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The Gospel’s Resurrection Power: Becoming a Better Leader, Spouse, and Parent

by | Jan 9, 2024 | Resources, Videos

In this week’s video, Erik reflects on the idea of making changes in life and the introspection that comes with the start of a new year. He shares his personal struggle with road rage and the desire to manage his frustrations while driving. He discusses the importance of discipline and self-control but emphasizes that true transformation can only come through the power of the gospel. He also encourages us to depend on Christ and his finished work for lasting change in our lives.

Is there a change you want to make in your life? Is there something about who you are that you want to level up or do differently? There is a truth that I return to every year; you don’t want to miss it. Marketplace skills are missionary skills. You know, I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. If you feel the need to make a change in your life, why not just start now? I mean, a new year technically starts every day, but there is something about the flipping of that last digit of a year that instinctively causes us to reflect, and I think some introspection is always a worthwhile exercise.

For instance, for me, this year I’d like to temper my angst and frustration while I’m driving. Some people might call it road rage, but I’ve coined the phrase ‘navigation aggravation.’ It just sounds less ugly, you know? I’m usually a pretty congenial guy, but if you drive 10 mph under the speed limit, if you honk at me as soon as the light turns green, or heaven forbid, if you try to pass me on a roundabout, I will murder you in my heart. I’ll do it. Don’t tempt me. I mean this to be light-hearted and humorous, but it’s really not. It reveals part of my sin nature that just oozes out of me when I am emotionally squeezed, and I don’t like it. I want to do better, so I’m trying a few thought experiments this year to help me manage my frustrations while I’m driving.

For instance, when a crazy driver is riding my tail or swerves past me in the outside lane of a roundabout, I just pretend there is a pregnant lady giving birth in the back seat who just has to get to the hospital right away. Or when the car in front of me is doing 25 in a 40 on a two-lane double yellow where I can’t pass, I just imagine a nervous 15-year-old girl is learning to drive, just like mine had to do a few years back. You know, no reasonable dad gets mad at a 15-year-old student driver, right? So these mental exercises are helpful, and making efforts to discipline my sin nature is noble and even godly. You know, the Apostle Paul said that he disciplined his body to keep it under control, but while they can help me control myself, they don’t actually fix what is wrong with me. Discipline is good, but transformation is ultimately what I need, and only the gospel can do that.

That’s why I love this quote from the late Pastor Jack Miller, and I revisit it every new year. He said, ‘The only New Year’s resolution I make every year is to collapse more fully on Christ.’ I trust in Jesus’ resolve, not mine. Don’t you love that imagery? Collapsing on Christ. You know, if we’re not careful, we can treat Christianity like every other world religion or secular self-help strategy, but the promise of the Gospel is so much greater than that. You see, the Bible isn’t just a manual of godly morals; it is a story. It is the great story of a God who pursued his beloved and lost creation after sin fractured our connection with him.

Tim Keller used to love to say that the gospel isn’t just good advice; it’s good news. It’s the great euangelion, the announcement of what God has done for us that we could never do for ourselves, and there is legitimate power in that good news. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, ‘The message of the Cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction, but we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.’ We see that word ‘power’ again in Romans 1:16, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.’ You see, the gospel is not just another method for changing or managing my behavior; it is power. The gospel is power. It’s Christ’s work for me that is forever at work in me and enabling me to live differently, not just through self-will, but because Jesus’ death and resurrection actually contain transformational power.

So, do you want to be different this year? Do you want to see sustained change in your life? Do you want to be a better leader, a better spouse, a better parent, a better business owner, a better anything? Then don’t abandon your effort. Don’t let go of your will and your discipline. But if you really want to become new, collapse on the only power that can truly resurrect you. Collapse on Christ. It is a lifelong, daily repenting and returning to a posture of dependence, not on what I must do, but on what Jesus has already done. The starting point for my self-discipline is the finished work of Christ. So, don’t spend the New Year just depending on your own resolve; collapse on Christ. Lean into Jesus. Only he can bridge the gap and make you and me into a new creation.

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