Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gospel Centered Life - Part 2

Continuing my four part series on the Gospel Centered Life, here is Part 2 -
the comforting reality that we're not alone...

Our Boat

Imagine.One.Gigantic.Boat. And, we're all in it!

We are all in the same boat!  But that's not what we typically think when we're in the middle of a difficult and challenging situation.  Thinking about the woman I referred to in the first post of this series - she told me she felt isolated and believed (wrongly) that she was the only one going though the kinds of things she's dealing with. I have been there too! I've thought is there anyone who understands how I feel?  Is there anyone who won't make me feel like I've failed miserably compared to their picture perfect life! This is exactly where the enemy would have us stay. Separated from the flock and feeling like no one else is dealing with the same thing and that no one else is struggling!

As I began to share my own difficulties and my own weaknesses with this woman I could visibly see her shoulders relax. She was not taking relish in the fact that I was struggling too, but she was comforted in knowing she was not alone.

The fact that we all struggle with sin (our own or the sin of others) and sad situations should not be a surprise to us. The Bible tells us in Romans 3 beginning in verse 18:

“As it is written:

“None is righteous, 
no, not one; no one understands; 
no one seeks for God. 
 All have turned aside; 
together they have become worthless; 
no one does good, 
not even one.”

Jesus told us in John 16:33:

"In the world you will have tribulation".

We are all sinners. We all struggle with the same things!

Let me ask you – are you struggling with a rebellious child? Overwhelmed with finances or facing foreclosure on your home? Are relationships at church difficult or has a friendship been strained? Are you burdened by seemingly insurmountable marital difficulties? Are you facing separation or divorce? Have you received a bad report from the doctor? Are you unemployed? Maybe you're struggling in your faith as a result of painful circumstances that have left you feeling hopeless?

Whatever it is – don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. Look around. Every person next to you this very minute has something they're struggling with. And we would all be surprised to find out how similar their struggles are to ours.  It is comforting to know that we are not alone.  It is refreshing and encouraging to talk to other gospel centered people who understand - and the only way they are able to understand is because they've been through or are currently going through the same thing.  They can relate.  A passage out of 2 Corinthians (1:3-7) has become a favorite of mine:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 
who comforts us in all our affliction, 
so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, 
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, 
so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 
If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; 
and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, 
which you experience when you patiently endure 
the same sufferings that we suffer.
Our hope for you is unshaken, 
for we know that as you share in our sufferings, 
you will also share in our comfort."

What does being gospel-centered look like?

Take comfort, you’re not alone.
"You will also share in our comfort."

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