Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Pressure's Off

I recently finished The Pressure's Off, a book by Larry Crabb. I read it for my RTS class where we are looking at the topic of "sanctification by grace through faith" for a couple of weeks. As I mentioned in a previous post, God has used this book to uncover many areas in my life where I have not believed the gospel fully. And it has been so freeing! I'll point out the basic ideas of the book to help show you how I've been affected by it.

Crabb starts out describing that there are two ways to live. The first way to live is according to the Law of Linearity, which is figuring out what you want and then doing what it takes to get there. According to him, this is also called the Old Way or seeking the Better Life of Blessings. In the life of a Christian, this is using God to get what you really want: money, comfort, a spouse, good kids, etc. The pressure is on when living this type of life. You are always trying to do the right thing to get what you want.

A side note here. I look at a guy like Joel Osteen and obviously know that his "Best Life Now" theology is so wrong. But he has been a straw man for me. Of course he's wrong. He sounds ridiculous as he stands in front of his "congregation" each week explaining how God wants to bless them with good things if they would just be positive and have the right amount of faith. However, I'm learning that I've been conditioned to believe a similar lie and one that is much more subtle.

The second way to live is according to the Law of Liberty. This is the New Way. It is coming before God realizing your need and placing your satisfaction fully in Him, whether certain blessings come or not. Crabb points out that most of us live according to the Old Way without even realizing it. In subtle ways, we expect God to bless us at some point because of our behavior. We live according to Deuteronomy 29:9 which says "Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do." But Hebrews 7:17-19 reminds us that through Jesus "the former regulation is set aside...and a better hope is introduced by which we draw near to God." The pressure is off.

Later in the book, Crabb says it this way:
“The law that came through Moses is now in our hearts. God’s arrangement with Israel--get it right and life will work--is nullified. But the law still stands. What’s different is that now we have an appetite for holiness; the requirements of the law are now our hearts’ delight. And we obey in order to enjoy fellowship with God, not to make our lives work.”
The Old Way even affects how we view suffering:
“When tragedy strikes, we so easily say, ‘I wonder what God is teaching me through this trial.’ Listen beneath that sentence to its motivation and you might hear something like this: ‘If I learn my lesson, I’ll be able to get it right next time so more trials won’t come.’ The Old Way is instinctual.”
And here's yet another quote that was helpful and gave me pause thinking about most preaching & teaching done in the church today:
“The reformers knew we were saved to glorify God. We moderns live to be blessed...We’re so committed to discovering and applying God’s principles for making life work that we no longer value intimacy with God as our greatest blessing.”
My key take-away from this book is understanding better that my motivation for obedience and holiness ought to be for fellowship with my heavenly Father...not a better life of blessings and comfort. I'm praying that God would continue to uncover areas in my life where I still believe the lie of "obedience=blessings." Instead I desire to treasure Christ more by resting in the gospel and hope in the only thing worth hoping in: intimacy with Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment