The Fight Against Sin & Our Affections For God | Respond
In Ephesians 2, we see Paul reminding believers that we’re in a battle. The local church needs godly women. We need to be pursuing the Lord and fighting our sin. In this session, Brooke Lovingood walks through 6 truths that will inflate our affections for God.
Ephesians 1 shows us what’s been done for you in Christ. You were dead in your sins and Christ chose to die for you. We need to remind ourselves of the bad news so the good news makes sense.
- Ephesians 2
- Ephesians 1
- Romans 8
- Ephesians 6
Respond Women’s Conference
Read the Transcript here!
Well, hello. Hey, it’s a miracle that you’re here. You’re a woman. So my guess is you’re juggling a thousand things and you’re toddler at this moment might be swinging from the ceiling fan and your husband might have burned the house down, but you’re here. And I just wanna say to you, my prayer has been from the start that you would just be able to release those things and enjoy our time together from start to finish this weekend. And just be able to really hear from the Lord and be able to trust him with the things that you left. And take a minute to abide and focus on him. Like Little said, my name’s Brooke. Snowbird’s a super special place for me. I had the chance to work here a few summers. I’ve brought students here the past few summers.
And we, me and my husband, he’s awesome. We live in Athens, Georgia. Any dogs, fans? Okay. Sometimes I get food, sometimes I get wooed. And it’s been an incredible journey. I started in student ministry. I’m now in women’s ministry. The verdict is still out. If teenage girls or grown women scare me more. So hopefully you’re a nice crowd tonight. Snowbird is special, God has met me so many times here and it’s been a place that has for all the times I came here as a student, worked here and then have brought students and all the time that God has had this place faithfully ministering the gospel. It is unbelievable to focus and intention of a place to just make much of Jesus. And so I just feel honored to get to be here.
I wanted to share a little story. Felt like I needed to just confess some sin tonight to you guys. This past summer we brought our students from Watkinsville. And a big part of my heart wanting to move into women’s ministry was just time in student ministry. Getting time with the moms and seeing the influence and the impact that these women were having and the task that it was to minister and love and care for students and to be a mom, to be a wife, to be a single woman, all those things. I just begin to have a heart, like the local church needs healthy women. They need women that know God’s word. They need women that are equipped. They need women that are encouraged. And just developed a heart for that. And some of that came from the crazy situations I found myself in in student ministry with teenage girls.
And so the summer, another one of my favorite parts of student ministry is that the moms that are in our context, the typical places they shop are like Trader Joe’s, like Whole Foods, like we’re talking kind of boujee here. And so, these moms send these types of snacks on these youth trips with the teenage girls. I’m always like, “Girls, let’s gather around and let’s bring our snacks and let’s enjoy it. Let’s pray and pull out your dark chocolate covered organic almonds for Brooke. Pull out your white cheddar popcorn.” That’s not Walmart brand, this is Trader Joe’s stuff. And I always felt like it was just part of my payment, to let myself into the snack stash. And this summer, this kind of bit me in the butt because, I can’t believe I’m saying this.
I found myself in a cabin with a student, had to walk her back. This was the first night. And I’m like, her name’s Lila. I’m like, “Lila, hey, where are the snacks?” So we go to the corner and she shows me, it’s in another room. And these snacks, it’s few inches deep and like feet wide, these girls dump their snacks in the corner. And I’m like, perfect. So we sit down, we munch a little, we go onto the session, forget about it. Well, the next day during break time, two of my leaders come up to me and they’re like, “Hey Brooke, there is a situation with the seventh grade girls in the cabin over some snacks.” And I’m like, “Oh, crazy.” I’m walking and the student that was with me, Lila, she’s about this tall seventh grader, like full of personality.
She’s walking to me, she’s like, “Brooke, they are blaming me for the snacks.” And I’m like, “Well, Lila, did you steal more later? Were you obvious?” We’re having this conversation back and forth walking to the cabin. And she begins to tell me like, they have taken extreme steps. They have crumpled chips, poured them on her bed. I’m entering a situation that’s not good. And then, she shows me this this note, “No stealing our snacks or we will tell Brooke.”
