In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Terrific Tuesday with Mike from Christian Cognition

Today's Terrific Tuesday guest is Mike who writes at Christian Cognition.

Mike describes himself this way: "A husband of a wife, a father of a son, a child of the Almighty. I honestly know I am the greatest sinner I know. The longer I live, the more I realize how desperately I need a Savior." He also claims: "I'm short...like my hair!" He's a police officer and sometimes relates about his experiences at work and sharing Christ there.

Here's a post from Mike written just for today:

THE FUTILITY OF TRYING TO PLEASE GOD APART FROM CHRIST:

I used to stress over all that I needed to do to please God. I’ve even stressed over all that I needed to not do in order to please God. I long struggled to live a life that would give God pleasure, and it was truly a roller-coaster ride. So when I failed to do what I thought would please Him (Romans 7), I questioned if I was saved at all! What a miserable experience it was for me, for a Christian who was supposedly assured that I could not be removed from God’s hand. I examined my life and found it to be lacking whatever necessary to please God.

I saw my salvation in light of the stringent set of laws given by God. I thought, “If I can’t obey them, then I must not please God. And if I am not pleasing God, then I must not be saved.” How could I possibly meet God’s heavy demands when my life is plagued by sins of commission (things that I did that are forbidden) and sins of omission (things that I did not do that I should have done)?

I would finally realize that I would never please God on my own, or “in the flesh”, as the Bible puts it. Apart from Christ I can do nothing. Sure, I can dress and eat and sleep and work apart from Christ…but it was in this phrase “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” that I found hope as a Christian man struggling to please God. Finally, I have assurance that I DO please God, but only by and through Jesus Christ! John recorded Jesus’ words in John 15 that apart from Him we will bear no fruit of salvation that pleases God.

Watchman Nee puts it this way: “If I try to please God ‘in the flesh’, then immediately I place myself under the Law. I broke the Law; the Law pronounced the death sentence…but it is Christ who works in me what is well-pleasing to God.” (“The Normal Christian Life” pp.164-165). A drowning man will fight for his life and possibly even drown his rescuer. But “a drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself” (ibid, p.168).

What truly brings God pleasure is the glory that Jesus Christ brings Him. I share in glorifying God when it is Jesus Christ doing the glorifying on my behalf.


Have you noticed any efforts in your own life to please God, not because you enjoy living a life that pleases Him, but because you felt the obligation to do so for the sake of your salvation?

14 comments:

GCT said...

"I would finally realize that I would never please God on my own, or “in the flesh”, as the Bible puts it. Apart from Christ I can do nothing."

What is it about your belief in Jesus (I assume that's what you mean by not being apart from Christ) that makes your physical actions more pleasing to god? If an atheist rushes into a burning building to save a child, does god look upon that atheist with disdain? How is that a moral position?

Mike said...

GCT, it's not that doing those good things is a bad thing in God's eyes, or that he's not pleased with your actions, but we cannot please him spiritually on our own as though rushing into a burning building to save 100 children from death will qualify us for eternal life.

GCT said...

The thing is that you're claiming that you can never please god on your own, but that having the correct belief does please god. Isn't this really a statement that god is rather unconcerned with morality? He seems more concerned that you hold the correct belief that you have a divine scapegoat than that you actually try to conduct yourself in a moral fashion.

Michelle said...

Good post.

I really enjoy Nee's book Normal Christian Life.

I think sometimes we can get caught up in works when we think about the tree bearing fruit and the whole process of sanctification. When we realize our dependence on being in Christ, we are truly free.

RCUBEs said...

Great post and thank you for sharing sister Tracy about bro. Mike. Truly grateful here that Christ ended the laws. Blessings.

May said...

Excellent post, I am still learning how to control my actions in a way that they might be pleasing to God.

JD Curtis said...

Isn't this really a statement that god is rather unconcerned with morality?

Why, I'm perplexed GCT. Could you please point out where in scripture it states that you can go out and commit any sin you want, just as long as you have quote, "the correct belief"?

I'm looking for it and I cannot seem to find it in my Ryrie NIV.

Mr. Stupid said...

Lovely post. I felt really happy reading it. I have always wondered as to what is right and what's wrong. I learn from my family and friends.
"Life's a long journey and God is always watching us!"

GCT said...

JD,
Must I explain to you yet again? If your theology insists that god only grants grace due to your beliefs, then you yourself have disconnected how one receives grace from morality. It's quite simple really.

JD Curtis said...

What's "quite simple really" is the fact that I have indicated that "faith without works is dead" a couple of times yet you seem to cling to this extra-Biblical belief that believing the right things gets you into heaven and thus you can go out and commit whatever sin you want in the meantime.

Go into the mega-church of your choice and spout off that silly nonsense. People could always use a good belly laugh.

GCT said...

JD,
It's not my fault if your theology makes no sense. Simply because you contradict yourself doesn't mean that it's my problem. If faith alone gets one into heaven, then faith alone gets one into heaven. If you want to claim that works must be a part of it, then it's not faith alone. But, you can't have it both ways. You can't claim that it's faith alone that gets one into heaven and that one must perform moral works. For example:

Parent: If you believe in Santa Claus, then you'll get a nice present on Xmas morning.
Kid: So, to get a present, I only have to believe in Santa Claus?
Parent: That's right.
Kid goes out and steals another kid's bike.
Parent: You shouldn't have done that, now you'll get no present on Xmas morning.
Kid: But, you said that I only needed to believe in Santa Claus, which I do.
Parent: But faith without works is dead, so you don't get a present.
Kid: So, what you meant to say is that I must believe in Santa Claus and also be good? That's not what you said before.
Parent (JD): Show me where in my parental contract I said that you can do whatever you want and still get a present. I said that you have to believe in Santa Claus. I never said you can do whatever you want.
Kid: Well, when you said that I only needed to believe in Santa Claus, that kind of meant that it was the only thing I needed to do.
Parent (JD): Ur stupid and u don't understand squat.

photogr said...

I would have to think that God or Christ would be pleased that one would be willing sacrifice their life to save others from harm. I would think that the Lord would actually put that person there to make a choice in that position whether a Christ follower or an Athiest. It would mean that they have love for others and not wraped up in a "for me only and love no one mentality".

Surely there is morality involved but most assuredly there is passion not to see others suffer and possibly a hint of spirituality that you have the faith to do such an act or save some one.

JD Curtis said...

If you believe in Santa Claus, then you'll get a nice present on Xmas morning

I chuckled as I read this one. Never before had I heard that Santa Claus "belief" was a prerequisite for receiving a present on Christmas morning. I've heard "Santa Claus is watching you so you better not pout, you better not cry", but never a belief system crammed down anyone's throat.

It's interesting to watch you with mild amusement as you butcher the beliefs of orthodox Christians to suit your own worldview and thus attack a strawman version of them instead. But I admit that it's easier reading these latest canards of yours than such squeemish subject matter as child rape, torture and amputation which is usually your forte as you traipse down the road towards an 'appeal to emotion' fallacy.

GCT said...

JD,
Is there any sort of answer in your reply or are you simply interested in strawmen representations of my argument and personal attacks?

Photogr,
I see your response as better in a sense that it's more satisfactory to think that god would care whether someone rushes into a burning building, whether they are atheist or theist. (Although I have to admit that the idea of putting that person there to test them is rather odd for a couple reasons - namely that god shouldn't have to test anyone as he should already know the answers and what about the victims of this test, i.e. those being burned in the fire? Also, I would point out that it doesn't require "faith" to act in moral ways.) Still, this is not what is implied or meant by faith "alone." Is that a doctrine that you subscribe to?

Let me reword the original question which seems to have been lost in the shuffle (which is exactly what JD tries to do). What is it about having "faith" that is a good thing?

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