Passion Week Prayer Guide - Tuesday: Heart Humbled By The Gospel

Tuesday: Heart Humbled by the Gospel

THE GOSPEL IS THIS: WE ARE MORE SINFUL AND FLAWED IN OURSELVES THAN WE EVER DARED BELIEVE, YET AT THE VERY SAME TIME WE ARE MORE LOVED AND ACCEPTED IN JESUS CHRIST THAN WE EVER DARED HOPE.

TIMOTHY KELLER, THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE

I. Scripture

a. Read 1 Timothy 1:12-20.

b. Think about the context of what Paul is saying here. He has warned his protégé in the faith, Timothy, about false teachers and the rampant immorality that is practiced by the ungodly (vv. 3-11). Now, he turns his attention to Christ’s work in his life. Imagine your life before Christ—what were your main desires? In what did you trust? In what did you place your hope?

c. Do you look back on your life before Christ and feel shame? Distress? A need to make things right? Or do you feel gratitude? A feeling of humble praise overwhelming you?

d. If you feel both regret and gratitude, it may be either the Holy Spirit working in you to make things right (2 Corinthians 7:9-11) or the shame of the Enemy trying to steal the joy of your salvation away. Ask God for wisdom regarding this.

e. Are you “the chief of sinners”? Paul’s statement should be common-sensical: the only person’s sin-life that you are fully intimate with is yours. Thus, you always have a front-row seat to your depravity and cancerous desires. Does this humble you? Do you spend more time on others’ faults than your own deplorable flesh? (See Matthew 7:3-5)

f. Paul points out the shipwrecked faith of Hymenaeus and Alexander. Does this make you glad that it wasn’t you, or does it humble you to the point of saying, “but for the grace of God go I”? Ask the Lord of your heart to change you.

II. Reading

"We have an inborn persisting tendency to attribute to ourselves the successes of our spiritual life, the resistance we offer to temptation, the devotion we achieve, the discipline we keep and the good works we do. Surely we thank God for all that, but in our heart of hearts we congratulate ourselves on our exploits, and secretly worship our sword and our bow. We take as done by us what is done by God in us; even obvious graces from heaven stick to the soul and seem after some time to be connatural to us and springing from us. That is spiritual pride of the worst kind, and if it really takes hold of a soul, it is enough to stop any spiritual progress at all. The disease is as dangerous as it is common." (Carlos G. Valles, Faith for Justice)

III. Reflections

a. Reflect on the Scandal of the gospel: Paul notes that “for one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for you (Romans 5:7-8). This is no way for a dignified god to behave! And yet, this is precisely what the God of everything, the God before Whom every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, decides to do (Philippians 2:10). And he does it for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2)!

IV. The Lord’s Prayer

V. Ending Prayers

a. Confess—your sin of pride and self-assurance. You are only saved by the vast grace of God, who would be just should He destroy you. As Jonathan Edwards boomed, “the bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood” (J. Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God).

b. Pray—that God would illuminate your darkened mind and make your heart humble before Him. God dwells in unapproachable light (I Timothy 6:16) and to get close to Him is to be as good as dead (Genesis 32:30; Exodus 19; Isaiah 6:5). But thanks be to God! He brings us close and makes dead people into live people through his presence! (Romans 4:17)

c. Praise—God, and may your heart be lifted as it is humbled by God’s great love for you, a sinner.

Father God, I was born a sinner to sinful parents in a sin-soaked world. I was stillborn, without a prayer, and up to my ruddy cheeks in depravity. Yet you stooped, condescended, and became a Man without a country, to a people that should have rejoiced at your appearing. Instead, they maligned you, despised you, forsook you, condemned you, and watched with wonder at your death. And I was there. And “it was my sin that held you there,” my Lord and my God! My sin, and my sin alone, would have warranted the wrath of God that was poured out on your flesh that dark Friday. And yet, you took it. You took the forsakenness that should have been my portion and drank it. You took the full brunt of the Father’s just wrath so that I would not. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you that I need not live in fear of condemnation, that my debt has been paid, that I’ve been redeemed by Your blood shed for me! In Your powerful name I pray, Amen.