“We will share if you ask, especially you Lila.” We’re walking in, I walk in and the girls are crying ’cause Lila’s told them that I’m coming. And I’m just like, my mind is rolling. I’m like, what’s the move here, Brooke? So Lila pulls me in the corner and she looks at me in the face and she’s like, “Are you gonna tell them you were with me? And I’m like, “Lila, shh, come here.” We gather, we go. I’m like, “Girls come here. All have fallen short of God’s glory. We make mistakes and we do not crumple chips on girl’s beds when mistakes are made.” And I never told them that I was with Lila.
So here I am, okay, telling you, if that gives you a little glimpse of who I am. Some of you look shocked, some of you are like, “Let her go.” Hey, it was a collective. It was a collective, we have all fallen short. I let myself in there. But even just funny scenarios like that I have learned just the magnitude of things that women in the home and outside of the home carry and have influence over. And so, God just over time developed a heart in me to do anything I can to serve and love women and, hopefully, give them the words. So that’s the hope tonight. If you have your Bibles, you can open to Ephesians 2, if I haven’t lost credibility with you. Here’s something that I think is common from the enemy, that he often makes us take chapters of our lives and threatens to try and get us to define our lives by certain circumstances we’ve walked through. What I mean is like, there are temptation for each one of us to take a page out of our book, a chapter out of our book and say, “This is our whole story.” It’s funny, me and Littles didn’t even talk at all about anything we were all talking about tonight and just her kind of naming some of those things, discontentment, gossip, maybe bitterness, revenge, anger, just different circumstances.
And I bet if I asked you right now, what’s the thing that threatens to just occupy your mind and your heart, steal your joy and just point your gaze downward? You would be able to name it for me. And I think the enemy can so tempt us to want to define our whole life, our whole self off of circumstances, relationships, even successes. And it takes constant and active work to lift our gaze back up to God, to remember the real story that we’re living in, to remember the true story. And that’s what I wanna do tonight. I wanna hopefully with Ephesians 2, paint a picture for you and remind you of the real story you’re living in. And it feels a little bit of a daunting task because it feels like I’m standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and trying to describe it to you. But I’m just trusting the Lord that tonight he would take this text, remind you of what’s true, and that would lift your gaze to him and in turn change you and help you to love him more.
So I’m gonna give us a little background of the book of Ephesians. This is a letter. Paul writes a letter to the church at Ephesus, which is a province in Asia and this church, we know a few things from some of what Paul writes. We know that Paul doesn’t actually have a personal relationship with this church like he does a lot of the other churches that he writes to. But we also know that this church is actually faithful and that’s key. A lot of the other letters Paul writes first and second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Paul’s writing to address an issue. He’s not writing to address an issue in the book of Ephesians. He’s writing to a faithful people. And my guess is you’re at Snowbird Women’s event. There is a good chunk of you that are faithful in Christ. And so, it’s a very interesting key on, “Okay, well what does Paul tell people who are faithfully following God? What does he remind them of?” And for those, maybe that’s not true of you in the room, this room is big, a lot of people here. And maybe your story is that you’re not faithful. You’re in the thick of battling and figuring out what does it even look like to follow God, I think this letter is for you too.
