My continual presupposition must be that I know nothing, and my every decision must have the confirmation of God's Spirit.
"The power behind you is greater than the task ahead of you." -Tony Evans
No enjoyment of God is lost on God. He sees all! And in the next life, He will reward us for every delight we have had in Him. Are these enjoyments of God not the greatest good works, and indeed the essence of every good work?
ASK GOD FOR MIRACLES! ASK HIM FOR WHAT SEEMS QUITE IMPOSSIBLE TO YOU! I HAVE DISCOVERED IN MY LIFE THAT “NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD.” WE ARE FOOLS IF WE ONLY ASK FOR THE POSSIBLE. EVEN THE POSSIBLE IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT GOD, SO WHY SHOULD THE IMPOSSIBLE BE IMPOSSIBLE? IT IS ALL THE SAME TO HIM. ASK!
In a sense, God’s most fundamental attribute is Power. He could do nothing without it. He could express nothing without it. Without His infinite Power, He simply would not exist, nor would anything else. “Be exalted, O LORD, in Your strength! We will sing and praise Your power!” (Psalm 21:13)
Jesus not only willingly died on a cross to pay the full and final penalty for us sinners, but He also lived His whole life in obedience to God, and rose from the dead, so that we could have His perfect righteousness to present to God as our very own. For all who believe, this is good news!
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts" (Romans 13:14). You can never take enough precautions in your area(s) of moral weakness. But it is not precautions or steeled commitment that wins out. We must always remember, and feel, that, “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). And so we should always, always, pray for God’s help and protection while at the same time we take all the precautionary measures which should go with those prayers.
Something Dr. Packer wrote was that all the benefits of the Gospel are in Christ Himself. (I think Packer also may have noted some or all of the following. In any case...) I believe it true that the Person of Jesus Himself is the most simple and profound declaration of the Gospel. If people are confused by the "Great Exchange" and the complexities of imputation, etc., we still have, at bottom, JESUS to give to them. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me..." To believe on the Person of Jesus is to receive all the benefits of His great work as well, though we may not understand the complexities of His work. Even so, we should never stop with only teaching people about His Person, for the presentation of His Person is inseparable from His holy work before, on, and after the cross. If we stop teaching imputation, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, etc., then it will not be long before the presentation of the Person of Jesus is done in such a way that the insidious implication is that it is NOT by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone, by the imputation of His Person and Works alone. We must never stop presenting the perfect Works of Jesus along with His perfect Person.
I was considering becoming an "expert" on the life of some author or historical figure, finding out all I can about say Lewis, Edwards, or Luther. But who to pick? Life is short. Then it occurred to me, strangely by surprise, to study the Man Who was, and is, and ever shall be, God. He lives inside me and sits on Heaven's throne. The only Divine book is all about Him. He is the radiance of God the Father. He died for me. He lived for me. He rose for me and ascended into Heaven. He intercedes for me at the right hand of God. He will someday judge all mankind. And He calls me friend. I must study Him, for He is the ultimate Man. Unlike studying any other historical figure, this study must go far beyond the intellect. It must be a matter of devotion, love, obedience, trust, and worship! This sort of expertise on Jesus is never arrived at in this life, even less so than any other sort of study, but it is the most urgent and satisfying study I could engage in. It is the calling and joy of every Christian, in fact, to pursue this sort of expertise- what they used to call, "learning Christ." As Spurgeon wrote regarding Ephesians 4:20-21, "... it works a total change in us, and makes us like him in whom truth is embodied. See, then, that we not only learn of Jesus, but we learn Jesus."
I am very limited by many circumstances, but there is one area in which I am not limited. I always have the opportunity to seek to be the KIND of man I want to be. Holy, purposeful, kind, dignified, decent, hard-working, spending all time with God, a great husband, a great dad, mature, childlike with God, and filled with a deep love of and knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ my Lord. At every moment I have a choice to humble myself before the Lord and seek to be like Him. If I were to have any sort of freedom, this is the freedom I would choose!
It is a misrepresentation of God, one of which I have been guilty, to picture Him in His wrath as some sort of out of control monster. He is, we must never forget, a most terrible enemy to those who will not love and obey Him. But rather than some sort of beast, He is a perfect, exacting, and righteous Judge against sin. His anger against sin- upon Christ while He hung on the cross for the elect, and upon sinners in Hell- is a holy anger. Indeed, His anger is Holy, Holy, Holy. His holiness is His infinite moral purity, beauty, and excellence. From His holy nature flow undeserved grace upon grace to those who trust in Christ. But His moral purity and greatness also come together in the punishment of sin and sinners. This is infintely worse than the wrath of a monster, because God's wrath is demonstrated to be infinitely dignified and deserved, and so infinitely more unbearable to those who suffer it. They are fully aware of the righteousness of His wrath against them, not just the merciless power of it. They will know that they have only themselves to blame.
