I went to the gym tonight for the first time in a week… I rarely go 24 hrs without going to the gym. But a month ago I found out I had mono and so I have been struggling to get my eyes open every morning. I haven’t had the energy to do much else besides breath and move from my bed to the couch.
Now I know what you are thinking: “Isn’t that the kissing disease?” Technically, you can get it from kissing, or you can get from any number of other things. So no, I didn’t get it from kissing anyone. I have kept my lips to myself, thank you very much. Although I will go ahead and admit that I would prefer saying that I did get it from kissing someone because it’s makes for a better story than not. That’s neither here nor there. Moving on.
While walking (at the pace of a sloth) on the treadmill tonight, I was listening to a sermon, as usual, by Matt Chandler who is the pastor of the Village Church in Dallas, TX. The sermon that I landed on this evening was called “A Theology of Struggle,” and if you have read any of my earliest post, you know that is not only something I write on often, but something that I tend to dive into instead of run away from.
Tonight’s sermon hit on the some new thoughts that I had not yet arrived at myself and I felt compelled to write them here for… because… because it’s a blog and that’ what you do.
I won’t attempt to “re-preach” to you–I don’t want to dilute it. So here are my notes… take from it what you will.
1. The wrong way to struggle is to operate in guilt:
- The wrong motivation is to respond to it by “white-knuckling it,” to work harder, strive more, to perfect your imperfections thru your flesh.
- In so doing, you mock the crucifixion of Christ and His free gift of grace thru faith. And going down this road only leads you away from the Lord.
- Result-religious repentance (self righteousness): you will not be any better spiritually than the sinners that you despise OR you will accumulate worldly sorrow
2. The right way to struggle:
- To struggle with temptation, sometimes falling, but moving still in the right direction
- Temptation is not a sin; it is part of life in a fallen world. It is not going anywhere this side of heaven.
- Be encouraged by the Word: 1 Corinthians 10:13- “no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.”
- The beauty of the body of Christ is that we can look to others who have victoriously walked thru the same circumstance and allow their testimony to empower and encourage us to walk thru with confidence.
- To struggle well is long lasting obedience in the midst of the pressure of refinement.
- In this position, we can more clearly see our depravity and His grandeur; His grace to save us, love to cover us.
- The right motivation is not thru trying harder; it is thru allowing someone to show you different. It is allowing yourself to be shown a new way thru slow and steady teaching, instruction and demonstration. It is discipleship.
- The greek word is “gymnatsia” translated SWEAT.
3. End result- TRANSFORMED lives.
- There is no contradiction between “grace thru faith” and “faith without works is dead.” They are compatible. They do reflect one another.
Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to you, although my prayer is that it will apply personally and deeply. If you would like to listen to the sermon, look up “The Village Church” on iTunes.