So, the first three chapters, we’re gonna be in chapter two, but the first three chapters, Paul spends time telling them, reminding them, calling them to remember the gospel, calling them to remember the gospel. Chapters 4 through 6. He takes the overarching message of the gospel and plays it out practically, in love, in marriage, in church, in parenting, and interacting with one another. But I specifically, even though we’re gonna be in chapter 2, I wanna draw your attention to chapter 6, really quick. Chapter 6, verse 10. Flip there for a second. You’re probably familiar with this text. It’s the Armor of God text. Verse 10 says this,
“Finally, brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, having done all, to stand firm.” -Ephesians 6:10-13
So this whole letter… We’re teaching out of the context of a letter. This whole letter is building to Paul, ending by reminding them, “You’re in a battle. You’re in a battle.” Faithful People are in a battle. Whether you see it, whether you don’t, you are fighting a battle. And I think the letter up until this point is the fuel for that battle. I love how Paul sets this up because God knows that the key to faithful people, staying faithful is not just more rules, not more striving, not more picking yourself up by your bootstraps, but it’s by growing a greater affection for God. And I don’t wanna throw out rules here. Jesus is serious about holiness and boundaries. If your left arm causes you to sin, cut it off. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. Those are phrases in the gospel, Sin is serious, but man, it is not the only key to unlock our battles and our addictions and our fights. I saw this all the time in student ministry where girls would be in repetitive struggles. Sometimes with pornography, sometimes with body image, sometimes with eating disorders, sometimes with addiction to social media and unable to remove themselves. And what I would see is a good and right desire to fight that battle would be to put boundaries in place. And those were helpful. But just like the law in the Old Testament, that didn’t fix the problem, that didn’t fix the heart problem, they were always tempted to go back.
And where I would see success in these girl’s lives is when they would get a greater love for God than for their sin. When they would love him, it was like they would get a glimpse of his glory and all of his majesty and all of his beauty and all of his holiness, and they would say, “I will choose that late at night when the temptation comes, I still choose God. My love for him is greater than this desire. When I wanna look at something, when I wanna think about something, when I wanna make that decision again, I know that God is greater than that desire.” So that’s our main idea tonight. God gives us… It’s gonna be on the screen behind me. God gives us this truth in Ephesians 2 as an arsenal. Not just to attack evil things, but to inflate our affections for greater things. God’s giving us the truth. We’re about to look at in Ephesians 2 as an arsenal, not just to attack evil things, but to inflate our affections for greater things. Paul’s telling us the battle in Ephesians 6 is one with the truth in Ephesians 2, for us to make it faithfully to the throne of Christ, we must be rehearsing, remembering, reflecting, and meditating on the gospel.
One single glimpse of God’s glory can change a life forever. And if we put our eyes on him day after day after day, and we grow our affection for him, I believe we will stand before him and hear well done. It’s not about rules, it’s not about the law, it’s about a greater love for him. We talked about some of these, but it’s easy to hear, yeah, we’re in a battle. But what does that mean? What does that mean on a Tuesday morning when I’m safe in my kitchen? I don’t feel like I’m in a battle. And again, I think Little talked through some of these things, but the attacks you’re fighting, the attacks I’m fighting is the battling of victim mentality when life doesn’t go our way. Battling fear of insignificance in ordinariness as a mom or a working woman, or a single woman, to remain steadfast in suffering in your marriage with your kids, in your health, in your home, to hope in seasons of depression, to have courage and anxiety, to give peace and panic, to give healing and addiction and maybe addiction around you, to give true identity, even in seasons of success.
I think the enemy can want to attack us in success often times more than even in our hardship. To give perspective and chaos and complaining to give motivation for the great commission and the great commandment, and to give value in the mundane. It doesn’t surprise me that Paul’s charge, Paul’s reminder, what Paul chooses to write to a faithful people is the gospel, that he would choose those who are following him to take time to remind them this is what’s true of you. It’s what’s true of you. We see this all over scripture. You can stay right where you are in Ephesians 2, we’re about to jump in. But I love Job. God’s always reminding us who he is. Don’t forget the story where Jesus is in the boat asleep and the disciples are taking on water, which by the way, Jesus, it’s a valid fear.
Like the boat is, there’s water and they wake him up and Jesus is like, “You have little faith.” I’m like, “You have little faith, you are asleep and we are drowning.” But what’s crazy to me is Jesus thinks that they’re silly for not trusting him, even with real fear around him, Why? ‘Cause he knows who he is. Even when he sleeps in the midst of a storm, he say, No, you should have trust in me. You should plant your eyes on me and know I’m gonna come through for you.” And even in valid fears in our life, Jesus expects us to trust him because he knows who he is. And he says this in Job, Job’s asking questions of God. “What are you doing God? Why is all this happening to me?” And God, this is like the ultimate slam down. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding who determined its measurement, surely you know or who stretched out the line upon it on where were its bases sunk or who laid its cornerstones when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garments and thick darkness Its swaddling band. Have you commanded the morning since your days began? Have you entered into the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare if you know all this.”
