hearing the gospel song

"Like you, I need to hear the gospel song over and over again because my soul is a sieve and the gospel leaks out of it, leaving only the husk of Christianity - my self-righteousness and obligations." Elyse Fitzpatrick in "Counsel from the Cross"

You'll probably have to read that little nugget one more time. I did, anyway.

Is your soul a sieve the gospel leaks out of, leaving the shells of human efforts on top? I feel like no matter how many times I go to the river to fill up my cup, I will soon be found in the desert and empty.

Empty because I let the gospel seep out. Empty because our soul can only be a sieve on this side of heaven.

And that's why we need the gospel song over and over again - because pretending to be filled only keeps us empty.

In the book, Fitzpatrick asks a friend who is struggling, "How do you think the resurrection impacts this circumstance?" Her friend responds, "I know it should but I just don't know how."

How many times is this true of us? We really do believe - in a Sunday knowledge kind of way - that Christ transforms us.

But, we also really believe that Christ has little to do with our best friend's gambling problem or our parents' divorce or our children's grades. We know Christ is in all things and holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), but we also know that little Johnny has had to stay inside from recess because he is spitting at girls.

Can it really be true that the resurrection - that event that took place 2,000 years ago - could impact the gambling and the divorce and the grades and Johnny? And if the resurrection does have impact (because we know it should), does that mean we just expect all those circumstances to change for the better - kind of like neosporin for cuts?

And that's why we need the gospel song over and over again - because pretending to be filled only keeps us empty.

When we tackle gambling and divorce and misbehaving little ones apart from the resurrection, we are aides in destruction. When we believe that God is not relevant or helpful or interested in those matters, we are saying that we are the best solution. We convince ourselves that God is a useful "help in times of trouble" only in certain circumstances and for the rest, it's good old-fashioned DIY (because who knows your problems better than you, anyway?).

How's that working out for you, champ? Not so good, at least for me. Soon enough, I'll come crawling back to the throne of grace with all those husks on the top of the sieve and say, "Lord, I'm empty. Give me some of that gospel truth. Remind me what it means that you died and rose again. Remind me of the resurrection."

The power of the resurrection is in believing God's sovereignty stretched so far to allow the worst suffering in order to allow the most glory and joy.

The truth is, God is not surprised by your gambling or divorce or Johnny's spitting. God is not surprised by your fear or your pride or your greed or your desperate need for coffee at 7 am. He is not surprised when you lust after a married man or worry about your jean size or lie on your taxes.

The power of the resurrection is that God was never surprised at sin - that He sent His Son while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8) - and that Christ's death and resurrection effectively conquers and cancels sin in our lives. Today. Not two thousand years ago. Today - the coffee, the gambling, the pride, Johnny's spitting, the divorce, and the jealousy.

Christ canceled sin when he endured the cross, "for the joy set before Him" (Hebrews 12:2). And this canceling power frees us to have joy in the middle of struggle and pain and confusion.

This sin-canceling power frees us to live like no circumstance will bury us in the ground, because we have been raised up.

So, let the gospel song be sung over you again and again today. Get filled up and then get filled up again. Sing the power of the resurrection until you forget the words and then listen for the words again.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy