Friday, January 23, 2015

John Stott's Basic Christianity: Putting our Trust in Christ

“We shall never put our trust in Christ until we have first despaired of ourselves. As he himself said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” 
~ From Chapter 6 of Basic Christianity by John Stott


In the specificity of this passage, John Stott draws a direct bead on my initial conversion.   After decades of trying to live by my choices and only a conceit-driven faith in a sidelined Christ, I was slowly drawn into spiritual despair.  One day, I realized that I was afraid.  Fear gathered in me and despair about the natural and supernatural, life and death, and happiness and gloom welled up in me in a way that defies words. But I felt that void deep within my core; there was no mistake in that.
The Holy Spirit draws us to God through hints in our everyday, but, through the noise of the world, or what Wordsworth called “getting and spending,” the enemy is there to drown God out.  We, despairingly, turn in on ourselves and rely on our own conceit and instincts. True epiphany happens when we realize, and we all do at one point, that God created us to be powered by His love.  This realization, therefore, sheds light on our human failure to find complete, satisfying happiness by failing to seek Him with our complete selves.  We are, moreover, like a vehicle bereft of fuel stalling on the insufficient fumes of our pride. This despair opens our hearts to seek Christ and to put our trust in His deliverance and love. We were made in the “image and likeness of God” and created to love, serve, and be with Him for eternity.  Without Christ, we wither inside and slowly die. With Christ, however, we flourish and bloom into eternity.