God wants us to remember we’re not God and we need to fix our gaze. We need to lift our eyes to him and him alone. Okay. Ephesians 2, here we go guys. We’re coming off Ephesians one. Remember we’re in a letter. You always wanna know what’s going on in the passages around the passage that you’re focused on. Paul is just coming out of Ephesians one where he… I mean it’s one of the most glorious text of all time. If you’re not familiar with Ephesians one, he’s saying, he’s stating what’s been done for you in Christ. And a little side note, when I was a student here, like attending here, I sat in on… Or maybe I was on staff, can’t remember. I sat in on Rob Conti ‘s breakout on anxiety and depression. It was so good. He is so good on that topic. And he talked about two things. Well, he talked about a lot of things, but one of the things that I’ve taken away and I’ve never forgotten, is he encouraged all of us in the room to take Ephesians 1 and Romans 8 and any season of darkness and any season of fear or anxiety, pull the truth out of those things and put them in front of you. Those two texts, Ephesians 1 and Romans 8, are chocked full of truth for your darkest days. Remember what’s true even when you can barely see. That’s just free. I had to say that.
Okay, Ephesians 1, We’re getting out of this text where Paul’s stating things like, “Christ has made you holy and blameless. He’s making us accepted and blessed. He’s forgiven our trespasses. His grace is rich towards us. He’s lavished his wisdom on us. It’s his kindness and good pleasure to make known to us his plan,” just walking through this. And then at the end of chapter 1 he prays, “For this reason, I’ve heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints and I’ve not stopped praying for you. Then we get to Ephesians 2, and we hear more specifically what’s actually, what action actually took place for us, what actually has happened. So I wanna give us six truths tonight. Six truths that hopefully will inflate our affections for God and help us not just fight against evil things, but grow a love for greater things. Truth number one, we were dead in our sins. Look with me at verse 1 of 2, “You’re dead in your sins and trespasses in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air and the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
So for those outside of Christ, Paul makes it clear, you’re dead. You’re dead in your trespasses and sins. It’s necessary to remember the bad news so that the good news makes sense. And I think at times, this has been hard for me personally. I was saved at a really young age. Anybody else have that story in the room? Few had not. And so, I have a hard time remembering five-year-old Brooke that was spiritually dead. And so, there’s times that I can kind of, because my story can feel “good”, I can make the bad news seem not so bad. And reality is if you got saved yesterday or if you got saved when you were six years old, we were dead in our sins, all same level hopeless. And no way out of our sin. The beauty of being a Christian is that we now can say no to sin, but when we are dead in our sins, we have no power to push back against darkness. We have to give in to sin. And so, whether you’re young, whether you’re old, when you know Jesus, we were all in the same helpless state. And no matter your story, the same grace has been shown to all of us in this room if we know Christ. So don’t let your story make you forget that without Christ, you are dead in your sin. Carrying out the desires of the mind and the body with the inability to say no to sin. Captive, enslaved, right, like a puppet to the enemy.
This is like having cancer and not knowing it. Dead and unaware that you don’t even know that you’re dead. I just wanna say in this room tonight, that could be the state of some of you, and we’re begging God to open your eyes. And if anything in your heart stirs to know Him more, to seek Him more, to say, man, maybe that reality is true. Talk to someone tonight. Process that, ’cause the good news is coming. So you’re dead in your sin, pre-Christ. Keep going with me to verse 3. “And among you, whom all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desire of the body and mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind.” So we’re dead in our sin, and we’re also labeled children of wrath apart from Christ. I think it’s important for us to define a few terms here, because we’re gonna talk about this a lot for the rest of time tonight, and then a lot tomorrow morning. I wanna define the terms justice, I wanna define the term mercy, and I wanna define the term grace. ‘Cause it helps us understand this idea of wrath. So justice is getting what you rightfully deserve. God is a just God, and that should comfort a lot of us tonight.
