My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

31 January 2006

Theology & Real Life

So often my problem is faith. Reformed theology is Biblical and thus true, and I'm sold on it, hook, line & sinker. The problem comes, then, when I don't really or fully believe what I say I believe. This came to the forefront in my study of Proverbs 21 last week. You can't swing a dead cat around a reformed church without hitting someone who's talking about God's sovereignty (this is a good thing; not that the cat is dead, but that we talk about God's sovereignty). But Proverbs takes that wonderful tidbit of theology and very uncomfortably presses it into areas of life where I'd rather keep my own sovereignty, thank you very much. The beginning & end of Proverbs 21 are powerful, poetic pictures of the sovereignty of God; everything in the middle of those bookends tells us what it would look like if we fully believed that God is sovereign.

Here, in its essence, is my sermon outline from Sunday night.

If we really & fully believe that God is sovereign...
  • Instead of mocking God's sovereignty through pretended independence (21:4, 24), we would joyfully submit to it;
  • Wives will resist the temptation to be quarrelsome and usurp their husband's authority (21:9,19);
  • We will reject laziness and greed and give ourselves to diligence and charity (21:5, 25-26);
  • We will stop loving the world's pleasures as an end in themsevles (21:17) and give ourselves to things of eternal importance (21:21);
  • We will reject social injustice and rejoice in Christ's justice (21:11,13,15);
  • We will reject interpersonal injustice (21:10) and love our neighbor selflessly (21:23);
  • We will find temporary defeats swallowed up in eternal victory (21:18,22);
  • We will give up religiosity - the form of religion without the heart (21:27) - and practice true religion (21:3)
See - good theology does make a difference!


Alicia said...

I'm guilty.

Catherine said...

I don't know Jared, maybe it IS a good thing that the cat was dead before you started slinging it around at church. I have to imagine that live cats are less long-suffering during that type of treatment than are dead cats (which are, incidentally, the only good cats according to my husband, and I will not try to usurp his authority through contradicting him).

Good post.

Ellen Olivetti said...

Here's what I know about God's sovereignty: He is sovereign and we don't always want him to be. We ALL have areas of our lives where we don't want to bow to God's sovereignty. But our God is a jealous God and he will not share our affections with anyone. So, I have found that, whenever you put something or someone in place of God, he will eventually touch you in those places to teach you who really is in control.

I think, as parents, we often put our children in that place. Even if we think we do not place our children in the spot that God covets, what do we think when God strikes one of them with illness or takes one of them home? We cry, "Not our children, Lord, don't touch them!" Of course, to some extent, we do this because we love our children so much (as God wants us to). But, when God brings something like this into our lives, is our first thought, "Oh, good, God is sovereign and he is doing what is best?" No, not usually.

I have had God touch the two things I had put in God's place: my marriage and my children. And through these tough circumstances, I have learned who is in control and I have also learned first-hand that His ways are not my ways. And, though I may not like the things God has brought into my life to teach me this, I bow to his sovereignty and I rest in it. Until we are ready to say, "Even this, Lord, even this I give to you," he will not be satisfied. God does not want second place.

And, I have also found, that, once I bow to his sovereign will, he often restores to me that which I thought I had lost.

Churck Swindoll once, speaking on God's sovereignty, said that Christians at first may bristle to this doctrine, thinking it hard and unloving. Then, eventually, they may accept it in a sort of fatalistic fashion (Well, I know God's gonna do what he wants anyway). Then, finally, we see this doctrine as a comfort and a surety through the good and the tough times of life.

Praise God He is sovereign!

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