Real heart change for this Real Ray Wednesday {part 2}

Dear internet,

As you read last week - I studied a couple of amazing books over the summer.  However, I left you with a bit of a cliff hanger considering I only told you about one of them.  Don't worry, it's just my way to ensure you'll come back exactly a week later. :)

During Launch this summer we went through, Future Grace by John Piper.

I wouldn't dare show you the thickness of this book with the fear that you'd never consider digging in.  It is a rather thick book, but worth the read.  He designed the book to be 31 chapters with the thought that someone could read a (short) chapter a day and be done with the book in a month. 

The Lord has used this book in tremendous ways this summer.  I will do a horrible job... but yet-my best to summarize the highlights of this book and how it has impacted me this summer.  

Too often we {christians} fall into a certain mindset described in the book as 'the debtor's ethic', where we see how good God has been to us and all that He did on the cross for us and we spend our entire lives attempting to make it up to God.  'Make it up' - all of the blessings, sacrifices, provisions, fulfilled promises that He has given us from this moment in time and prior.  We do good things, we serve in every avenue possible, we work very hard {with our own effort} to do good in His name in order to make up for all of the goodness He has provided for us.

OK... before you go gettin' your panties in a knot.  Let me confirm - it IS a good thing to dwell on the work of the Lord in our lives from this moment prior, especially the work done on our behalf on the cross.  However - we should not fall into the mindset that we can, should, will one day be able to pay off some sort of debt to God for all that He has done for us.  

We SHOULD look back at all that the Lord has done for us and let that motivate us to continue counting on (for the future) the grace that is so evident in all of His past blessings.  The key is how that past work motivates us.  We can't ever pay back what He has done for us.  Guess what... He doesn't call us to pay Him back.  He tells us to go and make disciples and to make much of Him.  Dwelling on the past grace He has shown us - should encourage and ensure our confidence that He will continue to lavish His grace on us in the future.  

Do we live as though we realize the promise of Romans 8:28? 

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes." NASB

Piper has a chapter+ devoted to discussing this promise.  This has been really challenging to me this summer.  This verse sounds great.  Do we live as though it is true?  I mean REALLY true?  

I would suggest that we  I have been so quick to read 'God causes all things to work together for good' according to my standards/expectations/definitions of what 'good' is.  Could it be that what God sees as good is the actual standard/expectation/definition of good and mine is just a finite, self centered, temporary, lacking view of what good is in the moment. I think so.  I'm so thankful that God does not define good the same way I do.  {that is a really hard statement to say and mean 100% of the time because I often times convince myself that my definition is the 'right' one}.  

No mater what my current situation, circumstance, struggle, blessing or success is - is exactly the best place for my to be.  Can we pause here?  Do we get what this means?  I'm still figuring out how to live each moment of my days fully aware of this fact.  What an amazing promise.  

I could literally write about that alone all night long.  However the book did have 30 other chapters. :)

Something unique about the way Piper structured this book is that he typically had sections of 3 chapters that relate to one another.  He ends each section by identifying evidences of unbelief in our lives and provide practical ways to battle them. (i.e.: anxiety, impatience, pride, bitterness, despondency, lust, covetousness, and misplaced shame)  He digs into each of these areas of unbelief - when we are anxious, or impatient, or prideful, or have bitterness in our heart - that is evidence that we are not trusting in God for something. 

This book really challenged my trust in God's promises.  I know His promises and I've seen Him fulfill his promises in my life and in the lives of those around me.  However, the Lord used this summer's study at Launch to peel apart my heart.  I discovered that I am waiting to be an exception to His promises.  

I know and believe He is good on His promises {for everyone else}.  I've even seen His goodness in my life through His promises.  Yet I have struggled with fitting God into my finite-ness.  "There is always an exception." has crept into the way I was viewing God.  Wow.  I didn't even realize it... 

I'm so thankful for the way the Lord challenged {and continues to challenge} my heart through this summer's study.  He has yet again proven good on His promise in my heart.  He is molding me and shaping me and my warped view.  I'm so thankful that He is bigger than my finite mind.  

As I said at the beginning- I knew this 'summary' wouldn't do the book justice... but I encourage any and all of you to pick up a copy and dig in. 

I must warn you though:  prepare. to. be. challenged. to. your. core. 

So thankful for how the Lord reveals more of Himself through discussions with my community as well as personal time with Him.  

What is the Lord doing in your heart during this season?

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