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Fight for Your Happiness Part Four

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted June 3, 2015

RELIGION – What is on your “to do” list or more importantly what is on your wife’s “honey do” list for you? Most of us continually have many “irons in the fire” and live in perpetual catch up. Then we all face those moments when we just can’t catch up and we feel our joy drain, and at times a depressive funk come over us. We are trying this week to find a remedy from the continual need “to do” and how we can stop and celebrate a very important “done!”

We will continue to look at David Murray’s Book “The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World.” It would make a great lesson series for a Sunday School class or small group Bible study.

The foundation of Christianity is the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is a message of done! We mess this up as we present Christianity as a message of “do’s and don’ts” when it is at its core a message of “Done!” Murray writes that “Jesus lived the life I could not live and died the death I dare not die. He took my duties and performed them perfectly; He took my failures and paid the penalty. That’s the foundation, the starting point, the beginning of all true Christianity. Done! Done! Done!”
But why is it that we can’t relax and enjoy the finished work of Jesus? David Murray lists many.

One: Our Accusing Conscience. We have these inner voices that can make us think we hear God saying to us “you are not good enough, you need to work harder to please me! Don’t forget I died for you and you better pay me back and earn my love!” This is not of God at all! It is Satan screaming and anti-Gospel in your mind and you thinking it is Jesus. 1 John 3:20 “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.”

Two: Your demanding preacher and needy church! I am guilty of this on all charges. There is a need to have “toes stepped on” but if people are just left with guilt and doubt and their own resolve to improve with it will be doomed to fail. We need to be confronted with our sins, but more overwhelming and powerful should be our Savior who died to cover those sins.

Three: Work for what you get mentality. We are taught from our youngest age, you work hard and you will get what you deserve! So why would this not carry over to my walk with Jesus? I am not saying that you should not work hard at your walk with Jesus at all. I am saying the Gospel is Christ works, but I get the reward. I don’t work, but I get paid! When we get this work is joyful and productive and not slaving drudgery (as many in the church seem to be.)

Four: Our repeated failures. We can think Jesus work is done, but ours has just begun. If we are honest, the “best” Christian is always flawed. We are far from the prefect, the closer I get to Jesus the more I see and know this in my own life. It is hard to see the work of our salvation being done, when we fail so much. David Murray writes “We get in by His Done. We stay in by His Done. We finish by His Done. If not, we’re done.”

Now, a few years back I would have been scared by this sort of assessment. I would have thought if you preached Christ’s Done too much, people will end up doing nothing. They’ll just coast along in life and care nothing about holiness or service. I thought I needed to guilt people into holy living and good works. I saw that could work to a limited extent. But, that those who are burdened with guilt, fear, and anxiety may do a lot in the short term, but in the long run the most godly and energetic Christians are those who have most completely embraced and enjoyed the guilt-cleansing, fear-expelling, and anxiety-calming power of Christ’s Done.

I was preaching this, because this was sadly how I was living my life. I was a spiritually Bi-Polar mess. I would be living great and looking down on others one day and then discouraged and in the dumps at my sin and wonder about my salvation. But, thankfully looking the Gospel and getting to know Jesus has freed me from that. I can still get prideful and down in the dumps, but I stay there a lot less and I humbled and encouraged by that done of Jesus on my behalf!

So thankful for the finished work of Christ on my behalf and in my place! Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

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