Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 6:45 pm
The Messenger, October 20, 2011
By CAMILLE KENDALL
Special to The Messenger
We all wrestle particular sins. The big boogies lurking in the shadows of my daily life are fear and discontent. Fear of the unknown, fear of how others perceive me, fear of my own inadequacy. Discontentment, expressed in an almost constant struggle to rest in God’s provision, plan and purposes for my life.
What boogies harass you? Addiction? Pride? Unbelief? What sabotages your confidence, your security, your walk in faith and holiness?
The root of our struggle is a failure to believe the truth: Is God really who He says He is in Scripture? Is He really in control and accomplishing His purposes for me, even in my present difficult circumstances? Is God enough: When I stand before my Creator in Glory and see Him face to face, will my soul be truly and eternally satisfied? Can I experience something of that rest and satisfaction now?
In Romans 8, Paul addresses these questions, but he doesn’t sugar coat the Christian experience or deny the reality of our struggles. We sin, and, confronted with our guilt, begin to doubt our security. Have we pushed God too far? Paul reminds us that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (verse 1).
We struggle against sin, but find ourselves right back in the same miry pit we thought had overcome. It would be easy to succumb to gloom and despair, but Paul challenges us instead to set our minds “on the things of the Spirit” (v. 1-9), not of the flesh, and to remember that the Spirit of God dwells within us and transforms us.
Christians suffer hardship in this world. Paul encourages us, reminding us that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us” (v.18).
We fear that our prayers are inadequate or ineffective. Paul responds, “… we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself … intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (v. 26, 27).
In his book “Knowing God,” J.I. Packer asserts that all Christians share two common factors: A true follower of Christ will be committed to “all-round righteousness,” and every believer will be exposed to “all-round pressures.” If our heart’s desire is to know and love God and to walk in the holiness that befits His children, and if we are certain to face opposition to both our faith and our walk (opposition from within, in the form of doubt or despair, and from without, in the form of trials and persecution), what are we to do? How do we fight the boogies in our lives? How do we get to the place of knowing and living the truth that God is enough?
How? We stop. Think. Remember.
“Think of what you know of God through the gospel, says Paul, and apply it. Think against your feelings … unmask the unbelief they have nourished; take yourself in hand, talk to yourself, make yourself look up from your problems to the God of the gospel,” writes Packer. “Let evangelical thinking correct emotional thinking.”
Like Paul in Romans 8; like Jesus when he was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4); like Joshua as he renewed his commitment to God, challenging Israel at Shechem (Joshua 24:15); like David, his back against the wall as his enemies closed in on him (Psalm 56); like all of these, we must stop, think and affirm the truth about God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture.
God, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, has secured the salvation of His children and has brought us into loving relationship with Himself. Nothing can undo that — not our sin, not the frailty of our faith, not our fears, not the oppression of a fallen and unbelieving world, not Satan, not even death. Nothing. We are secure.
God has freely given us that which is most precious to Himself — His Son. Having already received this greatest gift, we can be confident that God will also supply every other thing necessary for our growth in faith and holiness (Romans 8:32). We lack no good thing.
God — the sovereign, holy Creator of the universe — has given us Himself. Yes, that is enough. God fully satisfies. Don’t believe the lie that you can be content with anything less.
“Thou lovely source of true delight
whom I unseen adore
unveil Thy beauties to my sight
that I might love Thee more.”
(Anne Steele, hymnwriter)
Editor’s note: Camille Kendall, wife, homeschool mom and redeemed sinner, is a member of Grace Presbyterian Church (www.graceunioncity.com).