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When Doing More Isn’t Always Better

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 28, 2021 9:00 pm

When Doing More Isn’t Always Better

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 28, 2021 9:00 pm

How do we continue to grow spiritually? Dane Ortlund shares that we oftentimes think that we have to do more, but in reality it’s often about doing less and going deeper in the gospel truth.

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Okay so I got a question for you. If a new follower of Christ came up to you, or if one of our boys came up to you and said I really want to grow in my walk with God.

I'm a brand-new follower Christ. How do I grow best when I do say it on, I would see that is already done that. I think how do I love again as I get an argument about Kelly's word and prayer. Like being with other believers. That's usually what I say yeah I think that's honestly what most people say that wrong. I think it's right but I think it's deeper than that. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and Wilson and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find or on our family life. This is family life today. I think it's almost mysterious how God grows us and I think it's a great topic for all of us to understand, especially his parents. So I mean that's a topic were going to tackle today. It's a critical topic before we do we get David Robbins a present family life in the studio that's always fun to edit its year-end for family life and really important times to David talk about why this is such a critical time from life we have such a special opportunity between now and the end of the year where any gift that's given to family life is doubled, dollar for dollar where its impact can be doubled in order to reach more families and when we talk about reaching families and helping them grow in the ways of Jesus. I'm reminded of a family life to the listener that shared with me this they said divorce seemed inevitable for us, but family life. Today's daily encouragement helped us get through the worst valleys or marriages, still far from perfect but were no longer at a place where divorce is an option thank you so much for sharing God's word with my family and that's what were about sharing the timeless truths of God's word giving you that encouragement in the valleys when you need it and we all know that we needed at this year as you consider your urine giving would you consider giving to family life any amount matters and it helps us double the impact because of that matching gift.

Please give if you can between now and the end of the year. So if you like to jump in. Here's what you do go to family life and you can make a donation there or you can call us at one 800 FL today and become a partner with us. It's gonna make a huge difference in not only your life but in your neighbors Well this is really such a great opportunity to go to family is critical at this time year and were hoping that you become financial partners, prayer partners with this it makes everything happen here family life today, and today we have Dana Cortlandt back with us wrote a book called deeper, which is all about. How does a follower Christ grow in his relation with Christ.

Again, welcome to family life today and it is always great to talk with you a ton of funds will think you you've written a book called deeper in the subtitle is real change for real sinners and we loved reading this yes is I think it's a classic work on this topic.

As you know is that your pastor in Naperville of Naperville pressure jury not been a pastor for 30 years.

This is something close to our heart's pastors help and lead people and that is the biggest question I asked how so you and your wife have five kids and so this is something like your teaching your kids to your modeling this to them so we can get you to dig into this. How do we change because of you and I like your subtitle real change for real sinners and I'm living with the real sinners.

She said right to change or it is not working so there must be a deeper way. Okay so yeah you go where we were like if your kids ask you or anybody. How do I change where you start. So, will that subtitle was very carefully chosen is real change for real sinners as opposed to what we all tend to naturally intuitively think, which is the way I grow is really about kind of behavioral change, external change doing something differently in my life, cutting carbs, getting up earlier for real sinners as opposed to theoretical sinners and we all believe we are born sinful. Okay, that's true, but actually we are proving that doctrine every day in her actual life so I'm I'm wrestling in this book with what the Scripture says, under the coaching of great thinkers from the past as to how do we enjoy real change, not merely behavioral for real sinners, not merely theoretical sinners and actually Dave that's me. I am frustrated in my life with how little how much it feels like two steps forward and five steps backward in a given day, week or month and I want to keep growing in this and I think many of us Christians, but would take all believers know what that is to note like I feel like I'm on a treadmill. How do I really begin to get traction in my spiritual life. Yeah man, I think a lot of people can relate to. 40+ years into my Christian walk came to Christ in my just before us 20 years old. Well, I just told her listeners how old I am tonight.

There's a thing you know 40+ years and I'm I resonate with what you said Dana it's like, okay, I've seen God transform my life. I'm a different man than I was, but boil boy I thought to be a lot farther along than where I am. And like you said it's like two steps for me 20 steps backward yeah exactly Dave I know what you mean and I think I'm probably going to die one day, still feeling that way. So praise God for the gospel but to look back 27 to what I say to my kids when they come to me or to someone sits down in my office here Naperville's is not really struggling. How do I grow there's 100 things to say. But here's number one on the list.

Number one on the list is exactly what and set at the top of the show here. I do is the Lord Jesus, we grow by going deeper into the Lord Jesus and what was true of us at our conversion, not by graduating on to other tricks, tips and strategies. Who is Jesus. Ephesians 38.

