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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Challenged much

So here's a confession...the past few days I've been struggling somewhat with, well, impatience, I guess. In regards to my future, in regards to things I want, things I'd like to do...Whilst I've been crying out to God for answers and comfort, a part of me has also been not really ready to listen. Maybe coz I didn't think I'd like the answer or because the horrible sinful part of me still wants to do things my way...and even thinks that's better sometimes. Rubbish.

And so, in God's wonderful timing, Issy said something that REALLY made me sit up and take notice (and we weren't even talking about me!); and then I read chapters 13 and 14 of Future Grace the past two days. "Faith in future grace vs impatience" and "What guards the glory of God's soveriegn Grace".


Talking to Issy about her break-up with Calvin she said something along the lines of "I know God's led me to this point because I'm just getting so much closer to Him now and want to get closer to Him...And I know that if God's led us here then it's all fine because it's God, so, y'know, it's OK."

Because it's God, it's OK. Yeah.

So I hung up the phone a little dazed! Praising God for what He's doing in Issy, once more loving the fact that she challenges me so much and going Ok, God, it's ok. Help me trust that more.

So then I toddled off to read chapter 13. The first line?

"Impatience is a form of unbelief."

That kinda hit me smack between the eyes! Silly thing is, until I read it, I don't think I'd even realised that I was being impatient. But I realised it then! A form of unbelief? Piper goes on, "It's what we begin to feel when we start to doubt the wisdom of God's timing or the goodness of God's guidance."

He's right y'know (funny that). But it was the wake up call I needed from our gracious God who despite my stamping-feet-I-want-this-now-(please) type strop, has pointed out to me the error of my ways and called me back into His arms, where all is safe, where I don't need to worry about the future because God is in control. Where I don't need to drive myself round the bend overthinking matters; where I can be still and know that He will work all things together for my good and His glory. Now THAT is amazing. I mean, I get the 'His glory' part...but 'my good' as well?! Love.

More classic quotes from that chapter are:

"Specifically the glorious might of God that we need to see and trust is the power of God to turn all our detours and obstacles into glorious outcomes...In other words, the strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours. This requires great faith in future grace because the evidence is seldom evident." (pages 173-174)

"The fundamental thought is the universal government of God. All that comes to you is under His controlling hand. The secondary thought is the favour of God to those that love Him. If He governs all, then nothing but good can befall those to whom He would do good...Though we are too weak to help ourselves and too blind to ask for what we need, and can only groan in unformed longings, He is the author in us of these very longings...and He will so govern all things that we shall reap only good from all that befalls us." (Quoting Benjamin Warfield, page 176).

"The power of patience flows through faith in the future, sovereign grace of God." (page 179)

"Faith in future grace is faith in grace that is sovereign, and sovereignty that is gracious." (page 180)

So I mulled that over. And finally began to give God my anxieties, my thoughts, my impatience...and started to ask that He would turn it into patience, that glorifies Him.

I happened across "You led me to the cross" when I was playing the piano. Oh, that God would keep me near the cross. When I'm near the cross, I have no chance of getting impatient, or of wanting to do anything else that dishonours my Saviour.

And then I read chapter 14 - What guards the glory of God's sovereign grace. And here, I'm reminded that I shouldn't be trusting God just because it stops me going crazy or because then I feel safe, but also because I just should. Because He gets the glory then. And I want Him to have all glory.

Again, first line: "All future obedience to God will be by the power of future grace." A-ha. NONE of this is down to me. So I'd better not try to get all wonderful and patient on my own. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, God's spirit, not mine. And it is by God's grace we are equipped with this fruit.

" fits with grace and channels it to obedience so that we boast not in our resources but in God's grace." (page 186)

"As we ponder how to live the Christian life, the uppermost thought should be: How can I magnify rather than nullify the grace of God?...Faith calls all attention to grace and magnifies it, rather than nullifying it." (page 187)

"As Paul contemplates the next moment or the next month or the next year of his life, what he sees is the living Christ ready and able to work in him what is pleasing in God's sight and to work all things together for his good. So Paul trusts him. And in this way future grace works its good work in Paul's life and ministry." (page 188)

"If you and I are to live by faith in the hourly fellowship and perfomance of Jesus on our behalf, we need to set our minds steadfastly - starting now - to consciously think of him and look to him and trust his promise: 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you...I am with you always, even to the end of the age...I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand...[I will work in you] that which is pleasing in [God's] sight' (Hebrews 13:5; matthew 28:20; Isaiah 41:10, Hebrews 13:21)." (page 188)

"Therefore the faith which magnifies grace, instad of nullifying it, is future-oriented confidence in the wisdom and power and trustworthiness of God to do what he has promised. And this faith in future grace is the faith through which we are justified. It stands on the great achievements of past grace in the cross and resurrection but it does not remain in a past-oriented posture. It looks forward to all the inexhaustible future grace that those past achievements obtained and guaranteed." (page 191).

Encouraged? Yeah! Challenged? Much.


Blogger Cat said...

Awesome!!! I have got to read that book.

5:05 AM  
Blogger Welshie said...

tis a bit good...

9:26 AM  

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