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Abiding Dependence | Ron Block

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
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December 10, 2022 1:00 am

Abiding Dependence | Ron Block

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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December 10, 2022 1:00 am

How do you live moment by moment in the love of God? On this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, you’ll hear author and one of the greatest living banjo players on the planet, Ron Block. He’s best known for his work with the Grammy-winning band, Alison Krauss and Union Station. How do you cultivate a dependence on God that allows you to live fully loved? Don’t miss today's episode.

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Abiding Dependence: Living Moment-by-Moment in the Love of God

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Hi, everyone. My name is Emma, and I serve as a producer here at Moody Radio. I want to take a quick second to tell you about our newest podcast, 52 Weeks in the Word. This podcast hosted by Trillia Newbell will walk you through the Bible cover to cover in 52 weeks. Each week, Trillia sits down with a guest for a 10-minute conversation about the weekly reading, Bible reading habits, and spiritual disciplines.

Some of these guests include our very own Chris Brooks, Jen Wilkin, Nancy Guthrie, and many more. If you've ever wanted to read the Bible in a year, now's your chance. Listen to the trailer, follow and subscribe on the Moody Radio app or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Episode one drops on January 1st. I mean, I went through a phase in the 90s where I was studying the Bible more than I was playing music. It pulled me through it in learning who I am in Christ, that I'm holy and dearly loved and I'm accepted. And really, ultimately, our place to find identity is in the person of God. As believers, we find our real identity that's solid and doesn't fluctuate with the world. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" .

Today, a man Fernando Ortego calls one of the greatest living banjo players on the planet. Helps us learn more about living moment by moment in the love of God. Grammy Award winner Ron Block will join us straight ahead. And if you go to, you'll find Ron's book that we'll be talking about today, Abiding Dependence, Living Moment by Moment in the Love of God.

Just go to Gary, I was thinking about this. It's really what you have been talking about for an awful lot of years, living in love so that we can express real love. You know, Chris, I think if we have a relationship with God, I mean, you know, a real relationship with God. I'm not talking about just we go to church. Then the love of God really flows through us and we become God's agents. In fact, you know, the Bible says the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. So we become God's agents of loving people in our generation, you know, and people with whom we have contact.

So, yeah, this is at the very heart, I think, of what the Christian life's all about. So I'm really looking forward to talking with Ron today. Let's welcome him. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, banjo player, best known as a member of the bluegrass band, Allison Krauss and Union Station. He's won 14 Grammys, six International Bluegrass Music Awards, Country Music Association Award, Gospel Music Association Dove Award. The featured resource today is his book, Abiding Dependence, Living Moment by Moment in the Love of God.

You can find out more at Well, Ron Block, welcome to Building Relationships. Well, thanks for having me.

This is wonderful. You have quite a musical resume and a career. How did you know you had a gift for music, and who encouraged you early on? I had the desire to play very early on, but I didn't get an instrument till I was about 11. And I think a lot of what we call gift is often just desire.

And in a child, if the faith is operative, you know, meaning like if they just simply believe they can do it, they go to town on it. And that's what I did. I got a guitar at 11, and my dad got me a banjo when I was 13. And he says now, got you a banjo when you were 13, and you didn't come out of your room till you were 21. So by the time I was 16 or 17, I was already starting to play in bands. And I knew then I just I knew I would be not very happy if I didn't just go wholeheartedly toward playing music for the rest of my life. I just knew I had, you know, there's certain things God gives you an inner knowing. And that was one of the things I just had this sense of like, I'm going to miss something huge if I don't do this the rest of my life. And I didn't care if I succeeded. I just wanted to be good at it and play music.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So your dad had a really positive influence on that thing early on. He did. He owned a music store. And so I saw I saw guys sitting around playing guitars ever since I could remember and, and my mom loved music too. So my dad and stepmom bought me my first instruments and got me a few lessons and get and then the main thing was they gave me time and space. They allowed me as long as I did my schoolwork and my other work, I could do whatever I wanted with the rest of my time.

So they gave me lots of time. Yeah. And the internet was not there back then, right? No. And that's, that's the biggest, most amazing thing now is young people can watch all their favorite players and imitate them. Yeah, that's, that's incredible. Yeah. We had to do it.