The unsearchable riches of Christ, I've come to believe the way that we grow and get traction in the Christian life is by sinking more deeply into who Jesus in all his multifaceted wonder is, as our Lord, Savior, friend, and deliver so that's the banner over which I would want to frame everything about how we grow is intriguing like even as you say that one of the things he also said is the basic point of this book exchange is a matter of what you said ain't going deeper Christian growth is bringing what you do and say anything feel into line with what in fact, you already are right real change occurs through this reality, the life of God in the soul of man talk about that all guys, when we read the New Testament, there is actually not that much about growing that it's there it's there. What a grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4 and so on. But, for example, to take first, second and third John there is not a word about growth in those three letters. Here's the consistent ringing message of the New Testament and growth slots and under this the message of the New Testament for the Christian life is be who you now are I have, by the grace of God is someone united to Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit dwelling in me. I have everything I need to grow. I don't even look outward and elsewhere. Yes, we need to be part of a local church and have a community and there's all kinds of footnotes to this, but the point of the New Testament is you are now a son or a daughter of God, justified, adopted and reconciled live in light of it back to you our walk in light with who you are. That's the consistent rhythm of the New Testament will talk about that than if you are saying growth is. Be who you now are part of me thinks oh that's an inward look at myself not an upward look at who Jesus is.

So balance out those two perspectives. That's a great objection David that some are doubtless saying the answer is on the one hand, the way we be who we now are is by learning more resolutely all the time to look out of ourselves at the Lord Jesus fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12.

But here's the point. As we go to the Christian life. What were doing us here so when they've really hurt me and offended me.

How do I deal with that. The answer is forgive as I have been forgiven.

How do I bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I don't get on the fruit of the Holy and click sign me up. I recognize the Holy Spirit is within me. I simply need to keep in step with who I now am I have been lifted out of the old age and parachuted into the new age. I still live in the old age in the sense that the flesh is still strong in me.

I still stand.

I'm still fallen, yes, but my ID card spiritually says in heaven. I need to now live in light of what is already true of me. The reason I'm putting it this way, guys. It's liberating is freeing. I don't need to like so much achieve some new level of holiness. I just need to what I'm told is interview walk out of my office and love others mindful of how audaciously invisibly and permanently loved. I am by God here that we know that Mike intellectually hearing we agree with it.

We know it sound biblical teaching. Why we fail and why don't we live like that because we are real sinners, so this is guys. Here's one of things I want to say in the book is under a chapter called acquittal. What I wanted to say is if you want to grow in Christ and are frustrated because you're not, that's a sign that God is in you, that itself is so giving. Okay number one number 21 Key Way and that we keep growing is by never losing sight of the good news the gospel that got us in in the first place would be stumbling and battling her way forward really messing up all the time and 1 Key Way that we get traction in the Christian life is by constantly returning to pressing refresh on the good news. The scandalous gospel that got us in that is never irrelevant. It's not like we need that to get in and then we move on other things and then we die one day we needed again that no it's what keeps us in the air all the way along. I think that's so true I can thinking of myself supervising steps going on and I just like running hard.

My schedule is so crazy I'm not getting a chance to spend time with Jesus. I find myself struggling because I am.

We can and I see hand and I'm experiencing and reminding myself of his great love is what changes mean it motivates me and and that's what draws me back to him because I need to be reminded daily, sometimes hourly of that love because I feel like the world is constantly making us feel like they are failing their failing we are failing and so I think you're right to go deeper is seeing Jesus, reminding us of the gospel and all that he's done and paid for us. I love that. And I agree strongly and just to add a little brief footnote on to that we don't change. By focusing on change, we change by focusing on Christ and change comes in the back door. We don't mainly grow by thinking about all my growing or not. I know that becomes what they were saying to really self reflective like were holding up a mirror to ourselves all the time. But what if instead of a mirror we were holding up a window looking at Christ.

That's actually what changes us beholding him yeah and I love how you open the book doing that for the reader.

Page 22 Sayville let me ask you to open yourself up to the possibility that one reason you see modest growth and ongoing sin in your life. If that is indeed the case is that the Jesus you are following. I love how you wrote this is a junior varsity Jesus and unwittingly reduce Jesus and unsurprising and predictable. Jesus, you know I've said many times as a pastor is not the size your faith that matters is the size of your God. You know, and it's like we always think I need bigger faith I want.

I want to grow my faith.

And yet it's like of faith to be muster C size benefits in the right object. If we understand who Jesus really is. So you take the early part of your book and say let me show you who Jesus is.

Talk about any one of those attributes could you walk through several that I've never seen written the way you wrote. It's not about anything our listeners like listening on this all need to be reminded of this and it because it changes us.

Well, here's one way I would start to answer that question David, thank you for that because is the Jesus we are bored with is not the real Jesus if you're bored with Jesus. The problem is you, not him about talking to you to put anyone at myself at the top of the list. Why do I just get so flat and like ho-hum about the Lord Jesus because I don't see who he really is the real Jesus is not boring. The real Jesus is irresistible and inexhaustible. And that's what I wanted to do in the first chapters just try to draw out some ways that the Lord Jesus looms larger than we realize. So for example one little section.