We serve a God that will make all wrong things right, that will punish what is evil. He gives what is rightfully deserved. But God also, in crazy ways, is merciful. He withholds what we deserve. And he puts his wrath in a place that doesn’t deserve it, which is Jesus. And God doesn’t just stop at being merciful. God is gracious. He then gives us what we don’t deserve.
So we have a just God that does punish evil. But we also have a merciful God that withholds wrath to those who trust him. And then, we also have a gracious God that bestows unbelievable love on those who trust him when they don’t deserve it. And in the beauty of who God is, all of those things work together. And I think it’s important to understand when we haven’t put our faith in Jesus, it is God’s rightful place to show his wrath on us. Because he’s a just God. He is a just God. Like everyone else, before Christ, we are ordinary, helpless, and literally dead, literally dead. And then, we have the best news of all time. Verse 4, I call this the best but in the Bible. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved, raised us up with him, seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” I’m gonna fly through this story, but I have to tell it because I think it’s a good illustration for where we were to where God enters the scene and changes our hearts and our lives.
A few weeks ago, I was home alone one night. It was a Saturday night, probably like 8.30, so dark outside. My husband was with some friends. They were, they had gone to a men’s retreat, not Snowbird, but shout out to Snowbird’s men retreat. They had gone to a different men’s retreat and they had gone to like a lake house to hang out with some of his buddies. So I’m home alone and I’m not normally the skittish type, I am a big girl, I am fine to be home alone. And I’m in the front bedroom putting on a fitted sheet on the bed ’cause I’m an awesome wife, and making the bed up. And about the time our doorbell rings, and like our doorbell, it never rings. So I’m like, “What in the world? Stay calm, Brooke, not a big deal.” So I kind of stand there for a second and then said person begins to repetitively knock on the door and I’m like, still stay calm. No big deal. At this point, I call Tyler. He doesn’t have service, of course. So my parents had actually just been there. We had exchanged something and they were driving home. They live about an hour from me. And so I call my dad and the knocking is getting louder and more intense. And I’m like, okay, this is what is going on. And so I’m on the phone with my dad now. And at that point, I can hear this person at the door. It sounds like they’re literally putting their shoulder into the door, like the frame of the door is creaking.
And I’m telling my dad, I’m freaking out, and he’s like, “Go get a kitchen knife.” So I go get one. My mom’s like in speakerphone behind him. You know, it’s just panic mode. Clearly we don’t work well in emergency.
So we’re panicking. Well, at this point, it is now two-handed banging. Like it really is deserving a panic, I promise. I’m starting to freak out. My dad’s like, “Hey, you need to go out the back door.” We live in like a ranch home. So I go out the back door freaking out, holding my speakerphone, my kitchen knife. I’m in the yard and I hear, “Tyler.” That’s my husband’s name. And I’m like, unbelievable. Who could this be? Who could this be? Screaming my husband’s name. Who could this be? I listen some more and I’m like, I think I know that voice. So I walk back and my parents are like, “No, no, do not go to the door.” I’m like, and, “We have blinds. I’m like, I’m just gonna open the blinds.” And I opened the blinds and there is my husband’s, one of his very best friends, dumb little face just, and he looks at me and I’m holding the knife. He goes…
And I swing open the door and he goes, “Are the guys not here?” I said, “They are two hours away at a lake house. And also, did you not notice no car parked in the parking lot in the driveway?” And he literally all silently backed up and just left. We didn’t talk for a minute and had to reconcile. But I can’t tell you the panic to the relief, and then to the anger. But there was first…
There was first such relief. And when I read this, that panic feeling of who is about to come down and beat down this door is what we see in the first three verses, like we are dead, we are helpless, we have no way out, but God. It’s opening of the blind and seeing my friend’s face and knowing I’m safe, knowing it’s okay. I’ll kill him in a second, but I’m okay. That’s the but God here. So the story shifts, right? We see that we’re children of wrath, we see that we’re dead in our trespasses, and then we see that God is rich in mercy. He’s rich in mercy. We’ve already talked about this. But, right, this is God withholding that which we rightfully deserve. And God’s been rich in mercy for all the times. Exodus talks about this, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,” keeping steadfast love for thousands.
