Monday, February 17, 2020

Gospel Fluency in Knowing Just How Great, Glorious, Good & Gracious Jesus, Our God and King, Is

Gospel Fluency: Remembering the 4 Gs of God Helps Reveal that Jesus is Better than Any Other Thing We Could Worship, Including Ourselves

"The human heart is an idol factory." Both Neitzsche and Calvin said this, two men who had very different views of God and the world, but spoke the truth plainly and clearly.

More recently, David Foster Wallace elaborated on this aspect of humanity in his famous "This is Water" commencement speech at Kenyon College:

"Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god to worship is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly. Worship power, and you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need even more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship … is that they're unconscious. They are default settings."

So if all the things result in worshipping the person in the mirror, which will only lead to my end, how does trusting in God help me worship Someone who is actually worthy of my worship and will lead to more life?

The 4 Gs of God: Good, Gracious, Great, Glorious

In his books You Can Change and Everyday Church, Tim Chester thoughtfully brings together four attributes of God found in the Scriptures (ex. Psalm 145:5-8 include all four) that help evaluate the areas where we tend to worship ourselves instead of God, how this shapes our life when we settle for less, and how Jesus is better. Jeff Vanderstelt also delves into this some more in Gospel Fluency.

Below are the "4 Gs of God" Jesus continues to help me learn how to live into worshiping the only One who will not crush me, but save me and make me whole.

(1) God is the Good Creator.

Jesus: Jesus is God's best gift for me as the Bread of Life and living water; satisfaction in His goodness is everlasting because He is making me everlasting as part of His new creation.
Worship Response: God is more worthy of my worship because of His goodness, which means I don't have to look anywhere else for my satisfaction.

Substitute IdolI am my provider, which means I always tend to need to create or get the next best thing to be truly satisfied.
Worship Response: Life is often wanting. I need another emotional, circumstantial, or chemical high to pick me up. I complain a lot. People around me often feel the burden of needing to meet my needs. I don't tend to be fully committed to anyone for very long, but I tend to get over committed to many things.

Vince Larson, New City Shorthand: Hooked? Where am I hooked? How does God's goodness free me instead?

(2) God is my Gracious Father.

Jesus: Jesus was sent by His Gracious Father to perform every aspect of life perfectly for me, and His work on my behalf to reconcile me to God is completely finished.
Worship Response: God is more worthy of my worship because of His grace, which means I don't have to live to prove myself to others anymore.

Substitute Idol: I am my performance manager, which means I need to perform in life at a certain level to feel worthy of being accepted by myself, and others need to perform for me to accept them.
Worship Response: If people don't thank me for what I do, I can emotionally manipulate them to make them feel guilty. I don't take criticism and failure well; in fact, these often crush me and/or make me defensive. You won't find me restful or relaxed when there's always something more I could be doing. And I'm either proud of my recent success or envious of others' which results in me being distant from those who have inexpressible joy. 

Vince Larson, New City Shorthand: Cold? Who or what am I cold to? How does God's grace warm my heart instead?

(3) God is my Great Redeemer.

Jesus: Jesus is the Great Redeemer who can transform even what was meant for evil into something good; He leads me better than I can lead myself and sets me free from being enslaved to self protection.
Worship Response: God is more worthy of my worship because of His greatness to handle any situation and transform it, which means I can rest in His control.

Substitute Idol: I am my redeemer, which means I need to feel like I am in control in most situations in life, if not all, in order for them to turn out well.
Worship Response: I don't tend to be very flexible with my plans, and I'm not much for taking risks for the sake of others. I'm very impatient with people if they don't follow my advice. I also tend to avoid responsibilities I'm not interested in or would have to sacrifice for, and tend to be overbearing with those who I think should be responsive to me.

Vince Larson, New City Shorthand: Proud? Where am I proud? How does God's greatness humble me instead?

(4) God is my Glorious King.

Jesus: Jesus is the King whose glory can be my main focus, so I don't have to continue to fight for my own glory or receive it from others.
Worship Response: God is more worthy of my worship because of His glory, so I can be myself and don't have to live in fear of others or their perception of me.

Substitute Idol: I am my king, which means I need consistent approval from others so that I don't fear what they think about me.
Worship Response: I tend to avoid confrontation and crave acceptance. I behave differently around certain people and often hide my true self. Contentment with life is based on who has complimented me recently. And I often secretly fear what others think of me.

Vince Larson, New City Shorthand: Scared? Who or what am I scared of? How does God's glory bring me peace instead?

P.S. Bonus Gospel Fluency post:

Gospel Fluency Helps Us Get to the Root of Our Unbelief so We Can Turn to Jesus and Experience the Fruit of His Spirit

+ Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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