Trying Hard and Feeling Guilty

Chip Ingram, in his work, True Spirituality, makes this observation of the early church:

The early church that changed the world was marked by two distinct characteristics:

  1. Radical, self-sacrificing love for one another
  2. Lifestyles of holiness and moral purity winsomely lived out with no air of self-righteousness or legalism

The question is how did they do it?

true-spirituality-bookThe author of this Romans 12 focused book identifies a common misunderstanding, that spiritual growth does not equal trying hard. Rather, growth is achieved by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2).

When our focus is on our behavior and even on our attitude, one of two things seems to always happen; either we manage to pridefully conform to an external rule, or we become frustrated by our failure and live in defeat and despair.

True spiritual growth, he shares, begins with our thinking, “As a man thinks in his heart so he is.”

So rightfully one might ask, “How do I renew my mind?” The answer of course we all know, “Stop the input of toxins and replace them with the truth of God’s Word, the beauty of God’s creation, and the encouragement of God’s people.” Such simplicity, and yet…

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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3 Responses to Trying Hard and Feeling Guilty

  1. Carl says:

    I think the two things that the two marks of the church need to be revised. 1. Miracles, sings, wonders, and that sort of thing. 2. Radical selfless love.
    Many early Christians struggled heavily with sin, some so erroneous that we would be ashamed to go to the same congregation as them, such the man of the church in Corinth who was sleeping with his own mom. Paul’s letters are filled with correction for crazy situations such as this. If we look at Paul’s need to correct and rebuke sin in letters written to whole churches, then we can get a glimpse at what they actually looked like. Certainly they were much more moral in comparison to the world around them, but even the early church had serious sin issues.

    Next, if someone came into town and healed a crippled guy then people wouldn’t be talking about His awesome selfless love. They’d first talk about the miracle, and then on further examination see the love.

    So, love and miracles… How did they do it?

  2. mtsweat says:

    A good friend emails me, so I pass along…

    “I read your latest post and I just happened to be reading a book on discipleship, “Multiply : Disciples Making Disciples” by Francis Chan & David Platt. The place where I am in this book tied in with your last post…and with our group Bible study. I think Ingram hit the nail on the head when he said “replace the toxins with the truth of God’s word.” John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is the truth. Jesus goes on in his prayer in verse 20 to include not only the 12 disciples but all believers, “also those that believe in Me through their word.” He goes on to tell of the reason for this prayer in 21-22 “that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. The glory You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are One.”

    Chan adds “ If all we ever do is gather in a building on Sundays and perhaps meet in someone’s home for midweek Bible study, the world will never know whether we are united or not. Jesus prayed for our unity, which means that we have to focus on loving and serving each other. But we need to be doing it in such a way that the world can see what we are doing and recognize it as a picture of unity.”

  3. ccragamuffin says:

    Mmmmmm…I love Chip Ingram’s writings…and it reminds me of Dallas Willard’s phenomenal works on spiritual discipline. He made a very emphatic and continual point in every book, that there is an immense difference between trying and training. This thought of training (I Cor 9:25, I Tim 4:7) changed my perspective…and gives me much hope. Trying really hard is the hard way. Training has me as a disciple, a student of the Master. It does spring from spiritual transformation, and it goes on in learning how to renew our minds. I still have my training wheels on. I must often reply…I am still in training. Thank you for the reminder.

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