Change from the inside out requires that take a disturbing look at the ugly parts of our soul. In the minds of many, that look means nothing more than confessing a tendency toward impatience or a sometimes critical spirit. Most Christians rather easily acknowledge there’s more to their sinfulness than specific behaviors that violate clear standards. Of course, we battle with “deeper” issues, selfish motives, and the like. But the matter is sometimes left there, at a level of non-convicting generality. (pg. 141)
That’s how Dr. Crabb writes the beginning paragraph of chapter 8. If you have a soul that is always concerned with the heavy burden of representing Christ, this bothers you. Yet, along with Christ, this is Dr. Larry Crabb’s assertion, so much so that you change in order to be more like Christ. I try to clothe myself in Christ’s righteousness in order so that I can fulfill 1 Peter 2:21 which says,
For to this, you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may walk in His steps. (ESV)
On page 143 Dr. Crabb addresses our spirit of demandingness when he says in one of the last paragraphs that
Weighed tightly in our thirsty soul is the ugly disease of a demanding spirit. Change from the inside out requires that we our problem of demandingness and do something about it. The spirit of demandingness must be identified, recognized in all of its ugliness, and abandoned in repentance. Think with me about the problem from three angles: (1) how God views the problem, (2) how the problem develops, and (3) what God does with it. (pg. 143)
He addresses the 3 angles from Scripture, from one of the five books of the law, Numbers, to mostly concentrating on the life of Job. If you are not familiar with the life of Job, let me feebly try to retell his story in a few sentences. God was pleased with the way Job was conducting his life knowing that Job always put God first. Satan goes before God and said the only reason why Job blesses You is because You have made everything good for him, but the moment Job experiences trials in his life, then he will turn from You. So God gives Satan permission to make life extremely difficult for him, except that Satan can’t take his life.
It is during this process that Job loses sons and daughters, his wife isn’t helpful at all because it was her recommendation to curse the Almighty One and die, right down to his closest friends who misunderstood God’s purpose for Job’s suffering.
We are told that Job repented. Of what? Job abandoned his demand for relief, realizing it was uniquely unbecoming to demand anything from God.
How does one repent of a demanding spirit? What does it mean to trust God with our thirst and to abandon our self-protection? Before we examine these questions in Part Four, perhaps a further discussion of what it takes to expose the dirt inside the cup and dish is in order (Matthew 23:26).
Links to the story of Job:
“The Book of Job”-the Bible Project