We have previously talked in Care Group about the challenges of preaching the gospel to ourselves each day and of applying to gospel to every decision we make. We also talked about masks we wear that interfere with our ability to develop true fellowship. This week, Dave challenged us to recognize where we try to find justification other than through Christ.
For some reason, we often try to justify ourselves rather than rest in the Lord. What does it really mean to “rest in the Lord,” anyway? The concept is to trust God so much that we don’t need to turn to anything or anyone else for justification or for a sense of peace. We need to understand that whether times are good or hard, God is still sovereign. We simply cannot earn anything ourselves.
As we read the familiar story about the birth of Christ in Luke, we were reminded that God chose lowly shepherds as the first recipients of the good news. Likewise, there is nothing about us that makes us special. It is only the unmerited favor – the grace – of God that entitles us to be part of God’s kingdom. With this understanding, we should be able to maintain a spirit of humility.
But that’s too often not the case. Our arrogance is even on display when we seek to “partner with God” as though we were doing the Lord a favor of as if he needed us in order to carry out his will. We understand, but don’t seem to really believe, that God doesn’t need us. He brings us in to his work so that we can grow, learn, and grow in our relationship with him. We tend to act like we think that if not for us, God wouldn’t know what he was doing.
We also tend to think we are a key part of a “grand scheme;” however, many opportunities to live out the gospel are right in front of us. But we lose focus because we want some greater role or because we feel compelled to do something to justify ourselves. Rather than focus on God’s kingdom, we strive for our own reward.
But the point is we cannot do anything to justify ourselves. We simply need to seek God in all things and turn away from that wrong-headed drive to justify ourselves.
Our care group time this week was a great discussion, full of rich concepts. I am afraid I have been unable to really capture it very well this time around, but I pray God will use my clumsy words to speak.