A Housewife, Desperate for the Gospel

For the past several years we’ve been living in the joy of gospel-centeredness. We’ve rediscovered through sermons, books, and a growing understanding of Scripture that the gospel really isn’t just for the unbeliever but is something for the seasoned Christian too. Gospel-centeredness isn’t necessarily a new concept. Jerry Bridges says he started writing about it after reading the Puritans. For us, it has helped us, piece by piece, reorient our thinking on how we identify sin at its root and do battle with it in our lives. Positively, it has involved our realizing where our hope lies, what our motivations are for sanctification, and what our identity with Christ has to do with all of it.
As is the case most of the time with my growth, I grasp certain truths intellectually before I begin to flesh them out. For example, it has been easy for me to confess that I need the gospel everyday as much as the day I first believed it. And I do affirm that truth wholeheartedly. But if you asked me what exactly that meant and what it looked like in my life, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it completely. Until recently.
Our Crossroads class is winding down the study, The Gospel-Centered Life. It has provided me with the nuts and bolts of what it looks like to apply the gospel to my daily life and effectively address my need for it. Yesterday was one of those days that God provided a multitude of opportunities for application.
Everything was fine in the early morning hours while I was reading my Bible and praying. No one was opposing me and I was feeling oh so spiritual. Then I heard creaks in the floor above me. Immediately my heart started racing – in anger, not fear – well, maybe a little (OK, a lot) of both! Was it Matt walking around (in my opinion, loudly) on our creaky floors? Was he going to wake up the kids? Or worse, were the kids up already?! I tried to regain focus, but I was too annoyed to benefit much more.
So, I came upstairs and discovered my greatest fear – the kids were indeed awake. Being the godly wife I am (note sarcasm), I asked (which involved a little asking mixed in with a lot of accusation…you know, trying to be gentle, but not quite submitting to the Spirit enough to make it all the way to gentleness) Matt if he accidentally woke up the kids. For the record he did not, but that didn’t change the fact that they were now awake and I had yet to take a shower. 
I’ll spare you all the gory details, but the day was one of catastrophic failure. As spiritual as I had felt in the early morning hours, I felt that unspiritual as the day went on. Yes, I asked my kids to forgive me throughout the day for losing my temper and not opening my mouth in wisdom and kindness, but I still had issues. Big ones.
Later in the afternoon it culminated with Stella handing me a note (I can only assume the poor girl was scared to talk to me and I don’t blame her!) saying, “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day.”
It was dinnertime. Matt was studying through dinner for his class that night, so I was forced to approach God in prayer and thank Him for providing our food for us. Instead of just intellectually confessing I needed the gospel, every fiber of my being was crying out that I needed the gospel! In fact, I knew I couldn’t go on without it. So I stood over my kids with my head bowed low and applied what I had been learning.
I confessed my sin. The root of my sin wasn’t my anger or my words, but the fact that I had been idolizing my own time, a quiet house, peaceful sibling interactions, immediate obedience, and no interruptions. I wanted to have an easy day without frustration. I loved my ideal for how the day should go rather than God’s will for me. That was my sin. I repented, turning from my sin to Jesus, who walked through this frustrating world, full of interpersonal problems, without sinning. I found my hope, not in my resolve to do better or in my guilt over doing poorly, but in His perfection. He overcame the temptations I had given into all day, and actively applied His victory to my life. I was humbled and thankful.
My problems weren’t over when I finished praying though. I knew I would be confronted with yet another temptation – the temptation to find comfort in something apart from Jesus. I would try to perform (put into action a flurry of activity to make up for the way I had behaved all day) or pretend (plaster on the plastic Christian smile that communicates, “My life is perfect.” and “Sin?! What’s that?!”). But instead I stayed at the cross knowing HE had paid for my sin and I couldn’t add any works to what He had done. His suffering for my sin was sufficient. It satisfied God. I didn’t need to try to satisfy God by paying for my own sin. Jesus’ payment was enough. I was forgiven. Period. Again humility and thankfulness flooded over me. I abandoned my performing and pretending and basked in God’s grace to me. And that grace didn’t make my attitude toward my sin a careless one. That grace made me hate my sin for what it cost Jesus. It made me want to stay hidden in His work for me and let His wounds provide the double cure I needed – saving me from His wrath and making me pure.
So I continued through the night dependent on His grace, freed to obey Him!
I wish I could say yesterday was an unusual day. The truth is though, today hasn’t been much different. Yes, some days are more peaceful than others and go somewhat according to how I plan them, but my heart has a war raging within it that is rarely at peace. So today I find myself starting the same cycle over. What am I idolizing that is causing me to sin? Repent. Hide myself in Jesus’ perfect life and sufficient death. Stay there. Don’t try to perform or pretend. Let His freely poured out grace be the motivation that helps me freely obey. Repeat…repeat…repeat…until He returns or calls me home.
Your life circumstances might have you out of the home, but if you’re like me, regardless of your circumstances, there are idols your heart is embracing and trials and temptations you’re facing too. There’s room at the cross for you. Find me when you get there and we’ll repent and worship together. And come look for me if I’m not there, because I can guarantee I need to be!

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