(Last New Attitude post, I promise! Continuing with a recap of sermon notes and thoughts on application...)
Discerning Grey Matters - Eric Simmons (Mon. a.m.)
- grey matters are not areas where we do whatever we want, but areas where we seek harder to understand God's will
- 3 parts of discerning grey matters: (1) think biblically; (2) distrust your heart/motives; (3) imitate your Father
Infertility can be full of grey matters. I want to exercise discernment through ongoing evaluation of each step and each action undertaken in our quest to conceive. I don't want to make any assumptions (i.e. we did IVF in an ethical way before, so it's okay to keep attempting IVF as many times as it takes) without thinking biblically and examining my motives with grace-filled suspicion. As I write about infertility on this blog, I want to seek to imitate my heavenly Father rather than patterning myself after the subculture of the infertile. While I thank God for my companions in this struggle, I want to be identified more as a child of God than an infertility blogger.
Discerning What Pleases God: Himself - John Piper (Mon. p.m.)
- Who is the most God-centered person in the universe? God himself
- Who is uppermost in God's affection? God himself
- Is God an idolater? No
- What is God's chief jealousy? To be known and glorified and obeyed
- What is the chief end of God? To glorify and enjoy himself forever
- Do you feel most loved by God because he makes much of you or because he frees you to make much of him?
- Are you God-centered because he is supremely valuable to you or because you believe you are supremely valuable to him?
As I think about the trial of infertility, what confidence those questions bring, especially the last two! If God proved his love for me by making much of me, then hard, heart-breaking times like these would disprove his love. If God's primary purpose and best action were to value me and uplift me, this thwarting of my desires and yearnings would show that God was not very good at being God. But if God's demonstrates love by increasing my awe of him, if his goal is to make himself most valuable to me, then infertility is a mighty tool to accomplish his loving purposes. Infertility teaches me that life is not all about what I want, that I am utterly dependent on my Creator and Redeemer. I want my experience of infertility to act like a telescope, magnifying God by bringing his greatness into a close-up view.
Discerning What Pleases God: Personal Obedience - John Piper (Mon. p.m.)
- obedience that God abominates: (1) obedience offered as the ground of justification before God; (2) obedience offered as payback for God's grace
- obedience that pleases God: (1) faith in the gospel, by which we receive Christ's obedience; (2) obedience that magnifies our debt to fresh springs of future grace
As I seek to walk through this trial in obedience, I want to do so as a debtor to grace. Obedience is not a bargaining chip to get the children I want. All I can do is boast in Christ's mercy and benefits. He has already purchased all of the grace that I will ever need; I just keep asking for more of that grace to be applied like a balm to my sore and sinful heart. His grace will abound to me with perfect sufficiency for the good works of waiting patiently, of loving pregnant friends and young moms, of counting suffering as joy.
Discern How to Apply - C.J. Mahaney (Tues. a.m.)
- the priority of application: "knowledge is the prelude to action"
- the practice of application: effective application is (1) specific, (2) patient, (3) undertaken in the shadow of the cross
I want to be both optimistic and realistic about my spiritual growth. God is at work in my heart through this trial, and he will complete the good work he has begun. But change is not a one-time event; it is a painstakingly slow, ongoing process. As I persevere, I don't want to ever lose sight of Calvary.