We’ve seen all the time God being merciful to Israel, to the needy in the gospel, and then to you and I in Christ. God is rich in mercy, and then God loves us, right? Why did God show us mercy? God being rich in mercy because of his great what? Love. That’s unbelievable. Why did God show us mercy? ‘Cause he loves us. And he doesn’t just love us in a good state, even when we were dead in our trespasses, he loves us. We’ve been shown mercy because we’re loved by God. I recently read a book by a guy named Tyler Staton. It’s really a good book. I just wanna read this on God’s love, and we’re gonna keep flying through. I know it’s late. If your neighbor falls asleep, just smack her across the head. Here’s a summary of the whole 66-book compilation. If you wanna save yourself some time, so he’s talking about the Bible, I’ve got good news, and I’ve got bad news. The good news is that you are loved. You’re loved right now, without qualification or restriction, loved unconditionally for who you are, loved in a way that you can’t lose. The bad news is that you find it very hard to believe that, and even harder to experience it. Your instinct is and will forever be to try to drum up your own lovableness, to become lovable in some way you can define and control, to try to become in your own eyes what you already are in God’s.
The good news is called grace. The bad news is called sin. I know painfully and personally what it feels like to all of the sudden be aware of my need for forgiveness, falling on my face defeated while accusing voices pound away inside my skull, and I know that they’re right. I am not a man of clean hands and a pure heart. My real life is a mockery of who I want to be and wish I was. And there, in the midst of my exposed shame, I hear the rabbi whisper to me what he whispered to the adulterous woman, “Neither do I condemn you.” That love I can’t seem to outrun, and it’s the only thing powerful enough to change me. It’s good news. We have been shown mercy because God loves us. All right, let’s keep going. God also has made us alive. Look with me in verse 6, right? “By grace you’ve been saved and raised up with him, seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” You’ve been made alive, right? You were dead. You were a child of wrath. You’ve been shown mercy. Why? Because God loves you, and he doesn’t just stop at loving you. He actually made you alive in Christ if you’ve trusted in him.
Literally what’s true of Christ is what is true of you. It’s unbelievable news. It’s a mystery, I can’t explain, but it’s the truth. God has made us alive. And lastly, and this is where the whole passage is pointing, read in verse 7, so that, all right, “God raised us up with him, seated us with him in the heavenly places,” verse 7, “So that… ” this is crazy, “in the coming ages, he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.” Why has God done this whole thing, rescued us, redeemed us, pulled us out of the pit, so that he could for all of time, this is crazy, for all of time show his immeasurable grace to you? That’s good news. God wants to show you how good God is. He wants us to participate in that. He wants us to experience that. God’s ultimate purpose and saving a people for himself is to display his grace for all to see forever and ever. It’s like Paul’s giving us a glimpse behind the curtain into God’s motivations. It’s just like able to see, man, this is why God works this way. God is the real deal. He wants to just show kindness. One of the things I love about Snowbird is the leadership here is the real deal. They do ministry to hundreds of people. And it would be so easy for that to grow their pride, for that to get in their head, and across the board, the men and women who serve here are the real deal.
And I think about that, how you get to know people when you see behind the curtain a little bit. And we’re getting to see behind the curtain of God’s heart that he does all of this so that for all the time, he wants to show his grace to us. It’s amazing, it’s amazing. So this truth in Ephesians 2, this Grand Canyon type of truth we have is not just an arsenal to attack evil things. It is meant to inflate our affections for greater things. Do you see? We go from dead, children of wrath, to loved, saved, forgiven, and blessed children of God, just like the faithful people in Ephesus needed the truth of the gospel, you needed to, I needed to desperately, desperately, we never move on from this. I put a few points of application. I’m a real practical girl. Sometimes I’m like, “Okay, this is great, but what do we do with it?” I wanna just throw up a few points this week, and maybe you can just take these and do them, but these are some things that help kind of inflate that affection for God. One, take one of these six truths, write it on a card, and carry it around with you. If for seven days you take the word mercy and think about it, you think about how God has not given you what you deserve, but he’s placed it on Jesus, you, it will change you. It will cause you to love him so much.
I have this list on my phone of things that I love about my husband, and when we have little tiffs, I pull that thing out, and I go alone in my room, and I read it, and I remember, “He is awesome, Brooke, right? Don’t forget.” W do the same thing with God. Write one of these truths down the next seven days, and just remember it, reflect on it, dive into it, define things, study it. Name 10 ways, personally, so take a journal this week, 10 ways in written form how you personally have been shown the grace of God. Think, what has God given you that you don’t deserve? Start with Jesus and keep going. He wants to display his grace for you. He wants you to notice his grace. Name the relationship that you need to extend grace to. Give grace to someone this week. Look for ways to practice what God has shown to us, and you will love him more. And then meet with someone, meet with a friend, meet with a spouse, meet with a kid, a parent, and just say, “Hey, we’re gonna meet, and all we’re gonna do is talk through some of these truths and reflect and remember together how good God is.” I have a group of core girlfriends that we will call each other and just say, “What are you learning? Help me remember. Help me remember who God is. Help my affections go back to him.” So, so helpful.
I’m gonna end with this, and we’re done. I’m gonna sing a little. Kilby Helms, I don’t know how many of you know her. She’s Brody and Little’s daughter, incredible. And she posted something on Facebook, a Facebook messenger to get her permission to share this, but you know, it’s on Facebook. And I just, I was so moved by her words. She serves as a missionary in Africa and has just… Her and her husband, Greg, and they’ve just faithfully loved the Lord. And the point of this post is a little different than what I’m making, but I still just wanna read these words, ’cause it’s so true. She begins to kind of vulnerably share about struggles that missionaries have, and her point is, she’s trying to tell people, “Hey, don’t elevate people in ministry. Don’t elevate people in missions. We all battle things.” So she says this, “Missionaries are broken people. I once shared of my personal struggle with body image while serving overseas, and the sister I shared this struggle with replied, I didn’t think that someone, that is something you would struggle with since you’re a missionary. I promise this is a real conversation I had, and as a 20-year-old newlywed on the mission field, it stuck with me deeply.”
And then she begins to list things that she battles. This is the battle we’re fighting, listen to these. “As a missionary, my thoughts and heart are constantly wracked with pride. I am so inclined to apathy. I have spoken many harsh words to those I profess to love and care for. I am the worst gossip I know. I interweave little white lies throughout so much of my life, either by exaggeration of story or by painting myself in a better light. I judge others so mercilessly. I am often wracked with self-hate and insecurity. I have to fight lust, and I have often failed in that fight. I’ve had panic attacks while on the mission field. I hold grudges ruthlessly. My love towards my husband very rarely looks like what it’s described in 1 Corinthians 13. Seldom patient, rarely preferring my husband, eager to boast in myself. I am the most irritable person I have ever met. My thoughts are ever orienting themselves selfishly with me at the very center, all while being on the mission field.” She goes on to say, “Please stop holding missionaries to an unrealistic standard.” But I just thought, I could not word that better. That is the battle we’re fighting in Ephesians six, right?
The truth we looked at tonight is not just an arsenal to attack those things, to do better, to grip those things, but it’s so that those things don’t even look appealing to us anymore, and that God looks greater. We fight not by dwelling at the thing that so often tempts us, but by fueling our affections for something greater. The battle in Ephesians 6 is one with the truth in Ephesians 2, let’s pray.
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