Friday, April 12, 2013

Cultivating fresh faith

I am almost finished blogging through the book Gospel Centered Discipleship. I continue to be encouraged and edified as I re-read and reflect on some of the ideas and insights of its author Jonathan K. Dodson.

Towards the end of the book Dodson works through some practical steps believers can take in regards to gospel-centered discipleship and I am reminded of how solid and helpful some of these suggestions are. For instance, Dodson begins an sub-section of his chapter entitled Practical Discipleship: Putting the Gospel into Practice with the title Cultivating Fresh Faith in the Gospel. Sounds good, right? Well, it is.

Consider the questions he leads this section off with:
How do we cultivate Bible reading that brings us fresh faith in the gospel? To be honest, there are times that old, memorized promises don't always work for me. Is this because "trusting your savior" doesn't work? No, it's because my heart becomes indifferent to them. How do we revive our hearts to take interest in God's promises? (132-3)

Dodson relies on the Puritan heavyweight John Owen to respond to the above questions and to indicate how we might cultivate fresh faith in the Gospel.
John Owen recommends we return to prayer, but perhaps not as you usually pray. He notes that if we wisely consider the Spirit's working in our hearts by prayer, we may understand much of his working upon our hearts by grace. In order to have fresh faith in the gospel, we ought to pray to the Spirit for three things: 1) insight into his promises, 2) experience of our need, 3) creation of desire. All too often we assume the insight, neglect to experience our need, and are too proud to ask for desire. (133)
I think that though all three of these practical insights are helpful, #2 impacts me the most. In our society and the culture that permeates it, it can actually be difficult to understand our ever-present and enormous need. We are seduced and satiated by the world to the detriment of our inner life. I think a prayer for cognizance and experience of our need is vital.

Dodson expounds on these ideas in the ensuing sections and it is all very helpful. Consider getting your hands on this gem and benefiting from it first hand.

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