This summer I have been reading Elyse Fitzpatrick’s, “Because He Loves Me”~ hence the reason for so many quotes by her in my Daily Demotions. I actually hesitated to pick this book up in the first place. The fact of the matter is that in the church today, we are not a people in danger of neglecting the knowledge of “God as Love.” The sheer volume of “Christian” self-help books certainly affirms that truth. And Ms. Fitzpatrick actually diagrams God’s love for us with precision throughout the first half of the book, “Grasping the reality of God’s love will provide every answer to every question we have about him and ourselves. It will tell us who we are, why we’re here, and how we’re supposed to do what we’re supposed to be doing. Delighting in God’s love will transform everything about us, including who we are, our identity.”
But her goal, her thesis if you will, is not necessarily that we need to grasp this truth at a deeper level. Rather, she is concerned with what we DO with it. “Once we’ve understood and accepted the message of the gospel, the person and work of the Redeemer becomes secondary to what we’re focusing on, living the Christian life. Our attention is primarily focused on US, on our performance, on our spiritual growth. We know that the incarnation and resurrection are important truths to our initial salvation, but that’s pretty much where their impact ends.”
Instead of continuing our gaze on the wonderful promises and sacrifices of the Father, having that as the impetus for our actions, reactions, and sanctification, we instead turn inward. Our focus and attention shifts from what God did to what we do, to self-improvement and self-made holiness.
Today I turned the page into the second half of the book and had an aha! moment which I immediately termed, “If….Then.” I know I have heard it before, and I am certain that most of you have as well. However, in light of the first half of this book on God’s love and sacrifice…the “If,” I have realized a greater appreciation of “Then.”
So that was a long-winded introduction for the Daily Demotion, but without further ado, here it is…
“The only motive that will empower God-pleasing compliance? What God has already done. We’ve already been forgiven in Christ. So many of us cavalierly gloss over what he has done and zero in on what we’re to do, and that shift, though it might seem slight, makes all the difference in the world. Our obedience has its origin in God’s prior action, and forgetting that truth results in self-righteousness, pride and despair.”