How can I live the re-godded life?
by Robert Krumrey
I’ve been saying recently in Sunday morning sermons that the root of sin is the de-godding of God. It’s a phrase I’m borrowing from professor D. A. Carson. By using this phrase he gets at the very thing that the gospel fixes. Modern day Christians are easily swayed into believing that the good news of Jesus’ saving is mostly about them. He’s there to save them from sin and all of its effects while allowing them to continue in a me centered life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus is both a Savior and a King. He comes to announce the gospel (good news that sinners are saved from sin) of the Kingdom (he’s come to take everything over including us). You see these concepts in the scripture I quoted yesterday from Mark chapter 1:
It is clear that Jesus expects people to respond to the gospel with repentance and faith. This is a re-godding of the human heart which is necessary if one is going to return to Paradise. So what does this re-godded life look like?
The re-godded life is characterized by worship. This may seem obvious, that if you’ve been re-godded and God is now your center, you will worship God. The Apostle Paul indicates this in Romans chapter 12 after he has explained the gospel and called the reader to exercise saving faith in that gospel. He then writes in verse 1 that “by the mercies of God” one should present their bodies “as a living sacrifice which is your spiritual worship”. This describes the new orientation of the re-godded soul - the offering of one’s whole self on the altar of worship as a living sacrifice.
This may still seem rather impractical. Sure, I worship God on Sunday’s when I experience the gospel through song, sermon, and sacrament, but what about day to day living? In order to take this perspective of gospel fueled worship into your day to day you’ll need to learn how to build altars. This is one of the practices we notice Abram (later called Abraham) participating in as he goes about his journey with God:
One commentator I read on this passage mentions the fact that the only thing Abraham is leaving behind in the places where he travels is an altar. Once he had experienced the call of God to leave all and follow, he adopts a daily posture of worship expressed by his building of altars everywhere he sets up camp. But what does this have to do with you and me? Do we need to be building altars next to our desk at work? Not exactly. While we certainly don’t need to build literal altars, we do need to adopt the practice of worshipping God wherever we find ourselves - work, home, running errands, on vacation . . .
Setting Aside Time
In order to do this, we’ll need to be intentional about turning our hearts toward God in worship in the course of every day. This is why maturing Christians try to have time set aside each day (perhaps multiple times per day) to reorient their hearts. Our default as fallen humans is not to be worshippers of God but instead to worship everything else but God. This requires there to be times set aside for “practicing the presence of God”. Reminding ourselves that we live before his face and that we are both loved and led by him. This can be first thing in the morning, during our lunch break, as our head hits the pillow at night. Attach a spiritual component to the usual rhythms of your day (waking, meals, sleeping . . . ) and your overall posture toward God will more likely be that of genuine worship.
Gorging on the Gospel
You just can’t get too much gospel truth. While gorging on almost anything else is eventually going to be detrimental, meditating on the truth of the gospel is something you just can’t get too much of. Think about how your heart is oriented after a Sunday morning service and how you are able to live in a God oriented way for the next few hours. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t take long until we’ve been blasted by some kind of contrary word or image that causes our hearts to gravitate toward something else at our center. This is why we need to be constantly filling our minds with the truth of the gospel. This can happen in a number of ways: Reading our Bibles, listening to theologically sound music, reading good books, regularly talking about the gospel with friends and family.
You may think that this is a little much. Would you say that eating food three times a day is a little too much? Or breathing air every few seconds is a little too much? Of course not! You need these things on a regular basis to live. Your need for the gospel is no different. This intake of gospel truth can be introduced into these times that you set aside for worship at the “altar”. Gospel intake can also be added to parts of your day that would usually be time wasters like a commute to and from work or your walk to class. Even a 10 or 15 minute dose of a sermon or teaching or merely listening to an audio version of the scripture while you are waiting or walking can be a benefit to your spiritual life.
Practicing the Presence
I mentioned earlier the phrase “practicing the presence”. This comes from a book by Brother Lawrence who chronicled his attempt to keep conscious contact with God every waking minute of every day. It’s a really interesting read and a Christian classic. I read this book a long time ago so I admit I don’t remember a lot of its content, but I did take away this concept of keeping conscious contact with God as often as I can. I think this is what the Apostle Paul may be getting at when he tells the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing”. I do this mostly by praying short prayers as I go about my day. If I feel tired or anxious, I ask God to strengthen or calm me. If i’m afraid, I ask for faith. If I’m walking into a difficult situation, I ask for wisdom. After I leave a meeting or an event, I pray for God to continue to work in the lives of the people I’ve just been with. This often occurs in the car where I pray aloud until I pull into my driveway at home. All of this is a work in progress, but it is a part of how God has been re-godding me over the last 33 years of walking with him. I’d like to think that in my journey with him, I’ve left behind many a makeshift altar of worship to the one who is both my Savior and my King.
Robert is husband to Melanie, dad to Kory (and wife Rebecca), Cooper, and Kayla and lead pastor of MERCYhouse. His roles in the church include teaching and leadership.