On sensitive consciences and whatnot.

I’m nursing Sam while writing this, which means the post is likely to be full of typos and a little sloppy. Here’s the deal: some people, myself included, have what is known as a “sensitive conscience.” A blessing and a curse, I suppose. It’s good that it doesn’t take much to convict me of my sin, but it’s bad because hearing about all the ways I fall short and need to try harder seems to be pretty popular in churches these days. Maybe it’s an apologetics thing aimed at people who don’t believe that sin exists or that they are sinners. For me, it is the easiest thing in the world to believe that sin exists and that I am a sinner. I have no unbelief in that area. Absolutely none. Sure, I don’t know the depths of my sin or the full extent of it, but by golly, I know every moment of every day how unworthy I am to know God.

So, can we shut up about that already? Is that a silly thing to ask? What I need personally is to be reminded week to week that my debt is paid for completely. That I don’t disappoint God. That God not only loves me, but likes me, thinks I’m cute, marvels at things like my toes. That God is not angry with me. Exasperated with me.

Those are the areas where I say with fear and trembling, “I believe; help my unbelief.”

I need the Gospel. I need the bread and wine and the cross.

I read this post by Michael Spencer this morning. He gets it. Thank you.

I have to echo his message to teachers at Christian schools and youth pastors. Don’t assume that because their parents take them to church every week or because they’ve gone to your Christian school forever or because they are generally “good kids” who stay out of trouble and keep their pants zipped up and don’t smoke or drink that they know and understand the Gospel. Don’t make that assumption. Also, don’t assume that the kids who go on the missions trips or serve at the soup kitchen or volunteer to “lead” in youth group or whatever are the ones who need to hear the messages about how to have a better quiet time or how to have a better prayer life or how to REALLY be “sold out” for the Lord. I’m pretty sure those are the kids who will do anything you tell them to do just to have some inner peace. I know I would have. And I did, many times. I took good notes and followed all the prescriptions for “real spiritual growth” and waited with bated breath for something to happen, to grow and change and be “on fire for God” only be to heartbroken again and again over my own failures as a human being, my own lack of love for the Lord, my own lack of gratitude and love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

The Gospel. The good news. That’s what I needed then and what I need now.

My issue then wasn’t that I wasn’t serious enough about my relationship with the Lord. My issue was that I made it so serious it was like doing algebra homework.

I try not to take everything so seriously anymore, but it’s a challenge for me. I want to be like a child, unself-conscious, just happy because I know God and He knows my name.

And, John Piper, I love you, brother, but your “working to be happy in God” thing has done a number on my soul, too, but that’s for another post.


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