I am not good at waiting. In fact, some that know me well might even say that I am impatient. While this character flaw allowed me to excel in school where teachers loved to call on the precocious kid who always raised his hand first, it doesn’t always works so well in real life where answers don’t come so quickly.
I think this has also been an issue for Christians ever since the ascension of Christ as we “wait for our blessed hope” as it says in Titus 2:13. The good news of the gospel is that it not only prepares us for heaven one day, but it also empowers us to live transformed lives here on earth while we wait. I had not really thought much about this until today, but we are fact in training. Titus 2:12 says that there very grace that saved us is also, “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives inthe present age.”
That sure seems like a tall order to me on most days. This preparation to be the purified church is also supposed to result in a faith that is zealous for good works. (vs.14). I have to confess that on many days I am more zealous for personal comfort and ministry success than for good works. How easy it is to pass off this high calling as a “works righteousness” theology and then fall back into patterns of selfishness and cheap grace that Deitrich Bonhoeffer once described.
The irony in all this is that grace of the gospel provides a motivation for service that far surpasses any self will that I can muster (which is not much) and is an antidote to the typical human motivators of fear and pride. My problem is that I don’t focus my full attention on the only sustaining and life changing motivator that has ever truly worked in all of human history – the completed work of Christ on the cross on my behalf. I have to confess that what I need is to surrender my gaze and to become completely dependent of Him even to provide me the ability to see what He has truly done. The distractions of this daily life compete so strongly for my attention that a true heart of gratitude is easily marred by the ever present temptation to busyness, worry and fear.
As I begin a new week, I look forward to seeing the power of the gospel of grace train me to live a life where I renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and live a self-controlled, upright life that is demonstrated to others through a zealousness for good works. I have a sneaking suspicion though that this may take longer than I would like and that this impatience DNA that so consumes me is what the training is all about. How wonderful it is to know that I serve a savior who died that I might live and that I might live more abundantly.