It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update in this series. We are currently going through this book in our life group for older teens and college students, so I wanted to jump back in and finish the series. Previously I had shared how I struggled through chapter 5 because of the focus on external actions which reflect the condition of your heart.
In order to understand Chan’s viewpoint, I think chapter 5 must be read in context of the entire book. When you read chapter 6, the focus and purpose of the book become much clearer. The entire tone changes as grace and hope are shared. Here is how Chan turns the corner to start discussing the solution to lukewarm living:
My fear in writing the previous chapter is that it only evokes in you fear and guilt. Personal experience has taught me that actions driven by fear and guilt are not an antidote to lukewarm, selfish, comfortable living. I hope you realize instead that the answer is love.
He starts out the chapter with a quote that really spoke to me. Chan actually quoted a paragraph from John Piper’s Book, God is the Gospel. That one quote was the inspiration for my sermon God is Enough a few months ago. (here is the link to the sermon mp3) Read this slowly.
The critical question for our generation, and for every generation is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?
After reading this quote, I had to go and read the entire book by Piper. It dives deep into God’s Glory. But the question that kept ringing through my mind was simply this, “Is God enough?” Strip away all the stuff in life: the good, the bad, the sickness, the success, the failure, the poverty, and the wealth, and simply look at your life. Can you honestly say that God is enough? When God becomes your consuming passion, then your desire is to follow Him no matter the cost and there is no room for half-hearted, lukewarm living. I am so glad that this book is not an angry diatribe against the American church. Instead it is a loving reminder to discover true life in Christ.
Here are some other quotes that I highlighted as I read through the chapter.
- When we love, we’re free! We don’t have to worry about a burdensome load of commands, because when we are loving, we can’t sin.
- But the solution isn’t to try harder, fail, and then make bigger promises, only to fail again.
- we are called to surrender everything for Christ
- While discussing the church in Laodicea, Chan shares “His counsel wasn’t to “try harder,” but rather to let Him in.”
- Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts. The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives.
- There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you.
- God is the only true Giver, and He needs nothing from us. But still He wants us. He gave us life so that we might seek and know Him.