This has been soooo helpful to me

since last April, when I first posted it, that I’m reposting it.    🙂

 

The so-what theology of the Christian life

has been amazingly helpful to me lately.  Huh?  Here’s how it works.  When I notice one of my idols distracting me from fixing my eyes and thoughts on Jesus, I say to myself, “So WHAT, Dave’sFlesh?”

So what if your car is cooler than their car?  Or theirs cooler than yours?  So what if you’re a better dresser than they are?  So what if that slow-moving truck just pulled onto the two-lane-with-no-passing-zone-for-the-next-six-miles road in front of you?  So what if the light just turned red, and it’s always a long wait at this intersection?  Or just turned green as you approached the intersection?  So what if there’s a construction backup and a long line of standing cars and trucks?  So what if you’re making great time because of light traffic?  So what if that guy just cut you off?  So what if you’re gonnabe late?  So what if you made a wrong turn and you have to backtrack?  So what if SE Pennsylvania has way-too-many vehicles on the road?  So what if there are too-many gray, cloudy days in Pennsylvania?  So what if you have a big health issue?  Or are healthier than most?  So what if your investments are doing poorly?  Or wonderfully?  So what if you paid too much for that?  Or got a bargain?  So what if your team lost?  Or won?

You get the idea.  No matter what might rob my flesh of joy and peace, or feed my flesh, it helps me so much to CHALLENGE my flesh — challenge its CONFIDENCE-that-it-knows-best, CONFIDENCE-that-it-knows-what-will-make-me-happy.  So WHAT, Dave’sFlesh?  Domatter, Dave’sFlesh.

The things that MATTER to my flesh, domatter in the Big Scheme of things.  My flesh dunno nuttin about happiness for Dave.  But it sure THINKS it does.  Because Jesus has been growing me yet-more self-aware and yet-more self-accepting, I’m getting to know my flesh way-better than ever.  Half the solution is seeing the problem.

So what if my very life is threatened?  So what if I face scary?  Jesus is Lord, reigning from on High!  His genius plan for me and those I love will not be thwarted.

Ecclesiastes is the so-what Book of the Bible.  Meaningless are the values (idols) of Dave’sFlesh.  “So-WHAT?” is a slap in the face of my idol (addiction).

–SoWhatDave, baby steppin in healthier directions, because of the convicting work of the Spirit

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No believer who feels pressure, stress,

believes in the total sovereignty of Jesus.  Doesn’t matter what we claim to believe about Him and His sovereign reign over all.  When we feel pressure, stress, we are unbelievers in His sovereignty.  We have Heaven, but are missing the benefit of Jesus.  And those around us suffer too, because of our self-absorption.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, always needing reminders, so there might be an overflow of love, joy, and peace in his life, compelling and contagious to the seculars around him

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When Jesus is ENOUGH,

a believer has no fear of failure, of losing everything, of being pitied by all for being a loser/nobody who strove for excellence, but failed.  When Jesus is ENOUGH, a believer lives and loves with reckless abandon.  Uninhibited.  FREE.  Bold.  Fearless.  Humble.  Optimal performance.

When Jesus is NOT enough, a believer is self-absorbed, internally selfish, failure-avoidant, suffering-avoidant, stressed, intense, hurried, feels under the gun, unlimited obligation, miserable but living in denial of the misery.  And performance suffers.  The stressed, pride-filled believer wants MORE than Jesus and His imputed worthiness.

Contentment is the pearl of great price, worth selling all to get.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, chief failure at practicing what he preaches

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Benefits of the three awarenesses.

The biggest benefits of Gospel-awareness

are the joy and peace that radiate from a believer who is deeply convinced of the unconditional love of DaddyJesusSpirit for one of His kids, as the kid goes through the day.  Warts and all.  Whatever it takes to get Gospel-awareness deep in one’s soul, and keep it there, is a bargain investment.  Priceless benefit — joy and peace that is not circumstance-dependent.

The biggest benefit of self-awareness

is being aware of the sin/idolatry/addiction to which we’re blind/self-deceived, that keeps us self-absorbed, keeps us from being other-worldly humble and other-worldly loving — seed sown on thorny soil that does not reproduce a hundredfold, even thirtyfold, because we are choked by the cares of this world, walking in darkness.  We believers imagine we are walking in the light, followers of Jesus, but we are followers of ourselves, wanting Him to bless OUR agenda, confident-we-know-what’s-best, leaning on our own understanding, wise in our own eyes, blind to the extent of our independence/pride/worldliness.

