Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Revive Thy Work O Lord"1 (Lyrics)
Philippians 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (NIV 2011)
Have you come to a point in your life as a Christian where you feel that you can give no more to the Lord's work? You feel spent. You've given and given, but not enough is given back to replenish you. More is expected from you — in time, money, energy, and loyalty — but you're too far in debt. You owe more to the Lord's work than you have to give. You feel depleted and disillusioned. Maybe, you're even losing interest in God and the church.
At times, dedicated Christians have shared such experiences with me, and I can relate. I call it a crisis of theological bankruptcy. Let me explain:
The word "theology" comes from two Greek words which, combined, mean "the study of God". Our theology is the way that we've come to understand God. But our theology might be deficient, leading us to believe that God demands more than He gives — or rather, more than we believe that we can trust Him for. This deficient theology puts Christians at risk of theological bankruptcy down the road. I'm convinced that this is why many drift away from the church and why many churches close. They've become utterly bankrupt — theologically. They have nothing left to offer.
Meanwhile, Scripture portrays the very antithesis of a deficient God! Look at these breathtaking excerpts:
"…the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" – Romans 11:33
"…the riches of his kindness…" – Romans 2:4
"…the riches of his glory…" – Romans 9:23
"…the riches of his glorious inheritance…" – Ephesians 1:18
"…the incomparable riches of his grace…" – Ephesians 2:7
"…the boundless riches of Christ…" – Ephesians 3:8
That's awesome theology! So why would anyone linger in the red, in theological debt? I say that it's because too much of "me" gets in our theological picture. We count on ourselves too much; our work for God is more about ourselves than about God. Or we assume that we're more capable than the God of Scripture. Only when the size of "me" decreases, can we see a bigger size of God in our theology. Then we'll discover that we can never, ever out-give God — and He can do much more through us than we can ever do for Him.
Theological bankruptcy is a blessing in disguise because it puts us in the position of receivership: We are ready to receive the riches of His abundant grace.
2 Corinthians 9:8 – God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (NIV 2011)
Prayer: Father, out of Your glorious riches, strengthen us with power through Christ's Spirit in our inner being. Help us to receive the full riches of understanding, that we may grasp the mystery of Your goodness and love through Christ. Amen.