Health

Godliness With Contentment (1 Timothy 6:3-10)

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 I saw a cartoon this week where a guy turns to his friend and says, “Do you think Jesus died so we could lead a more comfortable life, Like being a disciple of Jesus is really about being nice and succeeding in life? Like God just wants us to be happy, wealthy, and healthy?”  It’s a good question. What’s the end game in Christianity? What’s the point? What kind of life should we expect as followers of Christ? What does God ultimately want for us? We find an insightful answer in Paul’s letter to Timothy.

Timothy, teach these instructions, and appeal to those under your ministry to live by them. If others are teaching otherwise and bringing unhealthy conversations to the community, if they are not sticking to the sound words in the teaching of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, if they are not teaching godly principles —  then they are swollen with conceit, filled with self-importance, and without any proper understanding. 

They probably have a gross infatuation with controversy and will endlessly debate meanings of words. That kind of talk leads to envy, discord, slander, and evil mistrust;  and these people constantly bicker because they are depraved in their minds and bereft of the truth. They think somehow that godliness is the way to get ahead financially. 

This is ironic because godliness, along with contentment, is great gain - it gives us great wealth but not in the ways some imagine. You see we came into this world with nothing, and nothing is going with us on the way out!  So as long as we are clothed and fed, we should be happy.

But those who chase riches are constantly falling into temptation and snares. They are regularly caught by their own stupid and harmful desires, dragged down and pulled under into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money—and what it can buy—is the root of all sorts of evil. Some already have wandered away from the true faith because they craved what it had to offer; but when reaching for the prize, they found their hands and hearts pierced with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:3-10)

Our culture tells its own story about what the end game of life is. It’s apparently a lot of money, an exciting sex life, a desirable body, a huge reputation, great vacations. Only then do you have the good life. And there is something alluring about that, right? Who wouldn’t want those things? Anybody craving to be poor or unnoticed? Anybody planning to get married thinking, “I hope our sex life just falls apart”? Anybody hoping to vacation close to my house in Grawn instead of in France? Nobody?

It’s not those things that are bad. Of course we are drawn to them. Sex, money, health, freedom, and a good reputation are not bad things. It’s the degree to which we love them and desire them that can trip us up. Because of sin, our culture takes good things and distorts them or misuses them. It’s the trickiest kind of temptation. It’s not money, it’s the love of money. It’s not things, it’s the love of things. It’s not sex or health or comfort, it’s the love, the craving, the belief that those things are the point of life. 

What we see here in 1 Timothy is that if we aren’t careful, we simply move that perspective into church life. The “love of money” verse isn’t about everybody who has money. It’s about those who believe that being a follower of Christ is just another way to be wealthy, and by wealthy they mean exactly what the world means. It turned out that they weren’t interested in Christ. They were interested in His toys. They wanted a Jesus who would cater to them. They wanted a “god with benefits” where they could show up, get what they wanted to make them feel good, and then go on their way.

The bottom line is that they believed that God + Something Else = Great Gain. When this kind of concept creeps in, the issues usually become bigger than just money: godliness and an exciting sex life is great gain, godliness and a desirable body are great gain, godliness and a huge reputation are great gain.   

In this climate we will hear really unhelpful and false phrases like, “God wants everybody to be rich. God wants everybody to be healthy. God wants everybody to be able to accumulate things and look impressive and always be comfortable. If you don’t have it, you’re the problem. Just have more faith and do everything right, and you will earn your reward. ” Nobody will say it, but it sure looks like genuine godliness means you can gain the whole world and keep your soul. It looks like if you deny yourself and take up your cross you will be able to indulge yourself and take up your wallet.

Paul says people who believe this are “without understanding” and “bereft of truth.”  The belief that Christ died and rose again so we can make money or never be sick or always be happy is simply wrong. And like any idea, it has consequences.

 Of course they were full of themselves. If they had money (or health, or whatever counts a wealth in their culture), then they were clearly on a different spiritual plane than everyone else. Of course there are going to be arguments. The ones not getting rich have to defend themselves. If they lose their job, they have to explain their sin or their lack of faith.

It’s so much at odds with the Bible and church history that in order to sustain they argument they have to deconstruct the message of the Bible, reading a word instead of a verse, a verse instead of a whole chapter, a chapter instead of whole books, or looking at the life of once character in the Bible and assuming it’s normative for everyone. (“Look how Jabez prayed! If I pray that I will get what Jabez got! It’s a promise for everybody!”)  

