The Magic Pill

by Joseph Franks

How fantastic would it be to love God with every ounce of your being? Can you imagine how incredible it would be to love God so much that no idol or temptation held any sway over your heart? Wouldn’t you love to keep the First Commandment and love the Lord with all your insides and outsides? Wouldn’t you love to keep the Tenth Commandment and covet nothing other than increased experiential intimacy with and practical righteousness before Jesus Christ? Truthfully, if there were a magic pill that caused your heart to be singleminded, faithful, stable, and satisfied in Christ alone, would not you take it immediately?

Well, the bad news is this, such faithful affection and obedience is exactly that which God requires of you in his Law. Such a response to God, at all times and in all places, is required of you if you would be found self-righteous. Such is the divine expectation of the Holy Judge.

Then there is more bad news. If you have ever had one moment when Jesus was not your chief affection, regardless of your words and deeds, hell is before you. God is infuriated with those men and women who glory in someone or something other than him.

The bad news continues; there is no fixing this on this side of the grace. There is no religious father, ecclesiastical institution, spiritual discipline, inspirational book, or magic pill that will fix what ails you. Every man, every day, in every place, breaks God’s Law and sins before his face. This is true whether one claims to be Atheistic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Christian. This is true whether one considers himself to be a guardian of the Law or a granter of grace. Every single individual gives in to lusts and temptations. Every single individuals has idols and then trades them in for others when they fail to satisfy. Everyone reading this devotional today has already dishonored God with their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yes, when King David proclaims in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want,” this is less of an accomplishment and more of a goal. He will prove his failing soon in his life. When one hears Paul say, “I have learned how to be content,” this is not a lesson finally learned, but one he will have to return to over and over again. Both these men are not stating their persistent positions but their persistent petitions.

However, there is very good news for you who see you sin and recognize your need for the Great Physician and Wonderful Counselor.

First, Jesus kept the entirety of the Law for all you who call upon his name. Dressed in the righteousness of Jesus, you look fantastic in the eyes of the Holy Judge. Though your own self-righteousness is as filthy rags; though you be a person who breaks the First Commandment, the Last Commandment, and all the commandments in between; though you be an individual who yields to various lusts and temptations; though you be a double-minded fool unstable in all your ways persistently giving glory to idols that belongs to God; though you covet Christ a little and covet many other things far too much; Jesus earned the righteousness required demanded in the Law and desired by the Father.

Second, Jesus paid for all your transgressions. Your double-mindedness earned you damnation, and Jesus drank the cup of the Father’s wrath in your stead. Sure, there will be consequences for your continued folly. Generally, there will be loving discipline granted you by your Heavenly Lover. However, as his chosen child, God is not angry at you, and there is no condemnation remaining for you — either on this planet or in paradise.

Third, Jesus promises to finish in you that which he began. He sends his Spirit to dwell in your heart. As your priest, he prays for you from on high. And it has been determined — predetermined — that the Fruit of the Spirit is to ooze from your spiritual pores. Like good Indian food after it has been consumed; the aroma will find its way out. So too it is with holiness. You who have been declared holy, you will develop a taste for holiness and a resulting holy aroma. Yes, you do have a responsibility to “put on” and “put off.” You do have a responsibility to make godly decisions, but this is exactly that which you will do as you find yourself graciously connected to the vine. The holy sap of Jesus will come from the branch, through you, and fruit will be seen. It will happen! It is happening! Nothing can stop the sovereign power of the Almighty God. Your total depravity did not do so before your conversion. Your total depravity will not do so following your conversion. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the A to Z, the beginning and the end of your salvation, and your salvation includes justification, sanctification, and glorification. This is very good news.

Finally, take joy in that which you read in the very first paragraph.

How fantastic would it be to love God with every ounce of your being? Can you imagine how incredible it would be to love God so much that no idol or temptation held any sway over your heart? Wouldn’t you love to keep the First Commandment and love the Lord with all your insides and outsides? Wouldn’t you love to keep the Tenth Commandment and covet nothing other than increased experiential intimacy with and practical righteousness before Jesus Christ? Truthfully, if there were a magic pill that caused your heart to be singleminded, faithful, stable, and satisfied in Christ alone, would not you take it immediately?

Lucifer and his demons have no such desires. Unbelievers hate Jesus. Rebels wish not to submit to the Master. But not you! As you become introspective for a moment, do you find you have different desires than most. Do you find you have different desires than you used to have? Brothers and sisters, this is an evidence you have been chosen, redeemed, regenerated, justified, adopted, and filled. This is an evidence you are being sanctified and will be glorified. Therefore, for a short time, be sorrowful and repent over the fact that you do not love Jesus as you ought. But then smile and rejoice that you love Jesus more than many. Smile and rejoice that you love Jesus more than you used to. Then get up off your knees of contrition and dance with delight as you find within yourself a desire to love Jesus more than you presently do.

This is good news, even for those who today will still not love God with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind, and all their strength.

 

 

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