Gene Veith is an important and gifted writer. This comes from his book, “The Spirituality of the Cross”. I hope this helps you consider your vocation:
“It is possible–and common–to pursue occupations for which we have no aptitude and thus no vocation. I have had many students who choose their major in college on the basis of which job pays the most, regardless of the gifts God has given them. They try to turn themselves into accountants or managers or engineers, though they end up hating their studies and not being very good at what they are trying to do. Their true vocation might be music or art or construction work, but they are trying to be “practical”– as if vocation were self-chosen–and they deny their true God-given gifts to pursue talents they do not really have.”
-Gene Veith, “The Spirituality of the Cross”, 108
The gospel is not: a decision to receive, believe, retrieve your own personal Jesus.
The gospel is not: making Him Lord, re-dedicating your life, saying a “sinner’s prayer”
In fact, the Gospel is completely outside of your (or my) activity.
The Gospel is ALL God’s activity through Jesus Christ.
What is ‘Gospel’? It means ‘Good News’.
It is Jesus dying on the cross for your sin and my sin, and being raised in resurrection, so we can have the gift of resurrection in Him.
What’s the bad news?
First, the world is fallen and it can’t get up
Second, the devil is a fallen angel, not an archaic, pre-logical myth
Third, we have fallen into our coffin, and are bound to a horrible eternal end unless there’s an intervention
In other words, the situation is hopeless.
God loves hopeless situations.
God loves hopeless sinners.
Because Jesus was given as a sacrifice for sin. He came to seek and save that which was lost. Jesus came for sinners (including me).
And, He continues to be the good news for us.
When we confess our sin (not a feeling), He is faithful and just to forgive us based on His bloody death.
When we have doubt (by the way, doubt means you have faith to begin with), He remains faithful as a priest before the Father in Heaven.
When we are hungry for good news, we can find it in the promise that God has sent a deliverer in Jesus. He hasn’t come for “good people”, but for those who have no hope in themselves.
He is hope fulfilled. Both now and forever. Amen.
John Kleinig writes;
“Luther was a theological educator who thought hard and long about
the learning of theology. At various times he touched on it from different
points of view. While he, of all people, valued the liberal arts as the
foundation for a good theological education, he knew that, by itself, even
the best curriculum, taught by the best theologians, could not produce a
good pastor. Something else was required. Learning theology was a
matter of experience and wisdom gained from experience. To put it in
modern terms, the right practice of evangelical spirituality in the church,
the practice of the vita passiva, the receptive life of faith, makes a
theologian. In theology, as in life, we have nothing that we have not
received and continue to receive (1 Corinthians 47).
Luther developed this insight in a number of different ways. In a
lecture on Psalm 5:11, from around 1520, he asserted, rather bluntly, that
a theologian was not made by “understanding, reading or speculating,” but by “living, no rather by dying and being damned.” Later in his table talk from 1532, he added that like medicine, theology was an art that was learned only from life-long experience. He refers to himself as a pastorand claims:
I did not learn my theology all at once, but had to search constantly
deeper and deeper for it. My temptations did that for me, for no one
can understand Holy Scripture without practice and temptations.
This is what the enthusiasts and sects lack. They don’t have the right critic, the devil, who is the best teacher of theology.If we don’t have that kind of devil, then we become nothing but speculative
theologians, who do nothing but walk around in our own thoughts
and speculate with our reason alone as to whether things should be
like this, or like that “
(Kleinig, 256-257, Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio: What Makes a Theologian? in Concordia Theological Quarterly vol. 66:3, July 2002).
[All emphases, mine]
Comparing Holy Scripture with other writings, we observe that no book is apparently so full of contradictions as the Bible, and that, not only in minor points, but in the principal matter, in the doctrine how we may come to God and be saved. In one place the Bible offers forgiveness to all sinners; in another place forgiveness of sins is withheld from all sinners. In one passage a free offer of life everlasting is made to all men; in another, men are directed to do something themselves towards being saved. This riddle is solved when we reflect that there are in the Scriptures two entirely different doctrines, the doctrine of the Law and the doctrine of the Gospel!
CFW Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel (first lecture)
I am working on a post on why God doesn’t intervene when we are suffering. Until this is completed, this article written by Ronnie McBrayer may be helpful