"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

A Question of Need

Posted in Questions For You, Theological by matt on Thursday, February 28, 2008

 I am convinced that the whole (note the naive, sweeping statements here) Christian faith can be understood in progressive terms. By this I mean we don’t pray a prayer and then *POOF* we’re fully glorified and aren’t lacking anything, but rather, we are constantly in process. Sanctification is the fun word.

 But for this little process to work there is a concept that is absolutely crucial: need. If we don’t really believe we need God’s grace then the Gospel won’t take root in our hearts and our lives won’t be changed. You see this pretty often in the many impotent churches associated with the Evangelical community. We see and hear about what God’s dramatically done for everyone else and feel as though there’s something wrong with us. So we try as hard as we can to really believe that we’re nothing apart from His grace. Some days our motives are pure, but much of the time we’re just going through the motions hoping to conjure a need so grace will seem a little more real in our lives.

 But it doesn’t work, and we end up burnt out and convinced that Jesus doesn’t work.

  So the million dollar question is, “How do we grow the understanding our own need?” I’ve asked this of my small-group, and I’m asking it of anyone who happens to stumble upon this little rant-of-a-post.

 If the entire universe really is created to show us how small we are and how badly we need God then why do so few people I know believe it? If the Law of God was put in place to show us that we aren’t able to keep the rules then why do so few people admit it? And, what’s worse, why do so many people who say they believe it live as though they don’t? Aren’t we depraved? Are we not hopeless without Christ’s faithful obedience? I believe so.

 I suppose this train-of-thought will eventually arrive at irresistible grace and the idea that God must call us before we can really die to self and live to Him, and I’d rather not go there. The question my friend Emily asked last night was, “Well what is it that we need from God? What does He provide us that He doesn’t provide non-Christians?” At first we may think this question is silly, but it was so beautifully honest that I couldn’t help but give it consideration. Unfortunately I found trouble finding an answer. It’s when we take simple thoughts like this one for granted that we become unable to share our faith with others in non-Biblical terms. So we’re unable to explain our own personal need and God’s provision, yet we can talk a lot about T.U.L.I.P. and the different soteriological systems put forth by dead theologians. I stand guilty.

 So how would you answer Emily? What do you need from God? What does He provide His people with that He doesn’t provide for others?

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2 Responses

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  1. chrisandbecky said, on Friday, February 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I may be a few days…or a year late in replying to this…but o well.

    I think that the inclination is to trail off into quoting Ephesians, or John 14:6 or some other verse to point to the necessity of being called…but I think that it is difficult to say god provides something tangible to christians that isnt provided (and often more so) to non-Christians. Where then do do we find this need for God. I think it comes in relationships. that is not to say that it doesnt come elsewhere, but from my extremely limited experience so far in life I think that we all wear-out what relationships can offer. I have yet to do that with my soon-to-be bride, but ultimately one day will come in all relationships where we realize they do not fulifll us. They do not complete us. Yes, this is cliche but who cares, right? God offers a bread that will fill us for eternity.

    I thoroughly enjoy the blog! There is definately a need within us to have somebody voice the tough questions and voice the ‘real’ discussions. There is certainly a void in waco with your absence, bud. Hope the marriage is going well!

  2. matt said, on Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Wow, I had forgotten about this post. Thanks for the thoughts Chris! And I totally agree about the relationships thing. Right relationship with Him and to others is a great gift.

    Love ya man. Hopefully we’ll see each other soon.


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