The gospel is…the word about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a right relationship with God. – Graeme Goldsworthy

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Problem of Comparing Gospel Experiences

Have you ever become insecure about your own spiritual state because you lack the apparent feelings that your brother or sister in Christ enjoys? Have you ever heard a testimony or known a friend whose emotion causes you to go away questioning your own Christian experience, or even conversion?

This is not uncommon. Sometimes that’s half the encouragement – knowing that our reaction to such situations and individuals isn’t out of the ordinary. The other half is realizing that our faith is misplaced in such moments - namely, our trust isn't rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ alone but in the deadly comparison of someone else's Christian experience to ours.

If all this rings true with you, I think you’ll be as encouraged as I was by “the Doctor,” Martyn Lloyd-Jones, once again today.  
“I would draw attention to the danger of thinking that we are not Christians at all because we have not had some particular type of feeling or experience. This from a spiritual standpoint is one of the commonest manifestations of this condition. I am thinking of people who hear others while talking or giving their testimony, testifying to some wonderful feeling, and they say to themselves: ‘I have never had that.’ And they begin to wonder whether they are Christians at all. Let me repeat what I have already said; feelings must be engaged in true Christianity, but the mere fact that we have not had certain particular feelings does not of necessity mean that we are not Christians. Feelings are essential, but if we postulate certain particular feelings as being essential we may very well become victims of the devil and spend the whole of our life in unhappiness and ‘bound in shallows and in miseries,’ though the whole time we are truly Christian.” Spiritual Depression (112-13)

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