"But He, who works His purposes of mercy and love towards His children, in a way often contrary to their expectations and plans—left you not to linger in darkness and despair. He came to you in the night watches—He made all your bed in your sickness—He brought promise upon promise to cheer your drooping spirit! He taught you that your sickness and suffering, were needed to refine, elevate, and sanctify you! He taught you that God designed, thereby—to draw you nearer to Himself—to wean your affections from the world, and bring your will into sweeter and more perfect harmony with His own!" -John MacDuff, 1868, Loving Counsels: A New Years Address
"Looking back upon that eventful period, your feeling now is, "Thank God for my trial-time of sickness—for calling me away from the busy throng, that I might be alone with Him! Thank God for teaching me my own weakness—and His strength; my own emptiness—and His fullness; my own sinfulness—and His pardoning love; my own utter helplessness—and His upholding, comforting, and sustaining grace! Thank God that the anguish of that season of pain, distress, and suffering—was so often solaced by His love; that its loneliness was so often dispelled by His gracious presence; that its gloom was so often brightened with His smile; and that its calamity was so often sanctified by His grace! Thank God that I can now sit loosely to the world, and feel, that I am only a stranger and a pilgrim in it, journeying to my heavenly home! Thank God that I can rest in the assurance, of having One ever near, to whom I can reveal every doubt, and care, and perplexity—on whose arm I can confidingly lean in "coming up from the wilderness;" from whose infinite fullness I can at all times obtain strength for duty, patience for suffering, support under weakness, and comfort in the midst of sorrow! "-John MacDuff, 1868, Loving Counsels: A New Years Address
"God’s acceptance of Christ’s atoning sacrifice was demonstrated by His raising Christ from the dead and setting Him at the right hand of the Majesty on high. That which characterized Judaism was sin, death, and distance from God—the perpetual shedding of blood and the people shut out from the Divine presence. But that which marks Christianity is a risen and enthroned Savior, who has put away the sins of His people from before the face of God and has secured for them the right of access to Him. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness [liberty] to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:19-22a, brackets mine). -A.W. Pink
Nothing else is so much needed today as expository sermons on the Epistles to the Romans and to the Hebrews: the former supplies that which is best suited to repel the legalism, antinomianism and Arminianism that are now so rife, while the latter refutes the cardinal errors of Rome and exposes the sacerdotal pretensions of her priests. It provides the Divine antidote to the poisonous spirit of ritualism that is now making such fatal inroads into so many sections of a decadent Protestantism. That which occupies the central portion in this vitally important and most blessed treatise is the priesthood of Christ, which embodies the substance of what was foreshadowed both in Melchizedek and Aaron. In the Book of Hebrews it is shown that His one perfect sacrifice has forever displaced the Levitical institutions and made an end of the whole Judaic system. That all-sufficient oblation of the Lord Jesus made complete atonement for the sins of His people, fully satisfying every legal claim that God’s Law had upon them, thereby rendering needless any efforts of theirs to placate Him. "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14). - A.W. Pink
I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything but it came at some time—no matter at how distant a day, somehow, in some shape, probably the last I would have devised, it came. —Adoniram Judson.
The only thing we need is to lovingly feel our need for Christ: the need to be rescued from ourselves, and to Him. We offer nothing to our salvation but our infinite need of it.
We have nothing to offer Christ but our sinfulness. He wants to give us His righteousness. He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked- which is all of us considered apart from Christ. If you have not already, ask Him for Him, and with Him comes His righteousness for you, a righteousness He gives to you to have as your own, forever. This righteousness of Christ, if it becomes yours, is a righteousness before the judgement throne of God that can never be lost of fade away. Ask Him!
If we are rescued by Jesus, we know that the love God has for us is a perfect love. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us more. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us less. Perfect love can not be increased or diminished, or it is not perfect. Only the expression of that love can be increased or diminished. He does not love us the less when He is angry at us for sinning, and He does not love us the more after we have confessed our sins. His inmost love and affection for us is fixed. It can not and will not change, ever. Why? Because it is not based on what we have to offer God. Not now or in the future. His love for us is based only on His love for us. It is His good pleasure to love us. That's why He sent Christ to rescue us. That's why Jesus passionately died for us. And that's why the Holy Spirit continually strives with us.
It is amazing to me that in the chaos and sinful mess of our Christian lives God produces and finds works of grace that He deems not only pleasing but worthy of everlasting reward.
Spiritual problems often mirror physical ones. Pain in the leg does not always mean there is a problem with the leg. The issue could be a subluxation of vertebrae in the back, pinching the spinal cord, which in turn causes pain to radiate down the leg. Similarly, if we are having pain in a relationship, it won't be enough to read psychology and self-help books on the subject. The problem may be much deeper and more internal than the thoughts and feelings which wreak havoc. Spiritual pride may well be the culprit, a culprit difficult to recognize because it is, like the spine to the body, so central to our personality. The Bible and the Spirit are the needed chiropractors, because the place where it hurts is not necessarily where the problem is.
