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Tullian Tchividjian: "Approval Addiction Was My Idol"

That’s the hardest thing to believe.  Unbelief is at the bottom of every temptation we face to locate our identity in something smaller than Jesus.  It just seems too good to be true.  ‘You’re telling me that all of the approval I long for and all of the acceptance I long for and all of the affection I long for, I already possess in Jesus?  I don’t believe that.  I’ve got to go out and get that stuff for myself, and I need other people to give it to me.’  And so the Gospel, the “now” power of the Gospel – I don’t think too many Christians have a problem believing that the Gospel justifies us, and I don’t think too many people have a difficult time believing that it’s the Gospel that eventually glorifies us, but I think we have a terrible time believing that the Gospel alone is what sanctifies us.  It doesn’t just ignite the Christian life; it’s the fuel that keeps the Christians going and growing every day.  I could have said that theologically with great passion before 2009, but it wasn’t until 2009 that it became a functional, heartfelt reality for me.


The other thing, too, is I don’t want readers to think that the burden is on them to apply.  I tried to redefine application in terms of rediscovering on a daily basis by the power of God’s grace through the internal witness of the Holy Spirit, realizing what Christ has already applied to us.  When we think of application, it’s how do we now put into practice what God is telling us to do, and God’s always saying, ‘No, the real meaning of application is daily rediscovering what Christ has already applied to you and living in that reality of acceptance and approval and unconditional love.’

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Tullian is a graduate of Columbia International University, where he received a degree in Philosophy, and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, where he earned his Master of Divinity. A grandson of (Evangelist) Billy and Ruth Graham, Tullian was the Founding Pastor of the former New City Church (in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) which merged with the historic Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in 2009. He served there as Senior Pastor until June 2015.