Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mowing Down The Competition!

My lawn is in a constant state of readiness! 
- Hank Hill, King of The Hill
I cannot tell you how many times I'll mow my lawn this summer.   My best guess is somewhere around 35-45 times.    Here in Tyler, TX most homes are surrounded with plush St. Augustine grass.  Native to Mexico, St. Augustine grass thrives in hot temperatures and grows thick and fast.   And so I mow, I mow, it's off to work I go.   Through July and August it's nearly twice a week! 

It seems like I've barely begun to enjoy the way my lawn looks when it's time to mow again.   There's nothing I can do to slow down the growth.   It can only be trimmed with discipline.   That's the only hope for a well-maintained (read: "Hank Hill-esque")lawn.

The Gospel has a similar effect on my all-too-often "over-grown" heart.....     

But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown it brings forth death. - James 1:14-15

It's hard to miss James' description of the botanical nature of sin which "grows" like a weed around our hearts choking out life and bringing only spiritual death.  Only a to the degree that I am moved by the knowledge of the truth of The Gospel is Christ's power unleashed in my life.

Thus, it seems like all I speak about these days is The Gospel.   Over and over again I find myself  quoting the same authors' and preachers' quotes about The Gospel, thinking the same thoughts about The Gospel and searching for presence or the absence of The Gospel in films, songs, and even television shows.   I can't get enough of The Gospel and I'm not just saying that..... 

I preach to you today not because I fully believe The Gospel but because I don't fully believe The Gospel.  I'm not just preaching to you - I'm preaching to me.  
- Tullian Tchividjian

It's actually true that though I accept The Gospel intellectually I find myself rejecting The Gospel through my thoughts and actions daily.   After all what is sin but a rejection of the idea that I have been purchased at the greatest cost by the one true God who loves me enough to not only provide salvation but also deliver me now from bondage to sin by the power of His Spirit.   Sin is my saying to God, consciously or sub-consciously, "I'd like to do it my way because You don't have all I need".

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. - Rom 6:3-4

I have to keep running The Gospel over the terrain of my heart because my flesh grows grows so fast in the climate of this world.   The world tells us "look out for number one", "you can't love others unless you love yourself first",  and "seek your best life now".   But The Word counters these claims confirming the truth about Christ in 1st John 4:4, He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world.  These selfish worldly philosophies have been judged and found wanting by a God who has with total selflessness laid down His own life to reconcile Himself to us.

The truth is in God's economy sin no longer has dominion over my heart because of the faith I have that Christ's (past) death on the cross has eternally (future) atoned for my sin and his (present) presence within me provides power to enjoy and glorify Him through my obedience to Him and for the sake of The Gospel.  Praise God that my "old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin" (Rom. 6:6).

So utterly dominating is Christ's love for me on the cross that He has literally mowed down the competition eternally.   This is why I preach to myself again and again the power of His finished work that I might know to my core that I am being protected against the wiles of the enemy,  prodded by His Spirit towards a firmer faith in Him and preserved for a place of eternal union with my Heavenly Father.

If God is for us, who can be against us - Rom. 8:31

How many more times.....will I preach it, hear it, sing of it, read about it, write about it and search for signs of it?   Answer: By His grace daily until The King calls me home or brings His kingdom here.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. - Rom. 1:16

Peace and Grace,

This Week... 

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am, Wednesday AM - Kings Cross Chapter 11
   @ 2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* The Magills @ Central Presbyterian Church - NYC, NY - Sunday at 11am!


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