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In the world, obedience is usually based on personal feelings or legal obligation, but in the gospel, it is based on trust in God. Confident that His way is always the best, we obey. No matter how things look to us, we trust His love to bring us home.
Forgiven of past sins, the Christian can rejoice in the present grace and future hope of the gospel. The relationship we can now have with God is rich and good — it is a foretaste of the perfect relationship we will be able to have with Him in eternity.
The strongest language in Scripture is reserved for the dull of heart. We have become, as T. S. Eliot warned, “hollow men.” And this hollowness, this world-weary nothingness, is frightening. We are never closer to hell than when our hearts feel . . . nothing.
Temporal things can be deeply gratifying, but a problem arises when we make earthly enjoyments our main pursuit. Not only will we lose our souls for having worshiped the creation rather than the Creator, but we will lose the true joy of the creation itself.
We need to be more honest, openly acknowledging the things that move us most deeply. The darkness is to be avoided, yes. But even more than that, the light is to be loved. The Lord is to be worshiped “in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).
We can’t stay put and move forward at the same time. And since change will come to us all, our choice is simply a choice of attitude: will we resist change and make ourselves miserable, or will we accept it with gratitude for the good things it makes possible?
We need to remain open to genuineness and authenticity, both in ourselves and in others. Just because something doesn’t glitter, that doesn’t mean it’s not gold. And real gold, even when it has a few impurities mixed in, is a better treasure than imitation gold.
Pride makes us unteachable. As Winston Churchill said, “I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught.” So we need to put our pride in its place and adopt the humility of the truly wise ones: those who’re willing not only to learn but to be taught.
Those whom we come in contact with each day need to hear the gospel, and they may not know anyone else who will share it with them. Certainly we have an obligation to talk with others about the Lord, but it is far more than a mere duty — it is a privilege.
Let’s work on viewing the weekly assemblies of the local congregation as a joy and a privilege. Given the difficulties of life in this world, it is not likely that we will survive living in it without the edification we get when we worship together. Think about it.
I had the privilege of preaching at Clarksville, Indiana on January 3. The congregation there is without a local preacher right now, and it was a pleasure to help them kick off their theme for this year, “A Church with a Mind to Work.” They have asked me to return on February 7.
I expect we are all hoping for a better year in 2021. For me, however, the completion of Obeying the Gospel and AreYouaChristian.com made this a banner year. I will always look back on 2020 with a special fondness and gratitude.