People in this position become toxic to others: envy, discord, slander, and mistrust are the obvious fruit. They are pierced through with sorrows, because idols will always fail us. We will never have enough. If God + anything = contentment, we will always need more and better things to go along with God. I like how Matt Chandler summarizes the issue:

“The universe shudders in horror that we have this infinitely valuable, infinitely deep, infinitely rich, infinitely wise, infinitely loving God, and instead of pursuing him with steadfast passion and enthralled fury — instead of loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; instead of attributing to him glory and honor and praise and power and wisdom and strength — we just try to take his toys and run. It is still idolatry to want God for his benefits but not for himself.”

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Fortunately, Paul doesn’t stop there. He gives the antidote:

“Godliness, along with contentment, gives us great wealth but not in the ways some imagine. You see we came into this world with nothing, and nothing is going with us on the way out! So as long as we are clothed and fed, we should be happy.”

 Godliness is literally "godly heart-response expressing itself in reverence for God and the things He says are worthy of veneration” – reverence for what he says matters (biblehub.com). The Prodigal Son who said to his father, “I am not worthy to be called your son.” His dad didn't argue with him. He didn't pat him on the back and try to give him props about how he was too hard on himself. His dad basically said, “Yeah, you were dead and lost. Now you’re not, and what I give to you changes everything. I am going to have a banquet, and I will set the table.” If you go away from the parable thinking the primary point was either the son or the feast, you have entirely missed the point. It’s about the Father in the story - a God who saves us, forgives us, and takes us back when we are at the bottom of our sinful self and then invites other to join him in a celebration for us and with us.

 True Godliness is an awe of a God like that, not the feast that he brings. It’s all about Christ, not us. Godliness is not greed for the goodies God can bring; godliness is reverential worship of a God whose sacrifice, power and holiness has the ability to make even the most broken people beautiful.

Contentment is “having all we need within through the indwelling Christ.” (biblehum.com). It’s not complacency with evil and injustice; it’s the peace that comes from believing that my circumstances will never separate me from the love of God. Paul writes in other places about what happens because of the work of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit:

To keep me grounded and stop me from becoming too high and mighty due to the extraordinary character of these revelations, I was given a thorn in the flesh—a nagging nuisance of Satan, a messenger to plague me!  I begged the Lord three times to liberate me from its anguish; and finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness...  I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of Christ because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:11 – 13)

And when this happens, we are free to pursue the things that really matter:

“Timothy, don’t let this [the destructiveness of the love of money] happen to you—run away from these things! You are a man of God. Your quest is for justice, godliness, faithfulness, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:10-11)

A godly response of reverence and awe to an awesome God is to pursue the things of God, not the things from God. The Bible talks a lot about being transformed into the image of Christ. That’s the quest. That’s what we are shooting for. Godliness (reverential awe of God and transformation into the image of Christ) with contentment (Christ is all I need) is great gain.

 You may well have a life where you are blessed in all the ways I mentioned earlier. Awesome.  The Bible is clear that every good and perfect gift comes from God, and that God gives good gifts to His children.  My point is not that God is stingy or uninterested in our flourishing. He clearly in the Bible and throughout history has provided generous blessing to many people (though not the same ones to everyone, and not all the time).

 Does God want us to be happy, healthy, and wealthy? If He does, it will be for His glory and not ours. His kingdom, not ours. His purpose, not ours. What I see here is God wants you to be so enamored with Christ that none of those other things distract you or distance you from Christ.

There is only ONE THING that gives us assurance and hope, and that is Jesus Christ. What is the good life? Knowing that Christ is sufficient, and no matter our circumstances, He is worthy, and He is working in us, and that is enough. 

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LISTEN TO THE SERMON HERE

Embrace Grief and Loss (Emotionally Healthy Church Part 5)

Gerald and Lydia Sittser and their children were driving through Iowa in 1991 when a drunk driver hit them at 85 mph. Gerald lost his mother, his wife and a four-year-old child in moment. He sat beside the isolated highway and watched them die. He eventually wrote the following in a book entitled A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss:

“Catastrophic loss by definition precludes recovery. It will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same… It is not true that we become less through our loss – unless we allow the loss to make us less, grinding our soul down until there is nothing left. Loss can also make us more. I did not get over my loved ones; rather, I absorbed the loss into my life until it became part of who I am. Sorrow took up permanent residence in my soul and enlarged it… One learns the pain of others by suffering one’s own pain, by turning inside oneself, by finding one’s own soul… The soul is elastic, like a balloon. It can grow larger through suffering.

Life is characterized by loss. The weather changes. Cars break down. Favorite shows go off the air.  We move into a new house. We leave a community and lose friends. Pets die. We lose our youth and our health. Then there is the loss of a marriage, of a parent, of a vocation, a dream, a life.

