Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I’ll feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick.
In the Biblical counseling world, a phrase you’ll sometimes hear is, “You have to preach the gospel to yourself everyday.”
What does that mean? Isn’t the gospel for unbelievers, something you believe once and then move on to other things?
It turns out we need the gospel everyday!
In her introduction Elyse says this:
… although all orthodox believers view salvation as his work, we believe that living the Christian life is solely ours. Yes, salvation is a wonderful gift, we think, but Christian living is where we’ve got to concentrate now.
She goes on by asking the reader to consider a series of questions:
What I’ll be asking you to consider throughout this book may be summarized in one simple question: In your pursuit of godliness, have you left Jesus behind? Since this might be a new question for you, let me ask you a few more that will help clarify the answer.
– If I said that we’re going to spend page after page considering God’s love, would you feel the need to stifle a yawn? What does his transforming love mean to you today?
– Are you more focused on your performance for him or his for you?
– At the end of the day is there a rest in your soul because of him, or is there guilt and a determination that tomorrow you’re going to “do better”?
– Do you still feel the need to prove that you’re not “all that bad”? Do you get angry when people criticize or ignore you?
– You know that Jesus is the Door. Do you see how he is your life? Could you tell me exactly how he has transformed your daily life?
As we work through the answers to these questions together, I want you to be encouraged. This is an endeavor that your Savior is passionate about.
Which question hit you between the eyes? For me it always seems to be, “At the end of the day is there a rest in your soul because of him, or is there guilt and a determination that tomorrow you’re going to ‘do better’?”
Even though I know that I wasn’t saved by any goodness or any amount of good deeds (Rom. 3.10) and even though I’ve heard Elyse and others speak on this subject many times, that still seems to be my default mode.
Why is it so important to remember that and to contemplate His love as demonstrated through the gospel? Some thoughts from the book:
It’s essential for us to think about God’s love today because it is only his love that can grant us the joy that will strengthen our hearts, the courage that will embolden us in our fight against sin, and the assurance that will enable us to open up our lives to him so that he might deal powerfully with our unbelief and idolatry.
If we don’t consciously live in the light of his love, the gospel will be secondary, virtually meaningless, and Jesus Christ will fade into insignificance. Our faith will become all about us, our performance, and how we think we’re doing, and our transformation will be hindered.
If you neglect to focus on God’s love for you in Christ, your Christianity will soon be reduced to a program of self-improvement-just one of many methods to help you “get your act together.” And although that might seem like a worthy goal, it isn’t true Christianity at all. True Christianity is not a program of self-improvement; it’s an acknowledgment that something more than self-improvement is needed. What’s needed is death and resurrection: gospel words, gospel constructs, gospel motives, gospel power-a loving Redeemer.
So what about you? Which of Elyse’s questions grabbed your heart? And how might a better understanding of the gospel impact your life?
Quotations taken from:
Fitzpatrick, Elyse M. (2008-04-24). Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life. Crossway. Kindle Edition.
You can get a copy of Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life or shop for Other Resources here.
Previously featured books:
Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day by Glynnis Whitwer. Read about it here.
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