There was reflecting on the intercession of Jesus. That's a big theological word, but the New Testament gives it to us and all that means is Jesus is not twiddling his thumbs in heaven right now and he did his real job. 2000 years ago and now he's exhausted. His job description know he's in heaven before the Angels in the court of heaven before the father interceding on our behalf. It doesn't mean he's making this anymore saved what it means is he is applying our full salvation in the court of heaven. In other words, here I am, here's Dane stumbling his way in sending his way through his little messy life and not only is it true that Jesus Christ died for me and therefore I am justified.

I'm free to leave the courtroom. It is also true. He's interceding for me and therefore he is reminding the whole coast of heaven of just how justified, forgiven and safe.

I am so I don't think we talk about that enough guys the intercession of Christ is wonderfully comforting and I love when you talk about that the book he said the reason he's interceding is we are still sitting yes I Christ done in a sea trial.

Interestingly enough, because right now were still stumbling along like he said talk about befriending. I love that aspect when you're about that what we we say in our evangelical world and we should that the Lord Jesus is our Lord and our Savior hallelujah amen. But that's not the only thing to say about him.

He could be our Lord and our Savior and really we functionally look at a more like an employer but actually he says in John 15 I no longer call you servants.

I call you friends we've diluted the category of friendship through Facebook and other things but think of what the word friend means hear someone who is with me going through my life, shoulder to shoulder with me is not only above me is not only within me. He's next to me navigating life at my side. He is my friend.

He always lets me and it never lets me down and here's the glory of he never misunderstands me to put that way, we have friends and they nod and smile, say, let me pray for you and they understand partially, but no one ever fully exhaustively understands hundred percent all the weirdness going on inside of me that is making life hard. Even a spouse. Jesus Christ is the friend of sinners and he always understands us perfectly perfect solidarity sets glory sleep comforting so I mean as beautiful as you described this image of who Jesus really is.

Here's my question.

Why do we forget this why it is that get lost. I mean I wish I was talking for somebody else but I'm done for me. I know the things you said I I think I've understood I might read them in Scripture. I've taught them getting Greek and Hebrew, then so often in my life. It's like I live without that vision of Jesus present in my mind is so true me today for me were likely key buckets is is constantly leaking out of us or will like. It's like this. If I shift my heart into neutral. I drift away from wondering being startled and surprised praising the Lord Jesus Christ worshiping my way forward into change.

I have no idea what the answer to your question is not if you figured out. Tell me, but we are worse were fallen sinners Army work is just who we are. So that's really the main thing that we need to have sort of is the banner of the umbrella over what we're saying is were talking about how we change is that God has changeless embrace of us, despite our changing levels of sanctification and growth and obedience. There's something unchangeable. And that's the Lord's own hug.

That's the Lord's own pulling of us into his own heart and are safe and secure adopted status as his children, so your question because it is so hard to answer is why we must always be grabbing onto the gospel and never letting go of it as were wrestling with why we are so weird and bad at growing I think to you as a family, as a husband and wife and with our kids. I think the thing that our kids see Dell is that wrestling I think that's okay that we continue to run after Jesus we might fall down were scraped were scanned to see us get back up and continue to pursue and run after Jesus. I think our kids see that and that's important. Amen. And I am screwing up all the time. As a dad and a husband okay that's true at the least, could my wife and my kids see someone who is repentant, someone who has humility in the wake of screwing up what I want is a home where pretenses low rather than a home where pretenses high and roll faking it.

I'm yelling at them in the minivan all the way to church and then we pull of the park lies are, everyone paid a smile on now. Hence I don't want that and I want my kids to grow up and so you know my dad screwed a lot of things up, but when he did he apologized, so that was a real Christian who was raising us in our home. So I agree with what you just said and how would we, in our homes and our marriages and our families be different if we went to Scripture, not as a spiritual discipline for growth, although that will be a byproduct if we went to Scripture merely to get a real good look at who guided us through Jesus. I mean that I'm if I'm a husband listening today that's my action seven from a wife. Unlike go grab your Bible open it up and say God show me who you are and you will see him in a way, maybe you haven't seen, and that will change you and change your family and change your legacy that one action step is that critical. Amen I I grew up and saw my mom on the couch downstairs every time I groggily stumbled downstairs as a kid with her cup of tea under Bible open every single morning she was doing what you are just describing Davis Markley for life.

The Bible says about itself that the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, the Bible does surgery on us cutting away what doesn't need to be in our lives and helping to strengthen what does need to be there as we think about New Year's resolutions about change in 2022. We want to pursue that which is real and substantive.

Not that which is just cosmetic, but what we want to change on the inside, not just change your behavior.

That's what Dane or Clinton addresses in the book that he's written called deeper. The subtitle is real change for real sinners. That includes all of us and we have copies of Dane's book available in our family like today resource Center. This would be a great book for you to start off the new year as you think about the changes you need to see in your own heart and life go to family life to order your copy of deeper real change for real sinners by Dane Orland.

You can order online or you can call one 800 FL today to get your copy in the website family life to or you can call one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today. I want you to think for just a minute about times in your life when you have been waiting for important news waiting to find out something that you've been wondering about even praying about for a while.

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