I found this note in the margin of my Bible yeterday as I was reading through the beginning of the book of Romans:
“The Gospel: the WORD Incarnate. We introduce a person, not a plan. We should talk about Him, not us or what we need to do. (Bixby*)”
And, no, this is NOT an endorsement of a “let go and let God” philosophy…
So often as Christians we are inclined to look for clearly outlined steps in God’s Word, for easy formulas for happiness, success, spiritual victory, and healthy relationships. In turn, we try to preach these formulas to others, whittling down the scriptures to a spiritualized 12-step plan to happiness. The problem? For starters, it usually undermines the richness of God’s power and method of change in our hearts and lives. But it goes further in focusing more on what WE can do than what HE can do, and has already done. As long as we’re focusing on ourselves and our formulas, we’re as good as blind to the power of Christ. At best, we fail to live up to our own resolutions and give in to despair; at worst, we turn others away from what is needful and lead them straight into spiritual ditches. I’m not saying that putting biblical principles into clear, concise format for presentation is wrong; it has its place and can be useful in a variety of ways. But we need to be careful not to substitute our plans and programs for the Person in whom we live, and move, and have our very being.
*Note: I remember sitting in a chapel service several years ago, captivated not so much by the speaker, but by the Person he was introducing us to. Apparently these are some of the thoughts from that sermon that I wanted to hold on to. Though I can’t recall exactly the content of the two sermons Pastor Bixby gave that week, I can remember being struck by the utterly Christ-centered focus of his exposition. Just last year I was delighted to stumble across these very sermons on sermonaudio.com. Shortly thereafter, I quite accidentally found myself reading Pastor Bixby’s very own blog. Check it out for some interesting discussions on christianity, culture, and the Person of Christ.