Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Road #4: Focus on Undeserved Grace, Not Unmet Needs

What is the real problem in your marriage?
  • Is it unmet needs?
  • Is it that he/she doesn’t fill your little love tank?
That's what many of the books you'll read (even from the Christian bookstore) will tell you.
If that's the real problem, then what's the solution? 
  • If she would just learn your love language and fill up your tank…and you would learn hers and fill up hers…
  • If she would just scratch your back with more frequency and accuracy…and you scratched hers, then everything would be fine. 
No more conflict. No more sin. Right? Isn't the source of our conflict and quarrels really our unmet needs?

Notice - if we buy this explanation, the problem is outside of us
  • If he/she would just fill me up!  
  • If I could just fill him/her up. 
Notice also - if we buy this explanation, we are looking to ourselves for the solution.
But according to Scripture, the source of angry words, unforgiving looks, and cold shoulders is not unmet needs. It’s unsatisfied desires. (72)
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:1-2, ESV)
With a sentence or two, James masterfully shifts our entire paradigm from something we’re missing (an unmet need) to something we’re doing (passionately desiring something we’re not getting). Lurking beneath our unmet needs are desires demanding satisfaction. We “desire but do not have. (73)
And according to Scripture, the solution is not in ourselves! It is in Jesus! It is in the power of the gospel at work in sinners who humble themselves and draw near to a loving God who promises grace to the humble. Watch how James 4:1-2 leads into James 4:6-10:
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Once again, we need turned around. We need to head down Road #4 - focusing not on unmet needs, but on undeserved grace. That road promises more and more grace - grace greater than our sin. And that's good news for sinners who've said "I do."

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