Journal Entry // June 13, 2022
And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”Acts 24:25 ESV
Here in this passage is the response of Felix to the gospel of Christ being taught before him with reasoned explanations for righteousness, self-control, and judgement. Paul articulated the truths of the gospel in such a manner that Felix understood what was being said and the implications of his decision in response. So what was Felix to do with this gospel truth? He was alarmed. He knew that the truth of the gospel had brought him to a point of decision in which he could not vacillate. He needed to accept or reject this reasoned message. Yet, Felix chose to delay. He chose to put this truth out of his mind. Felix chose to send Paul away and remove from his sight the messenger of this critical point of decision. He chose apathy and ignorance.
Unfortunately, I have this same problem each and every day. Choosing apathy and ignorance is an easy response to the challenge of the gospel speaking into my life. When the message of the gospel is presented to me in a reasoned manner where there is no room for me to disagree, there is always this choice to fall back on apathy and choose ignorance. To lie to myself about what the gospel is revealing about my heart. To ignore the exposed sin that is festering below the surface. When the gospel speaks to me and reveals areas of my heart and life that need attention, I want to run and hide. Righteousness, self-control, and judgement is the message I need to listen to. There is healing in this message. There is truth in this message. There is Jesus in this message.
The deception of sin is strong. It speaks to me about my fears and about my failures. It makes outlandish promises that it has no intention or ability to fulfill. It only breeds selfishness and pride. The gospel breaks in at just this critical point and forces me to confront my sin head on. The gospel shows me the righteousness of Christ that is mine through his sacrifice. The gospel shows me that self-control is the means to obedience and joy. The gospel alerts me to the coming judgement and my need to hold firm to the grace of Christ.
I have been just like Felix this past few weeks. I have heard the message and my response has been to send it away and call for it when I am ready. The problem being that I will never be ready for the message. I will always want to choose the easy road of apathy and ignorance. But Jesus is calling me to something more. He is calling me to stand firm with him against sin. To live a righteous and self-controlled life. A life of obedience. A life of joy. A life that is not satisfied with ignoring sin because it is difficult to fight and battle. To not ignore the truth but to engage with the truth of the gospel and dig deeper and deeper to cut out the roots of the sinful infection that still linger. It is difficult. It is tiring. It is often depressing to see that there continues to be sin that needs to be fought.
Instead of apathy and ignorance, I want to choose steadfastness and honesty with the Lord. Humility. This word continues to be repeated in my life. The Lord continues to teach me humility. He continues to show me the path of humility. He continues to show me that a life of humility is where I will meet him and as I meet with him I will find joy. Joy and happiness that is perfect and true.