance.  How are you doing on 25 minutes of preaching a week?

I believe one piece of important armor that we neglect at our own peril is the gospel. We need to meditate on and preach to ourselves the gospel of grace. And we need to do this daily.  In the words of John Owen, “Let a soul exercise itself to a communion with Christ in the good things of the gospel—pardon of sin, fruits of holiness, hope of glory, peace with God, joy in the Holy Spirit, dominion over sin—and he shall have a mighty preservative against all temptations.”

David Mathis discussed this subject—preaching the gospel to oneself—with Paul Tripp in the video below. I found it helpful in pressing this truth into my own heart.

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