But though life is full of loss, it’s also full of new life. Age brings things that youth can’t. Some weather changes are good. We can enjoy new cars, houses, friends, pets, shows. The losses that threaten to overwhelm can enlarge us, deepen us, offer us something unexpectedly blessed on the other side. But the unexpected blessing follows the loss.  Hope follows grief. Character follows the furnace in which that character was forged.

So as followers of Christ who want our emotional health to reflect the character and heart of God, let’s look at a biblical perspective on grief and loss.

Enter into your Grief

When King David’s friend Jonathan died, we read the following in 1 Samuel 1:17-27:

 “Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar:

‘Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen! Don’t announce the news in Gath,
don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice
and the pagans will laugh in triumph.

O mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain. For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled; the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil. The bow of Jonathan was powerful,
 and the sword of Saul did its mighty work.
They shed the blood of their enemies
 and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes.

How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan! They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles,
stronger than lions. O women of Israel, weep for Saul,
for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing,
in garments decorated with gold. Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies dead on the hills.

How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan!
Oh, how much I loved you!
And your love for me was deep,
deeper than the love of a mother or wife! Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen! Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.’”

It wasn’t just that David mourned the loss of his friend. He ordered it to be recorded and taught to thousands; it was written and named. It’s not a song with a happy ending. It’s just a primal mourning for the loss of a great friend. The world had changed. Goodness had been lost. It ought to be remembered, grieved, commemorated, never forgotten.

The depth of our grief reveals the weight of the thing we lost.When is the last time we considered that God is honored when his people offer songs of lament about their grief and loss?  Jesus was a “man of sorrow, acquainted with grief.” If grief is a gauge of love, then both his love and his grief was deep. Perhaps we, too, should grieve deeply that which we love deeply, and do it without shame. If nothing else, we show all those around us what matters most in life.

Embrace the Journey

There was a day between Good Friday and Resurrection. In some traditions it’s called Holy Saturday, or Black Saturday, or Saturday of Lights. It’s that day between death and resurrection where all that was happening was burial. The Apostles Creed notes not simply that Jesus died and rose again; he died, was buried, and then was resurrected.    

“It is a long day, this Silent Saturday. In many ways it represents life as it is for all of us. Though we like to say that we live on the other side of Easter, and that of course is true in the ultimate sense, it is also true that we live somewhere between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The crucifixion is behind us, but death is still with us and the final victory lies somewhere in the future.”  - Ray Pritchard, “Silent Saturday,” crosswalk.com

Silent Saturday is the day after the funeral, the weeks after the job loss or surgery, the months after the divorce, the years after a dream died. This is the dreaded in-between, that place where it feels like nothing is happening. We wonder if there is something wrong with us as people (or as Christians). Do I lack faith or dedication? Are God’s promises even real?

It’s important that we remember that God is just as present in these in-between times. The burial day for Jesus was part of God’s plain. It wasn’t the pain of loss; it wasn’t yet the triumph of new life. It was…burial.  It was a time that tested faith and hope. 

  • Psalm 27;13-14: “I believe that I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living. Wait for the Lord…be strong…take courage…wait for the Lord.”
  • Psalm 33:20: “My soul waits for the Lord…”
  • The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
  • James 5:11: “We consider those blessed who remain steadfast…”

These are not wasted times in the Kingdom of God. Peter Scazzero uses the analogy of compost. As we throw scraps on the garden, we see the broken husks of things that were once full of life but are now empty shells. It seems as if their story is over. But give it time – from that which was dead will spring new life. It’s in these times that some of the best formation and preparation happens for the new life that is to come.

 See the Loss in the Light of the Gain

God is able to salvage the broken parts of the world.  Paul writes in Romans 8:28 that “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

This is not a promise of earthly happiness and ease, but of spiritual and eternal goods. How do we know? Because the verses before talk about how “creation groans” in its broken state, and the verses after that don’t claim that will change in this life. Paul notes that God will use these situations so that we will be “conformed to the image of His Son.” We will be called, then justified (or made righteous) and ultimately “glorified.” So in what ways can grief and sorrow conform us to the image of Christ?

Compassion

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Maturity

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can endure all these things because Christ strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11–1

We increasingly realize that this world is not our home, the people matter more than things, that time is precious, that the truly good things in life are not found in money, or health, or entertainment, or fame.

Mystery

When God responds to Job, God does not tell Job the why. He basically asks Job, “Do you understand how limited your power and perspective is? Do you trust me even if you don’t (or can’t) understand?” Job responds, “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” (Job 42:3)

I don’t know why my dad died so young. I heard, “God wanted him home.” Stop it. You don’t know. “God knew that in the future he might fall away.” Stop!  I even heard the “lack of faith. Should have claimed his healing more boldly.”  Really? You know this?