The biggest benefits of sovereignty-awareness

are 1) being curious and expectant as I go through my day, to see what Jesus does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances, 2) THANKing Him for everything, especially the harrrd, as I go through my day, evidencing my enjoyment of everyone just as we are, and everything just as it is, and 3) not feeling as though it’s UP TO ME to avoid mistakes, failure, humiliation, which causes me to suppress the horror of feeling alone as I face the challenges before me.  Sovereignty-awareness is very different from believing in the sovereignty of God.  Presbyterians claim to believe in the sovereignty of God, but I don’t know any Presbyterians that have sovereignty-awareness as they go through their day.

How to get more of the three awarenesses?

Serge.com has some great mentoring programs for a beginning in Gospel-awareness and self-awareness.  I have some free self-therapy material that has been used of Jesus to grow believers further in self-awareness, over time, for those who already have a deep foundation of Gospel-awareness.  Contact me if interested.  You’re on your own with sovereignty-awareness.  As for me, I need constant reminders throughout the day of the sovereignty of God, to grow my sovereignty-awareness in all I think and do.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing the three awarenesses — Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, sovereignty-awareness, so the seculars around us might be wowed by the Jesus in us believers and want Him too

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Should I be thankful for feelings of discouragement?

Or fear?   Or frustration?  Most would say “OF COURSE NOT.”  We know what’s thankable and what’s not, because we are wise in our own eyes, leaning on our own understanding, confident-we-know-what’s-best.

We wanna FIX those feelings, instead of explore the root of them, asking Jesus to show us what’s really going on inside.  We are blind to our true flesh and its desires that control us so much of the time.  Truth be told, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to feel discouraged, frustrated, fearful, UNLESS I’m confident-I-know-what’s-best, which is another way of describing a believer who is functioning as an atheist, full of unbelief in Jesus and His sovereign reign over everyone and everything.  Or worse — arrogantly sitting in judgment of Him and His genius plan.

Here’s the biggest problem: if I’m living in denial of my true flesh, I will not be undone, contrite, other-worldly humble, full of other-worldly love, which means I will NOT be compelling to seculars.  I will be the chief argue-er, chief expert, not the chief confessor in the relationship.

Am I commanded by Scripture to give thanks in EVERYthing?  Surely not.  But wait, Scripture is clear: “Give thanks in every thing; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  So…..am I thankful for the ugly political divide in our land?   Am I thankful I’m so unfruitful with seculars?  Am I thankful I’m such a great example of a bad example of a Jesus-follower?  And if not, why not?  Pride, not humility.  The proud know what’s thankable and what’s not.  Only those freshly surrendered to a SovereignShepherdJesus are able to thank Him for the harrrd.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who only sees the problem when he’s been freshly convicted of unbelief, and it doesn’t last long

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No deeply-happy person

is an idolator.  Deeply happy?  Joy, peace, contentment.  And every believer I’ve ever known, including myself, are bigtime idolators, but we live in denial of the extent of our unhappiness caused by idolatry, in my not-so-humble opinion.  Those of us with a grace foundation in our lives, get better glimpses of our idolatry, but it’s still the tip of the iceberg we see at best, in my experience with others and self.  As Jesus grows a believer in self-awareness, s/he’s enabled to see much further under the waterline, and the more growth in self-awareness, the more we see the magnitude of the problem.  Without Gospel-awareness, we would surely die from grief at the horror of what we are in our flesh — what great examples we are, of bad examples.  We can’t handle the truth, so we unconsciously suppress.

I find I’ve needed three things to experience a measure of happiness in this world, and to begin to be compelling to the seculars around me.  Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty awareness.  That’s the order in which Jesus has worked in me, historically.  For me, any one, or even two, has been insufficient.   I find I desperately need all three, and I need them in ever-growing ways.  No such thing as being arrived in any of the three awarenesses as a believer goes through a day.  And each of them come and go, as the Spirit works.  For control-freaks this is quite frustrating.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, king of control-freaks, whose flesh wishes it could claim some of the credit for the now-and-then work of Jesus in him

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Black preacher exposing Christians,

white, black, brown, whatever, both progressive and conservative.  He’s African-American Coordinator for the Presbyterian Church in America.  And he’s not talking about race, per se.  Although the root of racial prejudice is self-righteousness.  Brave man, taking on the Christian establishment, but preaching very biblically, seems to Dave.  Hope his job’s not in jeopardy. Scary sermon.  Thirty-five minutes.  Wy Plummer.  How our own righteousness undermines our love for Jesus.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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Self-righteousness is impossible

unless a Christian or nonChristian is wise in his own eyes, leaning on his own understanding, confident-he-knows-what’s-best, so as to judge others and self, so as to feel worthier/superior.

–ShepherdDave/JudgeDave, consumed with his own worthiness, except when freshly convicted of the sin of worldliness/self-righteousness, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying everyone just as they are, and the genius plan of his SovereignShepherdJesus, just as it is, content with His alien worthiness, needing none of his own

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