Tripp: Modern Evangelical Schizophrenia

“When we ask the present to give us what only eternity can give, we end up driven, frustrated, discouraged, and ultimately hopeless.

It’s a case of modern evangelical schizophrenia. It causes us so much confusion, frustration, and discouragement. It leaves us with unrealistic expectations, naïveté toward temptation, and regular disappointment. It leads us to ask far too much from the people around us and to expect more than we should from the situations and locations in our lives. It makes us search over and over again for what we will not find and spend endless hours wondering why we haven’t found it. It even results in some of us beginning to doubt the goodness of God.

“What is this schizophrenia?” you ask. It is the fact that we declare that we believe in forever, yet we live as if this is all there is. This functional contradiction between our belief system and our daily living cannot work. Here’s why.

First, you cannot make any sense out of the Christian life without eternity. This is the whole argument of 1 Corinthians 15. If the One you’ve given your life to doesn’t ultimately fix all that sin has broken, so that you can live with him forever without its effects, what is your faith worth?

Second, you and I have been hardwired for eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that God has placed eternity in every person’s heart. That means everyone hungers for paradise. No one is satisfied with things the way they are. So either you try your hardest to turn your life right here, right now into the paradise it will never be and therefore become driven and disappointed, or you live in this broken world with the rest and peace that comes from knowing that a guaranteed place in paradise is in your future.

You’re sad that things are as broken as they are, so you work to be an agent of change in God’s gracious and powerful hands. but you’re not anxious or driven, You know that this world is not stuck and that it hasn’t been abandoned by God. You know that God is working his eternal plan. He is moving things toward their final conclusion. You can’t see it every day, but you know it’s true. In the middle of your sadness there is celebration, because vou’ve read the final chanter and you know how God’s grand story is going to end.

So you get up every morning and give yourself to doing the things that God says are good, because you know that if grace has put eternity in your future there’s nothing that you could ever do in God’s name that is in vain.

For further study and encouragement: 1 Corinthians 15:12-34”

-Paul Tripp, New Morning Mercies, January 21

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