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Behind Every Door

11 Dec

I had grown up with a heavy emphasis on finding God’s will. I was taught that God has a perfect will and a permissive will… Needless to say, this view of God’s will paralyzes those who adhere to it…

In discovering God’s will is Christ in me and Christ through me, I could see that God was behind every door, even the door of sin. I’m not saying sinning is OK or that God wants us to sin. Of course not! What I mean is that whether or not I choose a particular door in life, God will always be there. He will always be there because he’s in me. He’s not just with me, but He’s in me. So wherever I go, there He is!

Andrew Farley

The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, 2009 , 210-1

All Eyes on Him!

10 Jul

Picture my son Gavin’s first birthday party. Friends and family gather in our backyard, and on the patio table sit dozens of birthday gifts and a big chocolate cake.

To kick off the even with a bang, I feel I should start with a speech. I hold Gavin high atop my shoulders and begin to share what a joy he is to me and his mother. I tell cute and funny stories about things he has done, how he is growing so fast, and all the things we have to look forward to with him.

While I am sharing about Gavin, a friend at the back of the crowd shouts, ‘I’ve got a drinking problem.’ On the heels of that comment, someone else mutters, ‘I’ve got a critical spirit.’ Yet another confesses, ‘I struggle with lust.’

Soon chatter gives way to more chatter, and the whole focus of the event shifts. No longer is anyone concerned with Gavin and what I have to say about him. Instead, everyone seems to be consumed with their own issues.

How ridiculous! How inappropriate! Of course, this event never really occurred. But I tell the tale to illustrate a point. God has lifted his Son high, seating him at his right hand. God has declared that his Son’s works are awesome and that we should marvel at them. The central purpose of our lives is to focus on the Son. In so doing, we please the Father…

If the ridiculous circumstances at Gavin’s party were actually to occur, my only response to those who interrupted would be, “Join the club! We all struggle. But we’re not here to focus on your issues. We’re here to focus on my son.” Similarly, we’re invited to fix our eyes on Jesus, since He’s worthy of our celebration.

Are you consumed with your sins when God says he remembers them no more? Are you willing to agree that the focus is no longer on your failures? Will you please the Father through obsession with the Son?

The Son of God has finished his work. He is risen and is now seated in heavenly places. There’s only one appropriate response. All eyes on Him!

Andrew Farley

The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, 2009, 138-9

We Have it Good!

10 Apr

Not in a million years would I want David’s relationship with God over my own. Not Esther’s. Nor Daniel’s. Nor any Old Testament figure’s. I much prefer what I have right now… It’s time for the church to wake up and realize how good we have it today on this side of the cross.

Andrew Farley

The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, 2009, 37

Our Christian Roots

21 Nov

In the United States, some Christians fight for the Ten Commandments to be posted on our public buildings. We say that we don’t want our society to lose its Christian roots. But Christianity was never rooted in the law, not even in the Ten Commandments.

Andrew Farley

The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009, 53

The Shining, Uncluttered Gospel

22 Dec

It’s amazing how simple and straightforward the naked gospel really is. In fact, most of my exposure to the New has involved more unlearning than learning. Once we remove the clutter from our theological closet, the gospel shines brightly again.

Andrew Farley

The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, 2009, 216

His Desires, Our Desires

17 Oct

Sure we may know that God is good. But ‘God is always good to me’ is an altogether different thought. Our fear of depending fully on Christ may also stem from not realizing that he thoroughly enjoys us. He has no desire to erase our uniqueness and turn us into clones… I often hear it quite loudly proclaimed that we need God to take us out of our comfort zones. Certainly, the Christian life is no promise of smooth sailing and easy circumstances. But it’s important to know that we’ve been rebuilt to display God. “Christ through us” lies within our comfort zones. We’re made for expression of him, and anything else is unnatural and uncomfortable for us…

God won’t make us do things we don’t want to do… We’ll genuinely want what God wants. If it’s not placed on our hearts, it’s not of him… He’s placed Christ’s desires within us, and we’re only satisfied as we fulfill them… Although some may end up changing their vocation or the place they live, most of God’s children are intended for a setting they already know.

Andrew Farley

The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, 2009, 195-6

Wheels of Human Effort

7 Sep

The obstacle to experiencing victory over temptation is the way in which we’ve gone about the battle. When we arm ourselves with the law, we set ourselves up for failure every time. We may call it self-discipline or accountability – or plug in some other inventive term. But when it’s anything but dependency on Christ within us, it’ll inevitably put the wheels of human effort in motion.

Andrew Farley

The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, 2009, 56

There is No System

26 Aug

We have either been forgiven (past tense) or we still need to be forgiven. They can’t both be true… There’s no system for getting more forgiveness. There’s no system for getting more cleansing. There’s no system for ‘staying right’ with God. There’s no system for ‘staying in fellowship’ with God. There is no system.

Andrew Farley

God Without Religion, Baker Books, 2011, 197

Proving Our Identity

12 Aug

I never really want to sin… Sinning goes against everything in our being… Now, I know what you’ve heard: sin is the stuff we want to do but aren’t supposed to do. What I’m saying is, that’s wrong. Sin is totally incompatible with who we are, and it’s the last thing we want to do… For the rest of our lives, we’ll continue to prove our new birth, one way or another. We’ll prove it by expressing Christ and being fulfilled, or by sinning and being miserable. Either way, we prove our true identity.

Andrew Farley

God Without Religion, Baker Books, 2011, 165-6

Nature, Not Nurture

29 Jul

Nature and nurture are two very different concepts… Within many churches today, it appears we are emphasizing nurture as the means to spiritual growth. We’re told we should focus on nurture through small groups, personal Bible study, accountability groups, and special events that spur us on to new commitments. Of course some of these things can be helpful. But do you see what I see? The Bible talks about considering ourselves dead to sin and realizing that God has raised us up and seated us with him (Romans 6:11, Ephesians 2:6). In light of these truths about nature, we’re told to not let sin reign and to set our minds on things above (Romans 6:12; Colossians 3:2). This is not nurture talk; this is nature talk!

Andrew Farley

The Naked Gospel, Zondervan, 2009, 186

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