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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Greater Enjoyment in God

“Delight yourself in the Lord . . .” Psalm 37:4

I have been in several accountability groups and programs in the past, and many of them involved a series of questions which were asked that we were responsible to share with one another. Some of the questions were like, “Did you tithe?” or “Have you had a consistent quiet time?” or “Have you share the gospel with anyone this week?” These questions are good questions to ask, but I feel like so much of what is being asked is dealing with my “performance” as a Christian. Consequently, my accountability was based on making sure I did the right things. In addition to this, I was encouraged to be more performance-driven, knowing that within a matter of days I did not want to be ashamed that I could not honestly answer the questions like I knew I should. Before long, I realized that I was relating to God on the basis of my works and not the finished work of Christ. My vision had inadvertently been taken away from the cross, from considering Christ and the sufficiency of his sacrifice to considering myself and the acceptability of my “sacrifices.”

Having reflected on the accountability I have experienced in the past, I am really grateful for the men in my life who have taken responsibility to see me conformed to Christ. However, there is one question I wish was asked during this time—a question I have been thinking about lately. The question is

“Are you experiencing greater enjoyment in God right now than at any other time in your life?”

This question, I believe, strikes at the very core of who we are and why we are created. God has saved us that we might be satisfied in him and not in sin, the world, or in ourselves. Yes, it is true that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. So am I satisfied? Am I enjoying the blessed communion I have with God?

This goes before any other question we ask about what we do and serves as a foundation for the work of sanctification and ministerial service. If I am enjoying God and his sweet disposition of mercy towards me as an adopted son, then such joy will overflow into passionate worship, steadfast service, persevering prayer, and humble adoration to Jesus. Giving, sacrificing, witnessing will not be a chore or something motivated by a desire to make myself look good to my brother, but rather to make God look good to the world around me.

So I thought it was fitting to once again to ask that question to myself (and you as well). On that note, I wanted to inquire about any other questions you might ask yourself regularly, either daily or as a constant reminder or means of personal-examination. So let me ask:

“What questions to you pose to yourself for the purpose of personal accountability or examination?”

I would love to hear such probing questions, as I am sure they would be profitable to keeping a close watch upon my life and my teaching. So for my benefit (and other maybe), share a few questions you ask which stimulate holy affections and careful examination of one's life; on the other hand, feel free to share how accountability and self-watch has helped you in your spiritual growth. Thanks!


Blogger Paul said...

You’re right, in thinking through accountability it’s easy to lean on the shoulders of performance. A question it seems I ask myself moment by moment is, “Do I love God more than life?” Also, a good question to ask each other would be, “In what ways have we not believed the Gospel this week?” When I share my spiritual condition with others, all of it comes back to desiring other things, like my reputation, an easy commute, a better dinner, holding people to standards; instead of desiring God through and above all things. I think a monumental sin, that’s not easily shared among believers, is admitting we don’t fully believe the Gospel.

5/03/2006 09:28:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...

Thank you for the comment! It is my desire to have every area of my life built upon the gospel truths of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but how often do I find myself without evidence of the Risen Savior in my life!

One of the big reasons why I think this is important because we are most apt to fool ourselves. We want to think we are really better than we are. God, time and time again reminds us to "not think more highly of us than we ought" to "take heed of ourselves lest we fall" and that "pride comes before destruction." Paul was the most pitiful person alive had Jesus not risen, but for me and many evangelicals these days, it appears that we are just fine without the gospel.

I want to believe the gospel and so live it such that, if I were cut into a thousand pieces, one would find the gospel in every one of them. I do not think I am there yet, but through the faithful work of the Holy Spirit, the prayers of my family and friends, and the encouragement of folks like you, I believe God will continue to complete what is lacking in me, namely, to make me like Jesus.

5/03/2006 02:05:00 PM

Blogger marc said...

This is a timely word. Thanks for your willingness to share it. Piper is supposedly writing on the obedience of faith and what those works look like. I can't wait to see his take on it. I don't want to "perform" works for the sake of doing them. I want to do them because Christ is changing me.

5/03/2006 11:57:00 PM


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