Girl, Start Apologizing: Living in Light of the Gospel

“Follow Your Heart.”
”You’ve Got This.”
”Be the Hero of Your Own Story.”
”She Believed She Could So She Did.”
”Do More of What Makes You Happy.”
”Girl, Stop Apologizing.”

These all seem like harmless, happy little mantras...but that’s what makes them so dangerous. Our society is grossly focused on self, but what does the Bible have to say about our ‘you can do it, power of positive thinking’ culture?

“Follow Your Heart”

Well, friend, I hate to break it to you, but our hearts are evil (Jeremiah 17:9).

Our natural, sinful bent that began in the garden is to love things that will lead us astray, and to put self above all.

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”
— 2 Timothy 3:2-5, ESV

Ouch. Any of these sound familiar? This is what our hearts are capable of.

So when we’re tempted to follow our hearts, let’s cling to the Word to remind us who we really are: sinners in desperate need of a Savior, in desperate need of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-7), and In desperate need of a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

“You’ve Got This”

I’m exhausted just thinking about this one.

I am regularly overwhelmed by my responsibilities as a wife and mother, and I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that I am not meant to go through this life relying on my own strength. That I don’t “got this.” That my insufficiency is a beautiful invitation to lean into Christ’s perfect sufficiency. That his grace is sufficient for me, and that when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). That when my heart is overwhelmed, there is a rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61:2).

“Be the Hero of Your Own Story”

This is probably the hardest one for me to reckon, because to say that I pale in comparison to the true hero of my story is so far beyond an understatement that I don’t even have the words.

Sisters, we have a hero, and HE is not us.

Jesus Christ who knew no sin yet became sin so that in him we might be the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus Christ who humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).
Jesus Christ who lived the perfect life that we could never live (1 Peter 2:22) and bore our sins in his body and died the excruciating death that we deserved (1 Peter 2:24).
Jesus Christ who conquered death (1 Corinthians 15:54-56, 2 Timothy 1:10).
Jesus Christ who is able to save the uttermost, who always lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus Christ who is ALIVE (Matthew 28:6).

He is the hero of my story, and I pray that he is the hero of your story, too.

“She Believed She Could So She Did”

Well, this one is squashed way back in Exodus 20:3, in the first of the Ten Commandments. “You shall have no other gods before me.”

When we believe in ourselves we are deceived at best and idolaters at worst. The only power we have is the power of Christ that lives in us through the free gift of salvation that we receive by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone.

Our justification should not lead us to self-sufficiency, but to worship (Ephesians 2:8).

“Do More of What Makes You Happy”

God does not call us to happiness, he calls us to holiness (1 Peter 1:14-16).

Jesus gives us a beautiful example to follow in his parable of the Good Samaritan. I seriously doubt that it made him happy to go out of his way to care for a robbed and beaten man who most definitely would not have done the same for him, but he had compassion.

He tended to the man’s wounds, carried him to shelter, and paid to ensure his safety during his recovery. He showed mercy.

And we are called to live our lives in this manner (Luke 10:33-37). To count others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), to care for the least of these (Matthew 25:35-40), which many times will require putting ourselves and our happiness on the back burner.

“Girl, Stop Apologizing”

Girl, most days I can’t even make it past breakfast without needing to apologize to my husband or one of my children for my selfish attitude.

I am not advocating that we apologize for every little way that we fall short daily, despite our best efforts, but rather for putting ourselves and our motives first.

The only thing we should do unapologetically, is to live our lives in humble obedience to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We are called to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) and more often than not, this will require compromise on our part.

We are:

ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), peacemakers (Matthew 5:9);
called to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23);
called to live peaceably with everyone if at all possible (Romans 12:18);
called to live highly interruptible lives.

The problem is that we are sinners, and the posture of our hearts is tuned to our own selfish desires. We are called to count others as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), and not to see them as potential disruptions in our way as we’re seeking to live the life of our dreams. The only thing we should do unapologetically, is to live our lives in humble obedience to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So, you see dear friend, none of those happy little mantras will work, and I’m not asking you to take my word for it, the Bible tells us so. They tune our hearts to make ourselves the object of our affections and ambitions. They give us the completely false delusion that we are in control. They completely wreck our theology. Our only hope in life and death is to deny ourselves daily and to take up our cross to follow Christ in humble and complete submission (Luke 9:23).

The answer is not to work harder or to believe in ourselves, but rather to find rest for our weary souls in him, where the yoke is easy and the burden is light (Matthew 11:28-29). This is the heart of the gospel, and we should live our lives in light of it.