So I just finished reading Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividijan. It's a book I asked for and received for Christmas (... no I'm not a slow reader, I was finishing other books first ... and I "misplaced" this one for a while). For me chapter 11 In the now, was the best part of this book. I needed to hear what this chapter was saying. Let me show you what impacted me so much.
The only way we come to a fuller experience in understanding God's will, and in pleasing God, and in bearing fruit in good works, and in knowing God, and in joyful and patient endurance - the only way those things become an increasing reality for us - is through our fuller understanding and embrace of the gospel, the greater realization that we've already be qualified, delivered, transferred, redeemed, and forgiven. (pg. 170)
Christian growth happens by working hard to daily swim in the reality of what we do have. Believing again and again the God's free justifying grace every day - and resting in his verdict - is the hard work we called to do. (pg. 172)
... the hard work of Christian growth consists primarily in being daily grasped by the fact that God's love for us isn't conditioned by anything we do or don't do. Sanctification is the hard work of giving up our efforts at self-justification. (pg. 172)
The key to Christian growth, then, is not first behaving better; it's believing better - believing more deeply what Jesus has already accomplished (pg. 172 - 173)
Growth always happens "in grace". In other words, the truest measure of our growth is not our behavior (otherwise the Pharisees would have been the godliest people on the planet); in our grasp of grace - a grasp which involves coming to deeper and deeper terms with the unconditionality of God's love. (pg. 173)
Our main problem in the Christian life is not that we don't try hard enough to be good, but that we haven't believed the gospel and received its finished reality into all parts of our life. (pg. 173)
... the more I look to Christ and his promises for peace, the more I find. Christian growth is forgetting about yourself. (pg. 175)
Progress in obedience happen when your hearts realize that God's love for us does not depend on our progress in obedience. Martin Luther had a point when he said, "It is not imitation that makes us sons; it is sonship that makes imitators." (pg. 175)
Lasting behavioral change happens as you grow in your understanding of the gospel, and then as you learn to receive and rest in - at your point of deepest need - everything Jesus secured for you. (pg. 179)
Real Christian growth, according to the seventeenth-century Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs, "comes not so much from our struggling and endeavors and resolutions, as it comes from flowing to us from our union with Him." (pg. 181)
The gospel's secret to maturity is this: we become more spiritually mature when we focus less on what we need to do for God and focus more on all that God has already done for us. (pg. 185)
Gospel-driven change is rooted in remembrance. The way God grows us, develops us, and matures us is by reminding us of what he has already done for us in Christ. (pg. 186)
Finally, one of the indicators that we're firmly on the path of Christian growth - one of the marks of a truly maturing Christian - is that we begin to love the things God loves, and to what the things God wants, and to hate the things God hates. (pg. 188)
Jesus + Nothing = Everything by: Tullian Tchividjian published by Crossway copyright 2011.