Theological Bankruptcy

Philippians 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (NIV 2011)

Have you come to a point in your life as a Christian where you feel that you can give no more to the Lord's work? You feel spent. You've given and given, but not enough is given back to replenish you. More is expected from you — in time, money, energy, and loyalty — but you're too far in debt. You owe more to the Lord's work than you have to give. You feel depleted and disillusioned. Maybe, you're even losing interest in God and the church.

At times, dedicated Christians have shared such experiences with me, and I can relate. I call it a crisis of theological bankruptcy. Let me explain:

The word "theology" comes from two Greek words which, combined, mean "the study of God". Our theology is the way that we've come to understand God. But our theology might be deficient, leading us to believe that God demands more than He gives — or rather, more than we believe that we can trust Him for. This deficient theology puts Christians at risk of theological bankruptcy down the road. I'm convinced that this is why many drift away from the church and why many churches close. They've become utterly bankrupt — theologically. They have nothing left to offer.

Meanwhile, Scripture portrays the very antithesis of a deficient God! Look at these breathtaking excerpts:

"…the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" – Romans 11:33

"…the riches of his kindness…" – Romans 2:4

"…the riches of his glory…" – Romans 9:23

"…the riches of his glorious inheritance…" – Ephesians 1:18

"…the incomparable riches of his grace…" – Ephesians 2:7

"…the boundless riches of Christ…" – Ephesians 3:8

That's awesome theology! So why would anyone linger in the red, in theological debt? I say that it's because too much of "me" gets in our theological picture. We count on ourselves too much; our work for God is more about ourselves than about God. Or we assume that we're more capable than the God of Scripture. Only when the size of "me" decreases, can we see a bigger size of God in our theology. Then we'll discover that we can never, ever out-give God — and He can do much more through us than we can ever do for Him.

Theological bankruptcy is a blessing in disguise because it puts us in the position of receivership: We are ready to receive the riches of His abundant grace.

2 Corinthians 9:8 – God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (NIV 2011)

Prayer: Father, out of Your glorious riches, strengthen us with power through Christ's Spirit in our inner being. Help us to receive the full riches of understanding, that we may grasp the mystery of Your goodness and love through Christ. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    Great words for today, Diane. God bless.


    You always have such interesting and thoughtful devotions! Thank you.


    Oh Diane, what a good word you relayed to us today. Thanks for pointing our focus on our all sufficient God. Blessings.


    Diane – thank you for this devotional. I particularly enjoyed all the bible verses full of the “riches” of His blessings. God Bless you.


    Thanks, Diane. I think I am suffering some form of church deficiency right now, so your words are more than timely. I pray for renewed enthusiasm!!


    There are too many churches where, short of workers, put too many demands on too few with burnout the result. We need less committees and more Gospel.
    What happened to “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
    Thanks for sharing.


    Thank you for your very timely devotion this morning!! Just what I needed!! So, thank you! I am feeling depleted! My kids say Mom just say NO!! But that’s sometimes hard to do eh? Anyhow may God continue to bless you as you share His love with others.
    (ON)


    Greetings Diane,
    Many thanks for your excellent devotional this morning. Good explanation of “Theological bankruptcy” and what is required of us to correct it. Our Lord’s abundance never ceases.
    Blessings,
    (B.C.)


    Thank you for this wonderful message. Our minister had to take early retirement because of health issues.
    A number of people have not returned to services because they only came because of him. It is a struggle to keep people interested in progressing on our faith journey. Also our congregation has many seniors who have been there done that etc.
    I will suggest they read your very inspiring message to hopefully stir the faith pot and produce a tasty Christian message that others will want to taste too. Thanks for all your writings in the PresbyCan Daily.


    Dear Diane,
    Your devotional keeps improving as it builds to a climax in 2 Corinthians 9:8 and your prayer.
    Thank you,


    Hi Diane,
    I can attest to the truth of your main scripture that God would supply all of my need in Christ, for God gave me that promise many years ago when I was seeking His guidance in taking a big step that would alter my life but there was the question of money. Could I afford to take that step? That is when these words rang out in my mind and He has shown me over and over that He is faithful to His word, even in the smallest needs.
    The scripture “Before you call I will answer and while you are yet speaking I will hear”, has echoed over and over again in my mind as I have seen Him meet every need.
    Thanks for these words.