Saturday, April 17, 2010

Doctrine - I thought that was for the Medical Profession

I have seen the sermon series on that was delivered before this book was published. I's great teaching. Not the kind of child like patronizing easy read that seems prevalent but more well researched theologically sound research. Not thoughts and opinions for information. I reckon it'll be of particular value to the atheist or pagan interested to know what on earth charges the batteries of Christians. Here's a useful insight:

The ensuing problem is that our marriage, children, appearance,
wealth, success, career, religious performance, political party, cause, lov-
ing relationship, possession, hobby, pleasure, status, and power crumble
under the weight of being god to us. Regarding the instability of an identity
based upon anything other than Jesus Christ's saving work to claim us as
his own, Keller says:

If anything threatens your identity you will not just be anxious but para-
lyzed with fear. If you lose your identity through the failings of some-
one else you will not just be resentful, but locked into bitterness. If you
lose it through your own failings, you will hate or despise yourself as a
failure as long as you live. Only if your identity is built on God and his
love, says Kierkegaard, can you have a self that can venture anything,
face anything. . . . An identity not based on God also leads inevitably
to deep forms of addiction. When we turn good things into ultimate
things, we are, as it were, spiritually addicted. If we take our meaning
in life from our family, our work, a cause, or some achievement other
than God, they enslave us. We have to have them.

As God's image bearers we will have a true, lasting, deep, satisfying,
and sufficiently rooted identity only in God's love. Keller says:
Remember this--if you don't live for Jesus you will live for something
else. If you live for career and you don't do well it may punish you all
of your life, and you will feel like a failure. If you live for your children
and they don't turn out all right you could be absolutely in torment
because you feel worthless as a person.

If Jesus is your center and Lord and you fail him, he will forgive
you. Your career can't die for your sins. You might say, "If I were a
Christian I'd be going around pursued by guilt all the time!" But we
all are being pursued by guilt because we must have an identity and
there must be some standard to live up to by which we get that identity.

Whatever you base your life on--you have to live up to that. Jesus is
the one Lord you can live for who died for you--one who breathed his
last for you. Does that sound oppressive?

This explains why those whose idol is beauty become frantic to
maintain their appearance, even if it should compel them toward eating
disorders, abuse of cosmetic surgery, and panic as they age. Similarly,
this helps to explain why those who are the richest and most famous
among us struggle with substance abuse, depression, and even suicidal

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