Get this book: Living the Cross Centered Life
– Mahaney says that there are three main tendencies/temptations we face that move us away from the gospel:
1. Subjectivism – basing our view of God on our changing feelings and emotions.
2. Legalism – basing our relationship with God on our own performance.
3. Condemnation – being more focused on our sin than on God’s grace.
That covers about all of us. Getting beyond feelings, performance, and our failure is what the cross helps us do, but these keep us from the blessing of the cross if we choose them over Jesus.
– Great stuff on emotions! Feelings are authoritative these days. Perhaps for many, they have become more authoritive than truth. Mahaney cautions us about putting feelings over belief/truth. “There’s heart-transforming truth in the Scriptures, but you won’t encounter it by first trying to feel it. Knowing and; wholeheartedly believing the truth will always bring you, in time, to a trustworthy experience of the truth” (page 36). “… the gospel and its events remain completely unaffected by whatever is agitating our emotions” (page 40). I’m seeing too many people today that are off Mission because of how someone else, some event or some thing made them feel. My feelings must never guide me away from my mission to be a faithful steward of the Gospel. Truth transforms us and our emotions should follow that transforming work.
– How can we stay focused on the cross? A whole chapter devoted to that very question suggest five things:
1) Memorize the Gospel – Mahaney provides some key verses to start with: 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:31-34; Isaiah 53:3-6; Romans 3:23-26; Romans 5:6-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Galatians 2:21.
2) Pray the Gospel
3) Sing the Gospel – a hymn book and some of our choruses listed in our Sunday bulletins might be helpful here.
4) Review how the Gospel has changed you. Suggested that we write out our testimony in two or three pages.
5) Study the Gospel – “Camp out in the books of Romans & Galatians” (page 142). Read great books on the cross and salvation. Here are a few Mahaney suggests that I may check out later this year:
– The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges.
– The Cross of Christ by John Stott.
– The Power of the Cross of Christ by Charles Spurgeon.
A few other personal suggestions:
– Fifty Reason Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper.
– Experiencing the Cross by Henry Blackaby
Another plus is the book is short and easy to read. Provides great motivation for doing what its title says.