Saturday, October 2, 2010
I am reading through a book with a few friends written by Paul David Tripp called "Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands." Actually, I've read it before, but I needed another round and I'm bringing friends with me. The book is a great tool to remove the fear of coming alongside others and helping them in their time of need. Too often believers shy away from a counseling role in others' lives because they feel unqualified. This book explains how the call to come alongside is one for the body of Christ, not just trained professionals.
In chapter two, Tripp battles against the concept that the Word is a book of to-do lists that fix everything. When we study the Word in this way, we are trying to use the Word to serve the one we really love above all: ourselves. Rather, the Word as a whole points to a God-centered world, where our lives have been designed to bring Him glory, because it's His story. So instead of studying scripture to relieve the stress of my sin-encrusted world, I should seek the scriptures to find my identity in God's story. God is not sanctifying me so that I can have a better life and be in the center of the stage, but He is forming me into His image to bring glory to Himself.
Granted, God's principles work and do make life better. But having an earthly perspective is not the grand scale that God works on. He has an eternal perspective and gives us glimpses of glory when we set our eyes on Him and our future with Him in eternity. As Tripp says, "We were made for His glory, and we are called to display His glory in everything that we do."
He goes on to explain that sin has "made us glory robbers." The truth of this statement made me pause. Am I really a theif? Am I stealing from God? I know that sin steals from God, but me? Really?
Of course, you know the answer. Sin is bad, but I can't blame "sin" for my choices and my actions, as if it were an outside force. I am not simply affected by sin. I am a sinner. It's who I am.
And because I'm a sinner, I'm a glory thief. I want to be the center of my world. That's why when someone hurts me, I become indignant and angry. When things don't go my way, I battle until something changes. When people need help, I step in, valiantly, waiting for the pats on the back and the cheering crowds to recognize how great I am. I've stolen the glory from God and applied it pathetically on myself.
Then Tripp wrote something that provided hope and relief. He said, "The Redeemer has come so that glory thieves would joyfully live for the glory of Another. There is no deeper personal joy and satisfaction than to live committed to His glory. It is what we truly need."
Amen, and amen! Without the Redeemer, I would continue to battle for that center stage glory, and never be satisfied with my accomplishments, because sin is never satisfied. But since the Redeemer has come, He has given me power over sin, to be able to see life with an eternal perspective and give me something worth living for - God's glory! Something truly satisfying - something I was created to do.
So, I have written on a 3x5 card and taped to my computer a statement: Don't be a glory thief. It is a good motivation checker. Is it my story or is it His? An honest answer to that question will be the start of a whole new life.