Needing to be Rescued from Myself
The last few weeks have not been easy ones. In truth, I've been feeling pretty low-down, rotten, and ashamed. I guess I should explain why I've been feeling this way. Back in January, I took over the teaching responsibility for one of our Sunday School departments and while I've had quite an enjoyable time discipling some of our church members who are at the same stages of life as I am, our most recent study has really hit home in a very hard way. For the past month, we have been going chapter by chapter through a book entitled Parenting by best-selling author and renowned speaker, Paul David Tripp.
Now, if you've never read anything by Mr. Tripp, stop what you're doing right now and go get one of his books. It really doesn't matter which one; they're all awesome. But be forewarned: you will get your toes stepped on - stepped on hard, over and over again. Tripp does a masterful job at presenting gospel truths with a strong dose of Holy Spirit conviction. You will be reminded of extremely important truths and have a newfound appreciation of God's grace, but the process isn't always easy. Which brings me back to the subject matter that I've been focusing on lately. The book our class has been discussing has caused me to confront the lack of grace I often show my own boys and how easy it has become to parent by the mantra of "do as I say and not as I do."
One of the overarching themes of our study has been the need to be rescued from ourselves. Our self-centeredness needs to be confronted by God and replaced with the grace-filled teachings of Jesus. This transaction must take place over and over again, day by day, for we are continually drawn back to an attitude of self-worship. Let me quickly share with you a humorous illustration from our book in which Tripp reveals how even he continues to fight the battle.
I make the best cinnamon rolls in the universe. Sorry, there’s just no doubt about it. It’s one of the things I like to do on our family vacations. And when I make them, I know what’s going to happen. That gorgeous smell will pull my children out of bed and down the hallway. They will bow at my feet and say, “Our life is good because we have a father who makes cinnamon rolls!” So it’s early in the morning, I am the only one up, and I am making the rolls, thinking about the delight to follow. Finally they’re in the oven, and the house is beginning to be enveloped in the beautiful smell. I position myself on a chair that looks down the hallway, anticipating the worship that is to come. One of my sons appears and instead of praising my existence, he says these shocking words: “Dad, can I make something else for breakfast?” I want to say, “Are you an idiot? Of course you can’t make something else! Why in the world would you?” But I hold my tongue as he explains that his wife (interloper in the family that she is) doesn’t like to eat sweet things for breakfast, so he’s going to make some scrambled eggs. Eggs! Eggs! Beaten up former embryos! I know I shouldn’t be angry, but I am. I know this isn’t personal, but to me it is! Now we’re at the breakfast table, and my son’s wife positions herself right in front of that big pile of cinnamon-oozing wonderfulness. I know she will break down and take one, but she doesn’t. Every bite of those eggs bothers me. I know scrambled eggs are soft, but I think I can hear her chewing and it drives me crazy. I can’t believe she’s rejected my transcendent rolls for her eggs!1
Did you see what happened? He went from a desire to bless his loved ones to a desire to be worshiped and adored by his loved ones. Even something as simple as cinnamon roles can bring out our battle with the sin of pride. I'll state it again - we need to be rescued from ourselves!! Thankfully, a wonderful thing happens once we come to this place of brokenness and submission; we remember that Christ has come and done exactly what we needed and couldn't do for ourselves - He has rescued us from our sin.
Being brought low may not be fun, but being lifted back up by God is a joyous experience beyond description. Today, time take to allow the rescuing love of Christ to wipe away past mistakes and lead you into a new and better way of living.
"For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:22-25a, ESV)
1 Parenting, 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, Paul David Tripp, pg.53