by Erin Bird
This week on the blog, I want to finish up our series on J.D. Greear’s “Gospel Prayer” found in his book simply entitled Gospel. In case you missed any of the three previous “Notes” on this prayer, you can catch up here on blog. And in case you need a simple refresher, here is J.D.’s prayer (with slight massaging by me) one last time:
“Heavenly Father, in Christ, I know there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less. Help me realize Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy. Just as you have been to me, so I will be to others. And Heavenly Father, as I pray, help me measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”
Let’s take a few moments to look at that last sentence together: “Help me measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”
Have the Right Scale
A few years ago, I was fairly focused on my weight. Now, I wasn’t obsessed with it. I simply wanted to make sure I wasn’t piling on the pounds. So roughly once a week, I’d jump on the bathroom scale at home. And most weeks, I held steady, content with what my scale told me.
One day, my wife and I learned the medical sharing group of which we were part was offering a discount for “healthy” people. If you could meet a few physical markers (weight, body-mass index, blood pressure, waist size, etc.), they gave you a discount on the sharing amount you needed to send in each month.
Since my scale at home indicated I met this medical sharing group’s “health incentive marker” for weight, I gladly found a medical professional to confirm the truth, so I could send the results in and save my family some moola. But when I stood on the clinic’s digital scale and the medical professional called out the weight on the screen, I shot him a look of shock. He had to be wrong. Either that, or my clothes weighed over ten pounds. (PSA: The clothes on your body don’t weigh ten pounds. If you include your shoes, everything together weighs far less than five pounds.)
A couple weeks later, I found another scale. While my home scale continued to tell me I was just fine, the whisper of the clinic’s scale continued to haunt my thoughts. So I wanted this third (and hopefully unbiased) scale to let me know if my home scale was telling me the truth, or if the “cruel” clinic’s scale had actually been accurate. As I stepped on this last scale, I let out a disappointed sigh when the number before me matched the clinic’s blunt assessment.
So what does my lying home scale have to do with today’s topic?
I think each of us carries an internal scale that measures God’s love and power. But like my home scale, our internal scale can get off. Too often, we judge God’s love with a “what have you done for me lately” scale. Sure, you might have seen Him do something really cool in your life 5 years ago, but when the past year ends up being really really difficult, you begin to doubt what happened 5 years ago. You begin to think either God doesn’t love you, is too busy to notice your circumstance, or just flat out isn’t capable of changing your situation.
That’s where the Gospel comes in.
The Historical Scale
The Gospel is like the clinic’s scale. It is FAR more accurate than our daily emotions to give us a clear picture of God. For the cross shows the immeasurable love of God, and the empty tomb shows the immeasurable power of God.
Here’s what I mean:
When you screw up big time, you need to look at the cross and measure God’s love for you through what Christ has already done versus the stupid thing you just did.
Or, when you are facing a crisis, like a health scare or a financial crash, you look at the empty tomb and measure God’s power through the resurrection of Jesus.
When your eyes look back on history, you realize God is so much bigger than your current reality. That’s why you need to not use the scale of today, or the scale of culture, or the scale of personal thoughts, or the scale of emotions to measure who God is and what He can do. Rather, you need to use the far more accurate scale of the gospel to let you see that God DOES love you far more than you can imagine, and He is far more powerful than you ever realized.
And when you realize how much He loves you, you want to come to Him in prayer. And when you realize how powerful He actually is, you can trust anything and everything to Him.
So join me in praying, “God, help me measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”