We had to do it the hard way back then. Well, since you play a lot of instruments, how did you choose the ones that you really wanted to focus on? Well, guitar was I don't, I don't even I don't even remember why I wanted an acoustic guitar. I loved the sound of acoustic guitar since I was little.

Different albums I heard. And so I got a guitar and then I got into banjo. And then after that I just, I was into I love all the sound of I love the sound of all instruments. And especially when I was solely playing bluegrass. I loved all the bluegrass instruments. So I tried everything except fiddle.

I tried dobro. I played mandolin, some electric guitar, a bunch bass, you know, yeah, but I settled on two because I just thought, well, I can't be at a super high level on five instruments. Yeah, you know, yeah, I probably could have been if I was more organized, but I wasn't. Now, what do you tell parents of children who have a desire to play music? What's the best thing a parent can do? Well, I guess the first thing is to make it fun. Like, especially if they're small kids, just make it at first, it's only just this, whoo, this is great, you know, have a have a fun time with it. And then as they progress, celebrate and praise their work, you know, rather than saying, Oh, you're so great. Like the emphasis is on work rather than talent. Because because you don't want them to get into the fixed mindset of, oh, some people are more talented and other people are less talented.

It's like, no, the people that work hard get somewhere most of the time. So so you want to have that find a good teacher. And then the thing is in bluegrass, if your kid wants to play bluegrass, there are festivals and events where children can be around kids their own age that want that love to play. And that's always good to put, put kids into an environment where there are kids their own age or maybe a little older that that play really well, and that will push them, right? Yeah. Good advice to parents, those who are listening and your child is expressing that desire.

Those are good words. When in your life did you become a Christian? And why did you decide to commit your life to Christ? Well, my mom became a Christian when I was about two years old, and she'd had a tough growing up, like really a lot of abuse and bad stuff going on. And so she became a Christian and it absolutely changed her life.

So, you know, my two brothers grew up with, I think, a different mom than I did. And so by the time I was six years old, you know, I was I'd been going to church with her and I went forward. Now, as to what that means, I think God honored that, but I don't think I really became a Christian in the sense of, you know, born again until I was about 17 years old. I had a legalistic concept of God growing up, reading the Bible stories and sort of, so, you know, David and those heroes I was supposed to emulate and try to be good and all that kind of stuff. But when I was 17, thereabouts, I joined a pretty legalistic church, and I had nine months of basically internal torture, which nine months is a pretty good gestational period for being born again. And then I came out of that, and I had a great friend that I played music with named Eric Uglom, and he was sitting with me in a car one night, and I was pouring all this fear and stuff out to him, and he said, Ron, we're not saved by what we do and don't do.

We're saved by trusting God. And so when I got home that night and I read, I opened Galatians, and, you know, all the bells rang, you know how that is, like when you have a perceptual change or shift, and then you read the Word and you go, oh my gosh, it's all in here. How did I miss it?

You know, how did I miss all this? So that was the beginning of, like, me really walking in at least trusting God for my future salvation, going to heaven when I die, and then also trusting him via Matthew 6, that he'll take care of my needs as a, you know, musician trying to make a living. It enabled me to, that trust enabled me to step out in courage and go, I don't care if I, you know, succeed, I just want to play music and God will take care of my needs. So that was my, that's in a nutshell there. It's always been interesting to me how God uses different people to stimulate us, you know, to begin looking in the right places to find a relationship with God. Like your friend who just made that statement to you.

It's not about what we do, it's about putting our faith in Christ, yeah. Yeah, it was a, that was a clarifying, that was probably the most clarifying moment of my teen years was right there. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times best seller "The 5 Love Languages" . Find more ways to strengthen relationships at our website You can take an easy assessment of your love language right there. It's free. Plus, sign up for the podcast and much more.

Go to Our guest today, Ron Block, Dove and Grammy Award winner. His book is titled Abiding Dependence, Living Moment by Moment in the Love of God.

You can find it at Ron Chris mentioned the awards that you won, your amazing musical career through the years, and you spent decades with Allison Krauss and the Union Station. What was it like to join one of the top bands in Bluegrass? Wow, it was, it was dizzyingly, it was exhilarating to have worked, you know, from the time I was 13 years old. And I'd been watching Allison and the guys, had met them through festivals and things through the years. And, you know, I think I was about 26 or 27 when she asked me to join. And so it was the culmination of a lot of years of work.

