Don't Flinch

All the fitness He requireth 
Is to feel your need of Him. 
-Joseph Hart in "Come, Ye Sinners"

I get that I’m supposed to be dependent on God. He’s my all-powerful creator, and He paid the ransom for my captive soul. It makes sense that I need God. But I don’t usually feel a burning, aching need for God. I usually feel sleepy or hungry or busy or just plain normal.

King David, on the other hand, prayed, “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” And the apostle Paul wrote, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” These guys weren’t trying to be emotional for the sake of being emotional. That wouldn’t have helped anyone. Instead, their feelings sprang from an honest awareness of their own weakness and God’s strength.

So how do I convince myself that I need radical, divine intervention? By looking at God’s law and not flinching.

The Bible is filled with God’s standards for my life. They’re everywhere. And they boil down to, “Love God, and love other people. Perfectly.” I can’t live up to that. So by instinct, I flinch. I shrink back from what God says. Without ever realizing what I’m doing, I turn “be perfect like God is perfect” into “be a relatively good person.” I turn “love your neighbor as yourself” into “do nice things when you feel like it.” I turn “be devoted to God” into “do spiritual activities.” Strangely enough, I almost always measure up to these substitute standards.

But when I look at God’s law without flinching, it crushes me. I see that I’m a spiritually dead man, a helpless slave to my own self-centered motivations. I really do need God to rescue me from myself. And I run to Christ—his perfect life, his death in my place, his glorious resurrection. Christ is all I truly need.

God’s law will never make me perfect. But it drives me to depend on the One who will.

- Daniel Mulder

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