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Superiority Destroys Your Love for Others

Superiority Destroys Your Love for Others

I’ve made the statement before that comfort is our greatest hurdle when it comes to loving LGBT people well. While I stand by that statement, a very close second place is the belief that God saved us because of something inherently good about us that other people do not have. It’s a form of legalism where we believe we, at least partially, earned God’s grace rather than it truly being a gift.

What this does is shift the credit for salvation at least partially to us. It de-emphasizes God’s mercy, patience, and power, and it de-emphasizes our filthy, dead hearts. Conveniently, it instead emphasizes our inherent goodness (a goodness we believe many others do not share). We believe God couldn’t possibly choose us solely because of His own mercy and wisdom completely despite us. Surely we at least deserved something!

Also, remember that you don’t have to explicitly profess something in order to believe it. This belief shows itself when we shake our heads at the poor person begging for money at the street corner. It shows itself in our impatience with our brother who keeps committing that same sin over and over. It shows itself when we don’t consider the lost to be worth our time because they seem over-the-top sinful and proud of it. We forget that we are exactly the same.

Did God save me because I’m better than other people?

This is one of those areas God takes particular interest in, and He’s very clear about it. Rather than choosing me because I’m better than others, God says explicitly He actually chose me because I’m worse than others (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). He chose me because I’m shameful, weak, and low. Why? So that neither me nor anyone else would ever boast in ourselves but only in Him. To move our eyes off of ourselves and onto God alone.

God says that His choice to save me had nothing to do with my desires or my actions but rather it depended solely on His wisdom (Romans 9:6-18). He says I was dead in sin and that it was solely His rich mercy and great love that made me alive together with Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-7). Why? To show off His grace and kindness toward us in Jesus. He says every single one of us were completely devoid of anything that would deserve being saved (Romans 3:9-20). He explicitly says nobody is saved by obeying the law but is saved solely as a gift apart from any means of earning (Romans 3:21-25). Why? To show off His righteousness (Romans 3:26).

My favorite passage, though, is probably 1 Corinthians 4:1-7. Paul displays for us the fact that we exist as servants, not masters, as stewards, not owners. He shows us humility rather than superiority. And in verse 7, he says

“Who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”

Even just considering the gospel message itself, what part of “I was so far gone that God had to crush His own Son to rescue me,” says I’m better than anyone? The gospel inherently says, “I believe I’m worse than you, not better.”

God has a reason for saving us despite ourselves

Notice the conspicuous theme we keep seeing over and over again. God has an agenda, and that agenda is to show Himself off as deeply and widely as possible. This is why salvation is His action alone completely despite us. It’s to keep us from boasting and to fix our eyes on Him rather than ourselves. It’s to get our eyes where they belong, where we find our greatest pleasure and rest.

Humility leads you to love others more

When you see yourself as having deserved salvation while others do not, it leads to an attitude that considers other people as frustrating obstacles rather than valuable people. But when you see that God saved you completely despite your best attempts, the only question you can ask is, “Why me?!” (Psalm 8:4). In that humility, you realize there is nothing about you that is any better than anyone else. It leads you to want them to have the same grace you have because you realize that you deserve it less than they do. It leads you to see them as people and not frustrations. It leads you to mourn rather than judge when they hurt and when they sin. It makes you empathetic.

When you live and speak a gospel you’ve subtly begun to believe you don’t need, it stops making sense to other people. But when you realize how much you still need Jesus’s continuing rescue and how little you deserve it, God becomes a lot clearer in the words you speak and the life you live.

Posted by Matt Norman with

Scriptures and Meditations to Help You Fight Sin

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It’s so easy to get trapped by desires for sin. They can corner us, pressure us, and basically take over our minds. Your best defense is to proactively pursue joy, pleasure, and above all rest in God’s character and promises. They are incredible beyond our wildest imaginations, and yet when we walk through our days not actively remembering God and taking pleasure in Him, we quickly begin to view God as someone else entirely. This leaves the door wide open for sin to seek our deepest pleasure and draw us away in temptation. As you enter 2017, I hope these scriptures and meditations help spur you to remember that your primary calling is to enjoy the Lord. May these help you fight sin and find rescue when you need it most.

Ephesians 2:1-10
God, I'm going crazy with my mind stuck in these sinful thoughts! But though it feels like it takes incredible effort to rip my heart away from desiring this sin and to rip my mind away from fantasizing constantly about it, the truth is that you created this repentance for me already. God, thank you that all I have to do is receive it from you and walk in it. I can rest my way out of this insanity. You have that rest waiting for my right now.

Psalm 23, Romans 8:28
God, when I think about this sin, I believe in my heart that it is incredibly good for me, and I long for it deeply. I feel as though you are keeping from something good when you command me not to desire this sin. But I know the truth, God. You give me only good things, and you never keep me from something that is truly good for me. You are protective and open handed in your love for me. Make your incredible provision for me in Jesus vivid and real to me. Make this Psalm a movie I replay in my mind and in my heart over and over. Lead me to enjoy your loving provision more deeply and trust you when the longing for this sin comes on me again.

Romans 6:1-14
God, it feels as though desire for sin has taken control of me. I feel defeated and helpless. But I know the truth is that Jesus absolutely destroyed sin's power over me, and it can never again command my heart to move this way and that. Only you have that power now. Lead me to rest in your defeat over sin on my behalf. Lead me to say no to sin's control right now and to realize your control. 

Romans 8:1-5,31-39; Hebrews 3:13; 10:19-22
God, I have already sinned grievously, and my heart tells me that I am guilty, filthy, and that you are disgusted with me and want nothing to do with me. My heart also tells me that since I've screwed things up so badly, I might as well just go on sinning. But I know that the truth is that you never saw me as disgusting, even while I was sinning because Jesus has fully atoned for me and made me clean once for all time, and nothing can separate me from his love. The truth is that you look at me as though I'd loved and obeyed you forever as your perfect son. The truth is that you grieve incredibly deeply when I sin, and the more I sin, the more I see you as a different god than you really are. I don't want that distance from you anymore, God. I love who you are, and I don't want to be blinded from you by more sin. Lead me to rest in your incredible, never-changing love for me and to reject the lie that I lose nothing by continuing to sin. Lead me to see your love more clearly, and undo the blindness that came from my sinful desire and actions.

Posted by Matt Norman with

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