Reading Reflection:

The Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller (Dutton, 2008) When it comes to identifying idols and applying the gospel, Keller is so convicting for me.  This book goes through the parable of the prodigal son, showing the idolatry of self-righteousness in the older son, and the Father as the One who has spent everything.  Here’s a quote near the end that I believe convicts us all:
We habitually and instinctively look to other things besides God and his grace as our justification, hope, significance, and security.  We believe the gospel at one level, but at deeper levels, we do not.  Human approval, professional success, power and influence, family and clan identity—all these things serve as our heart’s “functional trust” rather than what Christ has done, and as a result we continue to be driven to a great degree by fear, anger, and a lack of self-control.  You cannot change such things through mere will power, through learning Bible principles and trying to carry them out.  We can only change permanently as we take the gospel more deeply into our understanding and into our hearts.  We must feed on the gospel, as it were, digesting it and making it a part of ourselves. That is how we grow. (115)
I’m not a Christian because I’m a good, moral person.  I am a Christian because I am a depraved, selfish person who has been pursued by irresistible grace.  My redeemer, Jesus Christ, is sufficient to clothe me in His righteousness and transform me into His image.  He is where I find my value, meaningfulness, and success.  Why do I keep turning to my own ways of achievement?  Whether the doors of opportunity have been open or shut for me, my Lord has never let me down.  Even when I get caught up in looking to something else for fulfillment, He is gracious to reveal to me my idols, and even remove them from me if need be.  Thank you, Lord, for pursuing Your people at all cost, and not allowing one of us to escape Your love.