And, you know, about seven years of, you know, living at poverty level as a musician, you know, so that it was the culmination of like, not just the road to some kind of success, but it was just the thrill of going, okay, now, now I can play this super high level music with these people that I love, and make a living at it. So it, it was really exhilarating because they were very expressive. They loved having me and they called me the secret weapon and, you know, all this kind of stuff. It was really, really, it was a lot of fun.

Those early, those early years. Yeah. Yeah, it had to be exciting, you know, for someone like you who started out young and you've been working on music all those years and then get invited to join a group like that. Yeah.

Yeah, it was, it was truly, truly amazing. Now, there's a song that you wrote, A Living Prayer. I think that song goes along with our conversation today because that's really the goal, isn't it? To have our lives become a living prayer.

Yeah. I remember back long before I wrote that song, I was in a hotel room. We were on the road and I was praying for a friend and, you know, I was praying for health issues and, you know, and I said something like, you know, Lord, be with this person. And, you know, I heard, I am. And I said, well, Lord, work in their lives and do such and such and yada, yada, yada. And the Lord said, I am. And I said, well, then, then what do you want me to pray for? You know, and, and what came back inside me was, you are a prayer.

You are a living prayer. So that was, that was the phrase that kind of came to my mind back in that time. But yeah, I didn't write the song for a long, long time. It was several years later that I wrote the song, so. Ron, talk about that title, Abiding Dependence.

What does that mean? And where did you uncover that idea? Well I started writing a devotional on identity in Christ. And, you know, I was writing these devotional pieces about our identity and, you know, after a while I just thought, well, I can't talk about identity in Christ without talking about what in Christ means and how Jesus lived and how Jesus operated.

And, you know, then as I began to, you know, look into, okay, what do I say about this? I found him living from a sense of abiding in his Father and his Father abiding in him and him depending on his Father and his Father depending on him to speak the words that were put into his mind and heart to say and the actions that he was to do. So he was living in this attitude toward his Father of abiding dependence. He was abiding in him and he was depending on him all at the same time. So he's the prototype.

Jesus is the first goer of our faith. He's the author and finisher of it. So when we look at his life, he was living the life that we are supposed to be living. Yeah. So abiding dependence is what, it was a recurring word that just kept coming up in me as I was writing this stuff. So that became the title. Yeah. I love it. And it reminds me of what Jesus said in John 15, verse 5, when he said, I'm the vine, you're the branches, you abide in me, you bear much fruit. And then this statement, without me, you can do nothing.

Zippo, nothing, natto. Just a reminder, dependence is a good word. Absolutely.

It is. As follows the Christ, we need to analyze our source of identity and security and meaning in life. Where did you get yours in your childhood and teen years?

And how has that changed over the years? That's a big question, and I'll see if I can answer that succinctly. Conciseness and brevity are not my strong points. So I had some jagged events. I had mostly a good childhood, but my parents got divorced when I was about five or six. And then they both remarried. My mom remarried several years later, and I had brothers and sisters. Like, my mom married a widower with six kids. So all of a sudden, I had brothers—there were eight kids. And so four years later, though, my stepdad just packed up one day and left. And so the jaggedness of being so in with them as my brothers and sisters. And then one day, they were yanked away, and I didn't know where they were for 20 years, the days before cell phones.

So there were several like the divorce, that, and there were several other things that I won't go into that happened that were just really jagged. And it kind of kicked out a sense of security and worth from me. So by the time I started playing music, music became a way to feel good about myself, because I found that I could learn really quickly. And if I worked at it, I got better.

And that made me feel good, which is, you know, wonderful and natural. But I began to hook my self-worth into it. And so as I grew and grew in playing music and got in bands, my self-worth was also growing.

And I would say now in retrospect, sometimes to the point of being a little bit arrogant. So by the time I joined Allison's band, that was a big event for me, because it meant that all my work meant something. And for me, it meant that I meant something, that I was valuable, because I was getting my worth from this thing. So, but it wasn't until a couple years later, after being in the band for a while, I had prayed a Tozer prayer, Lord, work your will in my life, no matter what the cost. Which, you know, is like, in retrospect, I go, Ron, that was a really stupid thing to pray.

