Hopeless - But Not Enough

An important lesson from Bob Kauflin in his book Worship Matters.

Stay with it - we have much to learn from his story (pages 22-25).
I spent most of my early years seeking my own glory.  Popularity, music, and academic excellence were my idols of choice...When God saved me at seventeen, my sins were completely forgiven.  But I had deep-rooted sin patterns that weren't going to die easily.

When we moved to North Carolina to help start a church, my cravings for admiration and control were constantly challenged...No one know it at the time, but God was using these situations and others to expose the long-standing sins of idolatry in my heart.  I wanted everyone around me to share my high opinion of myself.  My life was one extended attempt to draw attention to my gifts, my abilities, and my efforts.  But it wasn't working.  I wasn't getting the praise I craved, and that was affecting my soul.  I increasingly struggled with feelings of anxiety, fear, and confusion.  I felt like my life was about to fall apart.

Over the next three months I experienced a variety of symptoms.  Hallowness and tightness in my chest.  Buzzing in my face.  Daily thoughts of death.  ITching on my arms.  Panic attacks.  Sleeplessness.  Shortness of breath.  I woke up each morning to this thought: Your life is completely hopeless.  And things went downhill from there.

I confessed [to pastor/friend], "Gary, I don't know what to do.  I feel hopeless all the time.  Completely hopeless.  I expected Gary to say something like, "You'll be okay, Bob.  God is faithful.  He's working all things for your good."  Instead he looked at me with compassion and stated, "I don't think you're hopeless enough...

"If you were really hopeless, you'd stop trusting in yourself and what you can do and start trusting in what Jesus accomplished for you at the cross."

As I considered Gary's response in the coming weeks, the fog began to lift.  I started seeing a reality that dominated my life - the reality of my sinful cravings.  My problems - emotional, physical, and otherwise - stemmed from battles within my heart of which I'd been largely unaware.  Yes, I wanted God to be exalted through my life, but another agenda was ruling my heart.  I wanted people to approve of me, admire me, applaud me.

To be honest, I wanted people to adore me.  I had an incessant passion to steal God's glory.  I was lover of myself rather than a lover of God.  And it was killing me.  

I was striving to gain the approval of those whose approval was of no eternal significance.  I'd failed to see that the only approval that matters - God's - is impossible to earn but is offered as a gift through the gospel.  And it was the gospel that set me free.

Today the gospel - which I so frequently assumed but so often failed to apply - is the center and foundation of my daily life.

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