The Bible does not clarify why God allows us to suffer in a particular instance. There are broader principles: free will, a fallen world, God’s glory, our benefit (pruning), Satan’s schemes. But this particular time may not be known until after the fact, maybe not until we reach heaven and can see truth and reality clearly.

Community

Paul said his suffering was “for the sake of the body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).  Our suffering enables us to more fully “bear another’s burdens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). As we pass on the comfort of God, we are in turn comforted. We gain an appreciation for the community of the broken, journeying together toward a resurrection. We recognize the importance of the moment; we take risks we might not have before because we recognize that life is a vapor, and some things must be done now or they might not be done at all. We reach out and look up more than ever.

Experiencing God

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)

“Know” in the original language means to “know through experience.”  If we want to experience Christ’s resurrection in us, we must share in his suffering. We enter into the life Christ offers when we enter into the life He lived – in its fullness. We must know one to know the other.

Heaven

“Do not lose heart,” said Paul, “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding glory that outweighs them all…” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). What we suffer is “not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

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**The posts in this series (Look Beneath The SurfaceBreak the Power of the PastLive in Brokenness, The Gift Of Limits) are built from a summary of notes I used when preaching a sermon series based on Peter Scazzero's Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (both the books and the study guides). Most of the main points comes from his work. I note when I quote him directly, but most of what you read are this insights paraphrased or adjusted to fit my audience and venue. Learn more at his website and his blog, and by all means order his books and read them thoroughly.

 Some Recommend Songs

 Mercy Me (“I Can Only Imagine”; “Homesick”)

Tenth Avenue North (“Hold My Heart”; “Worn”)

 Steven Curtis Chapman (“With Hope”)

Julie Miller (“You Can Have My Heart”)

Adam Again (River On Fire"; "Babylon")

 

Some Recommended Books

Robert Kelleman, God’s Healing for Life’s Losses

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed and The Problem of Pain

Timothy Keller, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering

Phillip Yancey, Where is God When It Hurts?

Look Beneath The Surface (Emotionally Healthy Church Part 1)

Peter Scazzero, author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and Emotionally Healthy Church, has written, “It is not possible for a Christian to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.” In the following weeks, we are going to be looking at six different areas of our lives as we seek to move toward emotional maturity.  We will be looking beneath the surface, peeling back the layers of our lives as we submit the emotional part of our human nature to the lordship of Christ.** 

LINKING THE GOSPEL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH

This process can be unsettling. Who wants to put his or her personality  on the altar?  King David once said, “I will not give God sacrifices that cost me nothing”  (1 Chronicles 21:24). The honest journey inward will cost you something. So how do we find peace in the midst of this storm?  How can this hard, costly transformation be part of the good news of Christ's gospel?

The bad news: We are more sinful than we care to believe.  We must acknowledge this. If we don’t understand the depth of our ability to be broken – and dishonest about it – we will never seek, understand, or appreciate the salvation Christ has to offer.

The good news: God loves us more than we dare to believe.  All of us are created in such a way that we bear his image; when we commit our lives to him, we also commit our identity to him. Our worth, value, goodness, acceptability, capability – it’s all grounded in the person and work of Christ, not in ourselves. 

 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

If the fact that we are more sinful than we care to admit is the storm, the gospel is the anchor in the midst of the storm. This has to do with identity: if we are created in God’s image, and God gives us righteousness, and our hope and worth is found in Christ, what do we need to hide or fear?  As we understand the freedom and foundation of a life surrendered to Christ, we begin to experience the freedom of honest introspection.

ACKNOWLEDGING OUR FEELINGS

God himself is an emotional being, and we are created in His image. The Bible attributes many emotions to God:

  • deligh (Genesis 1:25, 31)
  • grief (Psalm 78:40)
  • anger (Deuteronomy 1:37)
  • pleasure (1 Kings 3:10)
  • joy (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • pity (Judges 2:18)
  • compassion (Lamentations 3:22)
  • love (John 3:16)
  • jealousy (Exodus 20:4-5)

 The Bible describes Jesus’ emotional life in a equally all-encompassing way:

  • He was greatly disturbed in spirit (John 11:33)
  • He wept at the gravesite of Lazarus and over Jerusalem (John 11:33; Luke 19:41)
  • He was angry with disciples (Mark 10:14)
  • He was furious at the crass commercialism in the temple (John 2:13-17)
  • He showed astonishment (Matthew 8:10
  • He longed to be with his disciples (Luke 22:15)
  • He was distressed (Mark 3:5)
  • He had compassion for widows, lepers, and blind men (Matthew 20:34; Mark 1:41; Luke 7:13)
  • Joy (Luke 10:21)

God has some emotions that we aren’t used to applauding – jealousy, anger, disturbed, grieving. Conclusion? The emotions themselves must not be the problem. It must have something to do with why we experience them or how we express them. 

