We live in a broken world. Have you noticed?
- Food decays
- Gossip destroys reputations
- Bitterness grows like a cancer
- Governments are corrupt
- Lust and greed control hearts
- People take what isn’t theirs and inflict violence
- Spouses act hatefully toward the one they vowed to love
- Children are abused instead of protected
- Drugs addict and destroy
- People slowly die of starvation or suddenly from disease
The list could go on and on. Does this make you discouraged or fearful?
God gives us everything we need to live with realistic expectations and powerful hope. Our existence in this broken world doesn’t have to be full of shock, fear, or panic. We can thrive with faith, calm, and confidence.
How, practically? Here are 3 actions steps to take daily:
You are always preaching some gospel to yourself. When you face hardship, you must preach to yourself the gospel of the boundless, eternal, and unshakable love of God. When you feel abandoned and alone, it’s vital that you preach the theology of the presence of the Lord. When you are suffering, you need to remind yourself of the truths that Scripture declares.
Bad theology, or false theology, will complicate and worsen your experience in a broken world. You must strive to fill your soul with the wisdom, guidance, and comfort that only the Word of God can give.
While it’s true that you have incredible solo influence over you, the problem is that there are times when it’s tough for you to preach what you need to hear. So, you need voices in your life besides your own.
You need to invite wise and loving people to eavesdrop and interrupt your private conversation, providing in their words things you wouldn’t be able to say to yourself. And don’t take offense when they fail to agree with your assessments; you need these alternative voices!
When I was in the hospital suffering, and doubt and fear were creeping into my theology, my wife Luella would say to me, “Paul, you know that's not true!” She wasn’t saying those things to hurt my feelings but to give me what I wasn’t able to provide myself in those moments.
That in itself is a sweet grace from the hand of God!
3. Give Thanks
There is no more powerful tool against debilitating fear or doubt than gratitude. It’s precisely at the point when you’re tempted to think that you’re not blessed that counting your blessings is the most important.
No matter how painful your experience in this broken world is, there are blessings to be found. Look at the trail behind you and what is now around you for evidence that God is good and worthy of your trust. A thankful heart is the best defense against a doubting and fretful heart.
In the most simple of exercises, do what the old hymn says:
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Paul David Tripp
- How have you personally experienced the reality of life in a broken world this week?
- When the unwanted and the unexpected knocked on your door recently, what gospel did you preach to yourself? How did your soul respond?
- Who have you invited to interrupt your private conversation recently? How can you take steps this week to surround yourself with a community of truth-speakers?
- Have you taken time today to recount the many, many blessings that are yours as God’s child? Come up with a few right now.
- Who do you know who is near to you that needs to be encouraged with the gospel? How will you reach out them this week and provide them with the rich, practical theology their soul needs?