My heart aches for Sunday.
If I’m honest, I don’t always have this longing as a Pastor. My old nature is very much active still. There are Saturday nights and Sunday mornings that I feel anxiety, worry, and even, dare I say, less-than-thrilled for our worship service.
Those Unreliable Feelings
Those feelings. Let me put it this way: you want to be wise? Don’t trust them (Jer. 17:9).
I didn’t feel or experience Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross for my sins. I simply took God at His Word.
I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit indwell and seal me. I simply counted it as true by faith.
I didn’t feel my wife and I become one flesh, but “we walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
Again, I praise the Lord for His marvellous grace, and that He has created a new man in me — with a new heart and a new identity. This new man loves the commands and glory of my Creator. That’s why God said that I am complete in Him (Col. 2:7), and, to be sure. whatever God says is the truest thing about me. My identity isn’t “Pastor,” thank goodness, because some days I’m forgetful, short, and not very Pastoral. My identity isn’t “ex-missionary,” because thinking of what could have been brings overwhelming sadness.
The Reliable Christ
I’m in Christ. His history is now my history, and His future is now my future.
Praise the Lord that He’s in me and I’m in Him, because Justin, by himself, cannot produce a God-honoring attitude towards fellow believers and the preaching of the Word. My new Nature can, though, because it was created in righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24). My justification was by grace, my eventual glorification is by grace, and, as I appropriate what is already mine in Christ, even my listening to the sermon, my singing in worship, and my interactions with others will be by grace.
See how wonderful this is? You have been equipped through your union with Christ to manifest His life in your mortal bodies through loving obedience to the commands in His Word. God has not left you alone to fend for yourself tomorrow. Instead, He has given you everything you need for life and godliness through the knowledge of His Son (2 Pet. 1:3). The more you know of Christ, the more you can appropriate Him! This is good news, because I know I can’t trust myself on Sundays. I either hide or put on a show.
That’s who I am in myself.
But I’m in Christ now. Too good to be true? Well, not only does he completely equip us to walk freely in righteousness, but He promises joy to those who abide in Him and walk in His commands. “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete (Jn. 15:11).”
Attentive Ears, Primed Hearts, Desperate Longings
One last thing.
Proverbs 2:1-5 says this: “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
Attentive ears; a heart primed and ready to be chastened and exhorted; a desperate longing and hunger for the truth of God’s Word; more love for the Bible than all the riches the world has to offer.
Rather than stumbling into the fellowship anxious, awkward, cold-hearted, and pretty sure we know it all, what do you say we walk in the victory Christ has already accomplished on our behalf tomorrow, with a yielded heart and the expectation of joy?
Yeah, that’s better.