Today, I read Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotional from the morning of February 3. As I think about wrestling to desire God as I’m here in Africa, and honestly, feeling guilty for not enjoying doing ministry (I hate that phrase but can’t think of a better way to put it), this meditation has comforted my heart.
So often, I think, Christians can have a condescending tone or demeanor if another Christian isn’t enjoying “ministry” and thus give the implication that if we aren’t enjoying ministry we must be terrible Christians. This hasn’t been my case with particular people, but I do think it’s a valid generalization. The frustrating thing is that I already know I’m a terrible Christian so it’s not so much of a comfort to receive such “encouragement” from brothers or sisters. I remember Mark Driscoll saying once, “There has been more than one time that I don’t want to go to work.” Driscoll, as you know, is a pastor. I’m sure people thought during that sermon, “Oh, that’s terrible. He should want to go serve the Lord everyday.” The truth is, we are sinful (and so are “ministers”) and we can’t escape it. Every day we feel what Paul did when he wrote, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:15). If that isn’t every Christian’s battle!
The way to not feel guilty is to cling to the truth that Jesus already paid the debt we could not pay. He paid for the days we don’t enjoy serving him. He paid for the bad attitudes and snide comments. He paid for the cold heart toward the lost, poor, broken, homeless, and hungry. He paid for the moments of anger and bitterness and resentment. He paid for every hurtful word spoken and every malicious intention felt. He paid for the days we don’t want to get out of bed. He even paid for false confessions and repentances we make. He paid for it all.
Paul says in Romans 8:12-13, “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” That is the verse Spurgeon meditates on in the devotional. We aren’t debtors to our sin. We aren’t debtors to God’s justice. We do not owe God’s justice anything, if we are in Christ. Jesus paid it all.
My favorite quote from Spurgeon in his meditation is: “Consider how much you owe to his forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts He loves you as infinitely as ever…Consider what you owe to His immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once.”
Because of God’s love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy, I should desire him, I should be motivated to work for him. It won’t always be easy or fun. But, if I am treasuring my Savior who died on the cross for every evil thought, word, and deed, life will be fulfilling and satisfying, because it will be grounded in him. I will be a debtor, not to “Christian duty,” not to the slave-master flesh, but to loving and delighting in him because of what he did for me.