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Monday, July 19, 2010

Doctrine that Inspires Ambition

Today, I continued working my way through Dave Harvey's "Rescuing Ambition," which if you haven't noticed I highly recommend, in which Harvey makes the following statement:

If our understanding of doctrine creates passivity toward God's empowering presence or cools the hot embers of our ambition, we've misunderstood God's sovereignty.

Wow. I'm not even sure where to begin (in fact, this may turn into multiple posts).  I suppose I will begin by addressing "passivity toward God's empowering presence."  I have definitely felt that before.  Quite a few times, actually.  And as Harvey points out, it was absolutely due to some kind of misunderstanding about God's sovereignty (as many things are).  Shortly before addressing God's sovereignty, Harvey quotes from Hebrews:

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him." (Heb. 11:6)

I'd like to say that I've believed that God exists for most of my life.  But this second part of faith, believing that God rewards those who seek Him:  this is a relatively new concept for me.  The first time the idea was really introduced to me was about 4 years ago as I listened to a message by John Piper, the famous "Christian Hedonist."  And, like so many unfortunate lessons in my life, the idea was buried for a long time.  Now, it has resurfaced, and I've come to the realization that most of my walk with Christ has been shrouded in unbelief in Him; I have never really believed that God, the creator of the Universe, that big Man in the sky, would ever want to reward me for anything.  To me, He was always just watching from far off as I stumbled through this life and made a fool of myself time after time after time.  And now I can see just how foolish I was:  my diluted faith did not reflect God's grace when He sent His Son to die on the Cross for my sins.  It did not pursue a glorious, empowering God who created desire, passion, and ambition; and it did not allow God's sovereignty to enter my life. And now it is my prayer that my sovereign God will eliminate any remaining unbelief or passivity in my life, as I continue to study His doctrine.

(To Be Continued)

-Nick Natoli, Building Bookcases writer

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