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We Hurt In Ways That Cannot Be Fixed

“We are relational, not mechanical.  That means we hurt in ways that cannot be fixed.  It also means that our only hope is to develop a relationship with someone who can support us in our pain, someone who will lift us to a sphere of living where something matters more than pain, until a day when we will hurt no more.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 18

Questions for Reflection:

• Do you feel relief or distress at the realization that we are inescapably relational, not broken things needing to be fixed?
• If you come to God relationally today, instead of asking Him to fix what is wrong in your life or your heart, what do you most want to say to Him?
• As you quiet your heart before Him, is there anything that matters more to you than the pain of what cannot be fixed?

When Problems Arise

“As we live our lives, we will either put ourselves first or we will live for God. And when problems arise, the difference between those two approaches will become especially visible. Either we will devote all our energies to overcoming our difficulties so that we can enjoy life again, or we will be more concerned to trust God in the midst of our problems so that we can better reflect His glory and serve His purposes.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 8

Questions for Reflection:
• Are you currently focused more on securing the life you desire or on revealing God’s glory amid whatever is happening in your circumstances?
• In today’s challenges, what opportunities to worship God and reveal Him to others might be available?
• Share with God (and perhaps with a friend), what you long to see Him do in your heart in the midst of your present situation.

Self-centeredness a Worse Enemy Than Self-Hatred

“It is ‘another gospel’ that invites us to change life around so that we relate to ourselves with an absorbing concern to enjoy our value, to others with a self-protective caution, and to God with warm appreciation for extending Himself so that we can love ourselves.

What I understand to be the biblical approach encourages us to view self-centeredness as a worse enemy than self-hatred.  It invites us to explore the riches of Christ’s value (rather than our own) by repenting of our failure to trust Him and learning to worship and serve Him because of His worth, not ours.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 8

Questions for Reflection:
• In what ways do you rationalize your self-centeredness?
• As you ponder the nature of Christ, where do you feel stirred to repent?
• What draws you to worship?

God Created Us to Reflect His Character

“Life in Christ is all about relationships, with God, others, and ourselves.  When we reduce Christianity to a series of steps for handling life better or a set of truths to believe or a list of things to do, we miss the whole point of the gospel.

“God created us (and then re-created us) to enjoy His kindness and loving generosity and, in the strength of that enjoyment, to reflect His character by giving ourselves unselfishly to each other.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 5

Questions for Reflection:

• Do you think of Christianity as being primarily relational?
• Why or why not?
• In what ways has receiving God’s kindness given you the strength to offer yourself unselfishly to others?

Meet Me Where I Am; Give Me Hope

“…I long to be part of a church that somehow connects what we do when we meet together to who I am when I’m alone. And I want that connection to release power that can transform me into a lover of God and a lover of others.

I think that is God’s plan – to meet me where I am, in all my ugliness, not where I pretend to be or wish I were; to meet me in my weakness and shame and fear and to give me hope that God loves me, that He can change me, and that He can use me.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Real Church, Page 61

Questions for Reflection:
• Where is there disconnection between your private life and your communal worship?
• What stirs in you at the thought of inviting God into where you truly are right now?
• Is there someone with whom God is leading you to share your heart more honestly?

My Kind of Church

“I want to be part of a church that knows two things clearly: (1) that I’m a mess, and (2) that God is love.  I lose sight of both so easily.  I’m quite certain I’ve never seen either truth in all its fullness.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Real Church, Page 60

Questions for Reflection:
• How might community deepen within a church that is willing to engage the truth that each of us is a mess and that God’s love is greater than our mess?
• In relational challenges that you are currently facing, what might it look like to trust that God’s love can release you from the power of your own sin so that you can embrace another amid their weakness and failure?

There Is No Other Way To Enjoy My Presence

“You are growing up. Your days of naïve worship and shallow but exciting intimacy are over. It is always difficult for a child to become an adult, to draw close to Me as I am.

“You are wrong to demand My cooperation with your understanding of life. Because I love you and because My plans for you are good, I demand your cooperation with Mine. There is no other way to enjoy My Presence.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, God’s Love Letters to You, Page 50

Question for Reflection:
“Think of an area in your life right now that is troubling to your heart. How might you be demanding that God cooperate with your agenda?” (p. 51)

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