We need to honestly acknowledge our inner life - then study it with discernment. We can’t just feel and act (or react). Emotions are a gift from God, but not all the ways we experience them are healthy and holy. If we want to be disciples of Christ, our emotions must be submitted to His lordship as well. We must understand them and learn how to use them appropriately.

 DOING HONEST INTROSPECTION

Sometimes we respond emotionally in ways we don’t understand. The easy solution is to ignore the deeper questions and just get through the situation. Of course, we will just hit that emotional storm again…and again... and again. We need to ask the right questions – in this case, the “why” question. 

  • Why am I always late (or early)?
  • Why am I so devastated that Sally didn’t like what I said (0r why wasn’t I more bothered)?
  • Why do I dread this particular meeting?
  • Why do I panic when I think that I might cross paths with this person?
  • Why do I feel so driven to succeed or be noticed?
  • Why do I avoid confrontation (or constantly instigate it)?
  • Why am I so rigid about answering social media promptly (or why do I avoid it constantly)?
  • Why am I undone when my plans are altered? (or why do I resent people who make rigid plans)?
  • Why do I think even the smallest criticism about something I do is an attack on my identity or character (or why do I want so badly to separate what I do from who I am)?

When we don’t know the answer to the “why” question, we won’t find ways to surrender this part of our life to Christ and begin a journey toward emotional healing and health.  One why question may lead to another… but we keep peeling. Sometimes we don't need to stop and purposefully ask questions about ourself. Some we just need to pay attention to the observations we make about ourselves, even if it smarts a bit. 

  • I’m not very good at feelings. I’m more about doing.
  • I prefer to think rather than feel.
  • My feelings are just a blur; I can’t explain them.
  • Sometimes my emotions cause a physical reaction.
  • My emotions at times flood me and confuse me.
  • Sometimes, TV commercials make me cry.
  • I get depressed after doing X and I don’t know why.
  • I have this overwhelming sense of being defective.

If these statements resonate with us, it’s a signal that we aren’t asking the ‘why’ question. God made us emotional beings – and we are ignoring that part of our nature . Subconsciously, we are making a decision: “Yes, God made me with emotions, and there is something fallen and damaged in me in this area, but I would rather remain broken than enter into the renewed life Christ has to offer.”    

So how do we begin to face ourselves? We need to compare ourselves to Scripture, get the perspective of others, explore our interior life, and pay attention to the warning signs.

  • Scripture: When is it healthy for me to be angry? Celebratory? Frustrated? Grieved? Sad? Happy?  What does the Bible says about the circumstances I am in?  Are they a big deal or not? How much emotion should I be investing? Is there a godly way to respond, and do my emotions match God’s design? “What does God think and therefore feel about this issue, and does my response match His?”
  • Others: Get the opinion of trusted Christian friends. Do they agree that your response is godly in its reasons and appropriateness?  
  • Interior Life: Find silence; write or speak what you are feeling as a prayer to God. David gives a great model of what this looks like in Psalms. What he felt wasn't always pretty, but he was honest. He knew God could handle it.
  • Signs: God has made us physical being in which our body, soul, and spirit are in some fashion connected. Sometimes our physical body’s reaction to situations – a knot in the stomach, a tension headache, teeth grinding, hands clenched, sweaty palms, neck tightening, foot tapping, or insomnia – might be a warning sign.  Too much…back off…you need help with this situation.  

EMBRACING DISCOMFORT AND VULNERABILITY

“Ignoring our emotions is turning our back on reality. Listening to our emotions ushers us into reality.  And reality is where we meet God… Emotions are the language of the soul. They are the cry that gives the heart a voice… However, we often turn a deaf ear – through emotional denial, distortion, or disengagement. We strain out anything disturbing  in order to gain tenuous control of our inner world.  We are frightened and ashamed of what leaks into our inner consciousness. In neglecting our emotions, we are false to ourselves and lose a wonderful opportunity to know God. We forget that change comes from brutal honesty and vulnerability before God.”  - Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, The Cry of the Soul

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**This post (and the ones that follow) are a summary of notes I used when preaching a sermon series based on Peter Scazzero's Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (both the books and the study guides). Most of the main points comes from his work. I note when I quote him directly, but most of what you read are this insights paraphrased or adjusted to fit my audience and venue. Learn more at his website and his blog, and by all means order his books and read them thoroughly.