But someday when I get to heaven, I might just, I don't know if I'm going to hug Tozer or punch him in the face. But so after that is when some things started breaking down in me and events happened, some more kind of jagged events happened that really made getting self-worth through music not work anymore. And so I started to feel really terrible and bad. And so I went through a kind of internal crisis. Now on the outside, people would have looked at my life and said, your life is great, what's wrong with you?

But on the inside, on the inside, it was kind of falling apart for a couple of years. And that's when I really started digging into, I knew as a good Baptist boy, I knew the answers were in the Bible. And so I really, really started digging into the Bible. And I mean, I went through a phase in the 90s where I was studying the Bible more than I was playing music. And it pulled me through it in learning who I am in Christ, that I'm holy and dearly loved and I'm accepted.

And God looks at me with kindness and joy and love and not judgment and anger. Yeah. Really, ultimately, our place to find identity is in the person of God, the Trinity in Jesus Christ. Like that's where, as believers, we find our real identity that's solid and doesn't fluctuate with the world. Yeah, yeah. And of course, growing up, I think, you know, various ones of us had certain things that we depended on that made us feel good, that made us feel worthy. And at some juncture, any of those can be taken away, you know. Yep.

We never know. So that's why we can't depend on those kind of things to give us meaning in life. So, that's a great story.

Well, let's walk through some of the 40 days in this study. On day one, you emphasize the deity of Jesus, but you then spend much of the time writing about his humanity. Why would you emphasize that when you're talking about the deity of Christ? Well, you know, I grew up thinking of Jesus as God, right? So he lived and so thinking, and of course he is God, and he was God. When he was here, he didn't stop being God. But Philippians says he set aside and became a servant, right? He laid aside, and what he laid aside was the use of his omnipresence, because he became localized in a human body. He set aside the use of his omniscience, because there were things he didn't know, and he marveled in astonishment when he didn't know something, and it astonished him when he found it out. The centurion, that was one of those examples. And he had to sleep, and he got tired, and he became weak when he fasted, so he was not omnipotent, or he set aside his omnipotence.

He still retained those things, but he didn't use them. So he had to operate wholly as a man that was depending 100% on the Father within him. So I emphasize that because when I was growing up, you know, hearing that, oh, Jesus is God, well, that just makes people go, well, you know, Jesus is God, I can't do that, because I'm not God. And so there's this massive chasm where what we do is we go, well, Jesus was God, but I'm a horrible, filthy, rotten sinner. And so we create this false chasm between the life of Jesus and our life. But Jesus was living as a weak human being. He said, he said, I can do nothing of myself. So in his humanity, he didn't have the power. His power was coming from the Father inside of him. So in our humanity, we're weak.

We don't have the power. But when we couple our weakness with recognizing, looking in the mirror and seeing Jesus in the mirror, and seeing that Christ lives in me, because that's what the Bible says, and that's what God says, then that begins to change how we feel and think about ourselves. It doesn't make us arrogant, because we always retain the knowledge that we're vessels, we're branches, we're the weakness, and he's the strength. So it doesn't make us arrogant to believe that Christ lives in me and we're filled with all the fullness of God. It makes us open. It opens our spirit to other people. It opens us to love other people, because we can trust that he is love in us for the other person.

Right? You know, I often think of the Rich Mullins song, Boy Like Me, where he's talking about humanity. You know, I grew up in Indiana, you grew up in Galilee. Did the little girls giggle when you walked past? It kind of is giving this idea of, boy, Jesus was a little baby who cried, you know, who had to have his diaper changed. And I remember Rich Mullins sitting in the studio, and he took his shoe off, he was at the piano, and he was scratching the bottom of his socks on, but he was scratching the bottom of his feet. You ever wonder if Jesus scratched his feet? You ever wonder if Jesus had itchy feet? And it's like, yeah, of course he did!

Right, right. Well, yeah, of course he did, right. But we miss that when we religiousize Jesus. Like, we put him in this aura of not being human, and that's one reason I focus so hard on him being human. I wanted to get the fact that he was God, you know, of course, yes, let's say this, yes.

