“Even after you are converted by the gospel your heart will go back to operating on other principles unless you deliberately, repeatedly set it to gospel-mode.
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 those 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.
This is why almost each morning I have to reset my mind. I have to intentionally set my mind on the Gospel and the grace it provides. Losing my religion is tougher than I ever thought.[i]
Henri Nouwen asks:
“Can the elder son in me come home? … How can I return when I am lost in resentment, when I am caught in jealousy, when I am imprisoned in obedience and duty [that is] lived out as slavery?” The answer, Henri says, can be found in living with gratitude as a discipline and not just in response to gifts or favors received. To live in gratitude is not only a discipline; it is a choice.[ii]
How are you responding to the Heavenly Father? Have you heard the acceptance that is yours? He had another Son who followed you all the way to the pigpen and came to bring you home. Jesus is the elder brother who inherited His Father’s heart and is more interested in restoring than condemning.
Let us lose the religion of resentment and performance. There is a place in the Father’s House where every child is celebrated and loved.