“When you come to Christ, you must drop your conditions. . . . As soon as you say, ‘I will obey you if,’ that is not obedience at all. You are saying, ‘You are my adviser, not my Lord. I will be happy to take your recommendations. And I might even do some of them.’ “- Timothy Keller
Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 3 of Hidden Christmas with the three kinds of courage required of all believers.
1. The courage to take the world’s disdain. The world often fails to understand the truth undergirding your Christian witness. As a result, Christians increasingly face ridicule and contempt for holding to historic Christian beliefs. You need courage to fact this onslaught.
2. The courage to give up your right to self-determination. After the birth of Jesus, the angel told Joseph the name for his boy. Certainly, this command ran counter to the patriarchal culture of that time. Because the father possessed the absolute right to name his child. In addition, naming served as a sign of the father’s control over the family.
Hence, Pastor Keller stresses, when people set conditions for becoming a Christian, they’re trying to name Jesus. In other words, they want Jesus on their terms. However, we’re called to self-denial, an act of rebellion against our current culture of self-assertion. Therefore, the author exhorts:
“Only if we give him our supreme allegiance will we get what we need most from him. We need him to name us. That means that we cannot know who we are until he comes into our lives and then, through obedience to him, learn our true identity.
3. The courage to admit you are a sinner. Finally, Pastor Keller states, Jesus came first and foremost to forgive us. Everything else – to empower us and love us, flows from that.
Consequently, we get the courage to confess our sins through looking at Jesus Himself. While it takes courage to be with Jesus, it took infinitely more courage for Jesus to be with us. Love provided the courage for Jesus to die on the cross. And we get our courage the same way – through love.
Today’s question: What Scriptures help you drop your conditions for God? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “An absolute throne – one King”