Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Key to a Satisfying Christian Life: Hope From MacArthur's Pen

I am sitting here studying for Bible study tonight and as I always do, I read John MacArthur's commentary and other resources on the book of Romans and the issues it presents. MacArthur has been a big influence in my life and I encourage you to devour all that he has (and he has a lot to devour!). Have you ever wondered what the key to a satisfying Christian life is? Here is MacArthur's answers taken from Romans 12:1-2:

"Some years ago, a tearful and obviously distraught young woman approached me at a conference where I was speaking. She told me a story I have heard many times. ‘I just can’t seem to live the Christian life the way I should,’ she said. ‘I’m frustrated. I don’t have spiritual victory or a sense of accomplishment. I struggle with the simplest forms of obedience, and I’m constantly defeated. Can you help me?’

I said, ‘What has been your approach to solving the problems yourself?’ She replied, ‘I’ve tried everything, I’ve attended churches where they speak in tongues, have healings, and have all kinds of extraordinary spiritual experiences. I’ve spoken in tongues myself, had ecstatic experiences, been prophesied over, and experienced several supposed miracles. I’ve been ‘slain in the spirit.’ But despite all of that, I’m not pleased with my life and I know God isn’t pleased. I’ve tried to get everything from Him that I can, but I’m not satisfied. I’m still miserable and want more.’

‘I think you have just put your finger on the problem,’ I said. ‘The key to spiritual victory and true happiness is not in trying to get all we can from God but in giving all that we are and have to Him.’

Countless thousands of people today, including many genuine Christians, flock to various churches, seminars, and conferences in search of personal benefits – practical, emotional, and spiritual – that they hope to receive. They do just the opposite of what Paul so plainly emphasizes in Romans 12:1-2. In this forceful and compassionate exhortation, the apostle does not focus on what more we need to receive from God but on what we are to give Him. The key to a product and satisfying Christian life is not in getting more but in giving all." -MacArthur, Romans 9-16, 138-139

He's exactly right. We run around trying to get from God when we should be giving to God. Once we realize that God, through Christ, has accomplished all that we need (salvation, sanctification, holiness, hope, joy, peace, etc.) we must give to God. We must give our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our attitude, our wallets, and even our lives. God has given us all, we must then, give all. How could we not? God gave us His Son, and we think it trivial to give Him our possessions or schedule or plans. God save us from such selfishness!

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