The following post appeared yesterday on 1517 Legacy, a website "committed to informing you about and providing the finest in books and teaching materials dedicated to fueling a new Reformation." Here is the introduction, as well as the link which will take you to the remainder of the article. As always, thank you for taking the time to read my writings! I pray they are a blessing to all of you. Chad I’m the spiritual equivalent of the guy who packs a King Size Snickers bar and a Dr. Pepper in his gym bag. I may hit the holy treadmill for a while, but my mind keeps wandering to the sugar high awaiting me. I want to be better, I try to be better. I say all the right prayers, speak all the right confessions, sing all the right songs, but all the while my lips are moving, it’s as if my heart is mumbling only half the words. Like the Christians at the church at Laodicea, who were neither hot nor cold, I’m always afraid God is ready to spit me out of his mouth (Rev 3:15-16).
I’m just not a very good Christian.
Case in point: on Sunday mornings, when I confess my sins, I say that “I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them.” But those adverbs are like two accusing fingers pointed at my less-than-heartily-sorry, less-than-sincerely-repentant heart. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not merely going through the motions. I am indeed sorry and I do repent. The problem is that there’s still part of me—the old me, the recalcitrant Adam—that clings to excuses and savors the sweet memory of ex-sins. If my heart were hooked up to a lie detector, I’d be in trouble, for my motives for confession are a motley crew.
The same goes for my love of the Lord. There’s a hymn we sing at my church: “Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart.” It’s a killer hymn, powerful and beautifully true. But every time we sing it I feel the need to alter the words. If I were to sing a fully honest version, it would go something like this:
Lord, Thee I love with half my heart. The world has claimed the other part. I pray Thy name be hallowed, Lord, But want my name to be adored. Thy kingdom come, Thy reign extend, And rain on me wealth without end. Thy will be done, my lips shall pray And curse when I don’t get my way. I thank Thee for my daily bread, But cakes and steaks I crave instead. My million sins forgive, forget, While I collect a one-cent debt. From tempting evils keep us free Unless I find they pleasure me. Lord, Thee I love with half my heart. The world has claimed the other part.
Here’s the question: Where does that leave me? Or, if you found yourself nodding your head, where does that leave us?
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What we need in our fragmented world, full of hurting people, is the love of Jesus Christ, who welcomes home sinners with a grace that knows no bounds. My book Christ Alone: Meditations and Sermons, is packed with reflections that go that extra mile of grace. Again and again, they present the Christ who is crucified and risen for you. Please take a moment to check it out here. You may also be interested in my collections of hymns and poetry entitled, The Infant Priest, which you can purchase here. Both books are also available on Amazon, as is my booklet Why Lutherans Sing What They Sing (also on Kindle). Thank you for your prayers and support!