And then now let's talk about how he was like us, because he had to be just like us in order to fulfill his mission. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. You can find more ways to strengthen relationships at our website, We have some great resources for you, like a podcast of this program.

You can download the Love Nudge app and more. Just go to Our featured resource is Ron Block's book, Abiding Dependence, Living Moment by Moment in the Love of God.

You can find that at or go to Well, I like the way you have these 40 days, you know, with devotional thoughts are just really fundamental truths about our walk with God that we were talking about, you know, the deity of Christ, but the humanity of Christ, which I think we sometimes do overlook that or minimize that. But in day four, the title is Jesus, the Tempted Son of Man. Why is it important to know Jesus was tempted in all points, like as we are, and yet the Bible says without sin? Jesus had to live as a fully human person, so he had to be tempted like we are. And he was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. And we often jump to yet without sin. You know, people are quick to go, he was tempted, yes, but without sin.

But one thing I do on day four is I look at temptation, like put off the yet without sin part, and let's look at what actually was going on when he was tempted. It meant he was enticed and desired something. So when he was tempted in the wilderness, for example, he was hungry, and the tempter came and tempted him to turn stones into bread. So he was tempted to use, take up his own authority to get something that he wanted, right? So the thing that he wanted wasn't necessarily wrong in itself.

There's nothing wrong with bread. But he was being tempted to take up his own authority to get what he wanted, to go against what the Father wanted for him right in that moment, and get it done himself. And if you look at the issue of temptation in the lives of Abraham and David and everyone throughout the Bible, and all of us, the main issue is, if you can boil it down to one thought, it's I'm an independent self, having to make my life work, and I have to get what I need by my own effort and power, right? That's the essence of any temptation is, I need, you know, whatever. Let's say I need happiness, and so then if I think I'm independent, I'm going to step out and try to get whatever I need that will make me happy, rather than going to God and trusting God as the center point and centerpiece and source and ground of my being, and saying, Lord, you know what will make me happy, so I trust you, and I rest in that trust.

And now show me which way to go here. So to encounter temptation, Jesus encountered temptation, and then he went back to who he really was in the Father, that the Father was in him, that he was operating as a, he was operating in abiding dependence. He was trusting and resting. So he returned to that position every time he was tempted. So he was pulled on, his desires were pulled on, and he wanted those things. He wanted to be everything God meant him to be and to have followers and to have a ministry and all those things, but the tempter was tempting him to speed up the timetable. So he wanted things, he wanted, and that's what temptation is. James says, every man is tempted when he's drawn away by his own strong desires and enticed. So Jesus was enticed. So the point I make in 4, in day 4, is that temptation itself is not sin. It's not a sin to have a desire for something. It's when we follow and try to find the conclusion and the fulfillment of that desire that isn't part of God's desire for us. That's when we're stepping out, when we're being independent. Does that make sense?

Yeah, it does. And I think one of the tragedies today, Ron, is that there's so many in our culture who want to be happy and have decided, this is going to make me happy, whether it's drugs or whether it's, you know, something not quite as destructive as that, but it's trying to find happiness for ourselves. And that's always the enemy. That's always the enemy that's leading us in that direction, as opposed to leading us to God, right? Right. Well, you talk a lot about certain words, like belief and repentance, and that sometimes these words are misunderstood. Can you give us an example of that?

Yeah. So, like, for instance, belief. You know, I can say, I believe, you know, the moon is a globe. Well, that's an intellectual acceptance of an idea about the moon.

It doesn't affect my life, right? Or I can say, I believe this chair will hold me. Well, that's an intellectual belief, but I don't have actual faith until I sit in the chair. When I sit in the chair, I have faith in the chair, so I take the action of faith and sit my posterior in the chair.

Then the chair that I take by faith takes me, and so it upholds me, right? So, and that natural kind of faith, we live by that natural kind of faith every day. And, you know, we get on a plane because we have faith that a giant metal tube is going to fly through the air. And we have faith that a pilot we've never met is going to get us to California, right? So we may have an intellectual belief that the plane will get us there, but we don't actually have faith. We don't exercise faith until we buy the ticket and get on the plane.

That's when we're having faith in the thing. So to believe in God or to believe in Jesus is not the same, necessarily, as trusting and resting and have, and faithing in Jesus. It's not the same, necessarily, because belief can just be, I can say, oh yeah, I believe Jesus died on the cross.

And, but the real thing is like, do you realize Jesus died on the cross for you? And how does that affect you? And do you trust in that for your life?

And what does that mean for you? Like you have to apply that and not just have it be an intellectual belief. So that's, I talk about belief in that sense, that it's not always the same thing as faith. And then repentance often has a lot of emotion associated with it, or also self-loathing and self-condemnation can be associated with the word repentance. But the actual word is, I think it's pronounced metanoia, and it just means change your mind. And so I'm following, so I'm tempted, and then I blow it, and I follow the temptation, and I sin, and God says metanoia. And that means I'm looking at the sin, and I'm looking at my own self-condemnation, and He says metanoia, and I turn and look at Him, and that's what repentance is. I turn and I go, oh yeah, I forgot. You live inside me. You forgive me every time I do something stupid.

You love me no matter what, and you want me to live from you so I don't do those things again. So that's what repentance is often turned into something that it isn't. And if we're looking at our own self-condemnation and hating ourselves and loathing ourselves for doing something, we haven't repented. It's really a form of self-righteousness to sit there and beat on ourselves. We're thinking, I'm an independent self, and I should have been able to be more like Jesus. Well, guess what? He said you couldn't do anything.

You can do nothing apart from Him. So repentance is simply that metanoia from turning from whatever we were following and looking back at the face of God and going, oh yeah, you live inside me. I trust you as my fullness. I trust you as my forgiveness and mercy.

I trust you as the power to live with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, etc. Right? Yeah. I think those two words are so powerful and so central to the Christian faith, because many people will say, oh, I believe in God. Yeah, I believe He's out there somewhere.

That's a pretty good description. He's out there somewhere. He's not in your life, you know?

Yeah. That biblical faith is we accept what He did for us and make it personal, confess our sins and receive what He did for us. This is the heart of what it's all about.

I love that. The other misnomer, Gary, is that a lot of people on the outside of the church will say, well, Christians, those are just people who do better, live better lives. They don't do this or that or the other thing. And it's all about, Ron, the doing versus the being, and the trust wipes that out. We can't be good enough for God because of our sin, right? But John says, he that abides does not sin. So in walking in that kind of—and now, even abiding, I've found that I had to define terms because sometimes grace and abiding and all this stuff, they become words that lose their meaning because we use them so much. But like, for instance, abiding is simply recognition where I go, Lord, thank you that I'm abiding in you, that you are in me and that you're present with me and that you're living through me right now.

And I expect you to live through me, act through me, love other people through me right now. And like that, so that's abiding. So it's really primarily recognition. And John says, if we're doing that, he that abides does not sin. Well, and so that's a diagnostic.

Like, I used to feel so condemned when I didn't abide and I blew it and I did something wrong. But it's simply diagnostic. It's where John says, basically, you can't walk in darkness and abide at the same time.

They're mutually exclusive. So if I'm in darkness and I've sinned or whatever and then I'm self-condemning and all that, well, I'm walking in darkness and I'm not abiding. So it's a diagnostic to go, what am I doing? What's my behavior been like and what is my attitude toward myself? Am I hating myself?

Well, God doesn't hate me, so I'm out of line here. So I need to metanoia and turn my face back to look in the mirror and see Christ living in me and living through me again. And all it takes is that one little turning and that it changes everything. Now, it doesn't always change how we feel. Sometimes our feelings take a while to dissipate, but I've found that getting my attention off of trying to change my feelings is often the very thing that changes my feelings. When you focus on your feelings and your negative feelings and you focus on them and you're trying to change them, lots of times that's the thing that keeps you stuck. So I'm not talking about immediately changing how we feel by magic.

It's simply turning to God, recognizing who He is and that He loves to live through us. He delights. We're His assets. We're not His liabilities.

We're His assets in the world. This is how He loves other people, is through us. That's what He does. And that's how He's chosen to operate. He doesn't have to do that, but that's what He chose. As ridiculous as that is, when I look in the mirror, I go, you?

Really? But He does. I watch Him do it. And of course, there are times where I don't. And then I look in the mirror and I go, you're not abiding, dude.

Get your independent self-attitude back into dependence. It's great to have you with us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Our hope is that this program is a beacon of light and hope for you and your relationships.

Grammy and Dove award-winning musical artist Ron Block is our guest. He's the author of Abiding Violence Living Moment by Moment in the Love of God. Find out more at Ron, before we took our break, you mentioned the word grace. And in the book, you talk about, specifically about grace and law. What's the difference between living by grace versus living by the law?

Well, my understanding on that has changed a lot in the last, I mean, really, 30 years. But the word grace, I grew up where grace meant unmerited favor. And for us, God's grace is unmerited. But for Jesus, it says Jesus grew in grace. So He didn't need God's unmerited favor.

So it can't just mean that. Strong's Concordance says, the word for grace is used of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues. So in other words, grace is God's favor and power for us and in us to power us up and to level us up and to make us into what we're supposed to be. So grace is much more than unmerited favor.

And I grew up with it as unmerited favor. So when you take that, God's grace, living by grace, if I live by grace and I trust the power of the Spirit in me and I trust that God in me is love, well, love is the fulfilling of the law, right? So why do I need a rule on my desk that says, do not steal? So if I love my neighbor, my neighbor, Peggy, if I love my neighbor, am I going to go sneak over to her house and steal stuff?

Well, no, I don't need a rule if I have the love for her. And the love for her, you have to go, you know, we go and this is how we do it. We start out in law, trying to be good, trying to keep the law, trying not to do bad and trying to help other people. And then we get to a point where we realize we don't have sufficient, we're not sufficient to keep the law to our everybody. We fail. And then we go, well, I need to love people. And so then we try to love people. Well, good luck on that one.

That's not going to happen either. But so what has to happen is we have to rise, George McDonald says, we rise even higher into the being who is love and the being who made the law. So we rise up into him. And so if we live from Christ, if we live actually believing beyond belief that Christ lives in us as the source of our love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of the Spirit, then we are going to love our neighbor. We're going to love God. And as long as we walk in that, we will. So to step downward now for me and go, oh, I've got to live by, I've got to keep the law.

I've got, well, that's a way, that's stepping way down. I would much rather go, Lord, you're the law keeper. You love people.

So I'm going to trust you to love this person through me right now. That's much better. And Chesterton said, he said, when you break the big laws, you don't get no law. You get the small laws. So that's what the law is. It's the small laws because humanity broke the big law. Love God and love your neighbor. So now this doesn't, it doesn't mean that we, you know, let's throw out all the Ten Commandments and all that. I'm not saying that.

I'm simply saying that if we're walking in the love of Christ and abiding in Him, we will be loving other people. We won't steal. We won't covet. We won't lie.

All those things. And if we do, we've stepped out of dependence and abiding into independence. And then thus the law is there to kind of catch us out.

You know, the law is there to show, you know, kind of like pull the cover back and go, this is your independent self being exposed. Yeah. Ron, has there been a time in your own life when you struggled with, with abiding dependence as what you're talking about now? And if so, what, what happened and how did you get through that? All the time.

No, you know, but no, but like it's, it's, you know, it's something that you pop in and out of. And there have been lots of times in my life where I have acted as if I were independent. Like there's times in parenting I did that, when our kids are grown now. But there were times in parenting where I did that. I had, you know, basically fears instilled in me when I was young that I didn't realize because I, you know, have relatives, um, that got in lots of trouble when I was young.

And they, because they didn't have, they didn't accept authority and they didn't accept responsibility. So with our kids, you know, it, it was pretty early on that I noticed I would like, I would start to lose it if they didn't accept responsibility and they didn't accept my authority because I was there to love them and help them grow up to be the best people, you know, that I could help them be. And so, so then, but what that was as I was stepping out of abiding into I'm an independent me and I have to keep our children from going wrong, right?

Yeah. So when I do that though, when I have that attitude, they catch that attitude and then what they believe is they go, I'm bad. And if, if dad doesn't, uh, be the drill Sergeant, I'm going to become a bad person. Now the difference would be is if this is what I learned to do most of the time, I learned to go, okay, keep your mouth shut, Ron, get back to abiding, trust God, trust God in this situation, Lord, what would you have me do? You know, and, and sort of like quell my emotion and then go, I trust you to speak right now to my son or to my daughter and Lord, what we do, what would you have me do? And, and what that does is I'm trusting God with myself and I'm trusting God in them as well. And I, and so that frees me up to respond rather than react to whatever stuff is in my brain stem from the way that I grew up. It frees me up to respond instead of simply react out of, out of fear. Because, because I found that the fear was simply, you know, when, when I would, you know, have an interaction with the kids that was where I was too harsh, the it's really love coming through me toward them, right? Because the best, the greatest desire is I want them to, to do well and to have great lives and love people and all that.

So the desire to love was huge, but it was coming through a distorted lens, the lens of fear and independence. So I was there, I was making myself their savior instead of making Jesus my savior and theirs. So that's, that was, that's one of the biggest things that I had to learn as a parent was to take that moment to step back, you know, and recognize that they do belong to God and that God will do what he does in them and what he plans for them.

He will perform it. Well, Ron, I hope, uh, I hope the parents who are listening today heard that point you just made, because I think all of us, by nature, we are inclined to go with our emotions and to come down hard on them rather than asking God, what should be rhyme response, you know, in this present situation. Yeah. Well, Ron, as we come to the end of our program, uh, you know, you've written these 40 meditations and we just barely touched on two or three of them on the program here. Is there one that stands out as being most meaningful to you right now in your own life? Probably the one called electricity. You know, it's about turning on the power. So when, you know, when I go into the kitchen in the, in the early morning, you know, middle of the night to get a drink of water, I turn on the light switch, right? I don't, I don't go, I hope the power's there. Maybe what if the power company, you know, has turned off the power?

You know, I don't, I don't worry about it. It's just an automatic response to flick on the light switch. And so the, the, that devotional is just about turning on that switch, no matter how many times it gets turned off, you just practice turning it on. So you go, you know, Christ is in me. I'm filled full.

I have everything I need. The power's on. And then you feel you, then you have something happen in your life, a situation during the day, and then you don't feel that. And then you're worried.

And then you go, wait a second, let me turn on the switch. Christ is in me and I'm whole and complete in Christ. I'm filled full. And He's going to give me the wisdom I need for this situation. So Lord, I'm trusting you.

And not only that, I'm expecting you, I'm expecting you to give me what I need in this situation, right? To love people properly. And so God delights in that. Like, you know, I mean, people talk about prosperity theology and all that stuff, and you know, God wants you rich and all that.

But this is primarily about having an abundance mindset with God's love, joy, peace, patience, and all the fruits of the Spirit. He delights to give us all that stuff. He may withhold other things. He may go, well, you don't need a lot of money right now because you're kind of leaning toward temptations with that.

So He might do that with money. But when we go, Lord, I trust you as my love for this person, He's not going to go, well, I'm going to withhold that from you because I'm trying to teach you some lesson. He's going to give us what we need. That's what day 30 is about.

It's electricity. It's about Christ, the power of God, 1 Corinthians 1.24. Well, Ron, this has been a really encouraging session. I want to thank you for being with us today. And I want to encourage our listeners to get this book because I think you're going to find your walk with God is going to be strongly impacted by getting the concepts that are in these 40 days. So it's a great book for you to say, okay, God, I want to take a 40-day journey with you here and learn from what Ron has written here. So thanks again, Ron, for being with us. Thanks so much, Dr. Chapman.

I appreciate it. Find out more about Ron and the book, Abiding Dependence, Living Moment by Moment in the Love of God. Just go to

That's And next week, we go from living in light of the love of God to living in the unshakable victory of Christ. Don't miss a conversation with Judy Donegan in one week. A big thank you to our production team today, Steve Wick and Janice Backing, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman as a production of Moody Radio in Chicago, in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening. Moody Radio is so thankful for a 2022 filled with biblical programming, impactful messages and relevant discussion. If you'd like to help us start 2023 Strong, consider a gift at that's
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-10 03:20:44 / 2022-12-10 03:39:49 / 19

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