It is hard to remember on a daily basis that this life isn't fair. In the book of Job, Job's friends did not understand the basic principle, thinking there was always a linear relationship between the good one does and the blessings we have in this life. It is true that we reap what we sow, but to a large extent that will only be fulfilled on the Judgment Day. Then it will be fulfilled that many of the last will be first and the first last. Those who did well in God's eyes but were marginalized and suffered in this life- last- will be greatly rewarded- first- in the age to come. Until then, it will be a mixed bag, such that many of the wicked will prosper and the righteous languish and perish. And compared to other Christians? We should not compare the outcomes of our lives in this age with the outcomes other Christians are receiving. A rich Christian must not conclude based on his riches that he has been more faithful than a poor Christian. This life is to be lived for eternity, not for this life. We should pray for a smooth way this side of Judgment Day, yet know that God's rewards are only proportional to our work for Him once eternity is put on the scales. May we live by faith and not by sight. May we live for God and not for a fair return in this life!
God is neither politically correct nor rude.
Hence we may learn how happy a society the church of Christ is. For all this great work is for them. Christ undertook it for their sakes, and for their sakes he carries it on; it is because he has loved them with an everlasting love. For their sakes he overturns states and kingdoms. For their sakes he shakes heaven and earth. He gives men for them, and people for their life. Since they have been precious in God's sight, they have been honourable; and therefore he first gives the blood of his own Son, and then gives the blood of all their enemies, many thousands and millions, all nations that stand in their way, as a sacrifice to their good.
For their sakes he made the world, and for their sakes he will destroy it; for their sakes he built heaven, and for their sakes he makes his angels ministering spirits... (Jonathan Edwards, History of Redemption, Period III, Part X, Section IX)
There is a boldness and majesty which makes you far greater than the greatest worldly kings- and that while you wash dishes.
The chief end of man is to glorify God. Those who love God will do this by being amazingly blessed by God, forevermore. Those who hate God will glorify Him by being amazingly cursed by God, forevermore.
Lack of Contentment is found only in the God-less regions of my heart.
Oh God, You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. (St. Augustine)
Contrary to the slogan "Peace Starts with a Smile", true inner peace is initiated when the Spirit of God makes the sinner weep for his sins. Then follows true joy and peace! Then comes the truest smile- a smile reflecting God's joy!
The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. (A saying in some Reformed circles)
It is well for one to hate denominationalism but to love the Reformed truths.
The heart is literally designed for fellowship with God. We were made for God. What or who else, then, can satisfy us? "... And the earth has nothing I desire besides You." (Psalm 73.)
The heart has its reasons, which reason knows not. (Blaise Pascal)
I long for my experience to be complete. Legally speaking, I am already everlastingly complete in Jesus. But not until I am with Him physically, and without sin, will I feel completely complete.
When we are caught up in the Spirit there is a certainty beyond analysis. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith is the (subjective) evidence. (Hebrews 11:1)
By faith we enter Heaven now, and feast our hearts on him Who is the feast of Heaven.
We were created for all-consuming intimacy with God.
Why not confess all to God? He already knows your sins!
Since the deck of life is always shifting, balance is only a momentary synchronicity. (Dr. Richard Pratt)
Since the love of God is never shifting, there can always be an inner peace surpassing the peaceful balance of momentary synchronicity.
All God's ways are analogous, and His dispensations harmonize with one another. (quote or paraphrase of Jonathan Edwards)
Everything is a God-intended symbol. Even the existence and use of symbols is itself symbolic of the ultimate symbolic nature within God- the Son is the eternal and perfect representation of the Father. (Colossians 1: 15, Hebrews 1: 3)
Hell is real. Don't go there. Don't get yourself there. You will have no one to blame but yourself.
All things prove the existance of the Christian God, but our minds are too small to comprehend all things. The experience of true faith, however, gives us the certainty that such an infinite mind would have.
Temporal good is eternal good, if done in God.
Temporal good is truly good, because it is done with and for God.
Millions upon millions of people make their living by saying, "It is this." Millions upon millions more make their living by saying instead, "No, it is that." They provide for themselves while providing others only half the truth or half the reality: for many of these things are actually "this and that."
At any moment in time, if you are not building up then you are tearing down. There is no neutrality in life, and there is no neutrality in this moment. In God's eyes you are either tearing down outside of Christ (which is all unbelievers can do, since they are not in Christ) or building up in Christ (which is what believers do sometimes, when they are acting according to their new nature). Jesus declared: "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters." (Luke 11:23)
He really does love me infinitely, for I am perfectly united to him by the Spirit, Who indwells my inmost person, the truest me. I am to that extent a perfect image of God, and thus God sees me as infinitely precious- I am infinitely loved. Also, legally, in that I am counted in Christ, identified perfectly with His perfect Image, I am necessarily loved with an infinite love. For, again, He loves Himself infinitely, any true image of Him is a full image of Him (for He is immense and not just omnipresent), however small, and thus He is fully in love with the image. This is confirmed in my heart by the Spirit of God. I am infinitely more precious to Him than my children are to me, for my children are separate from me (ontologically and legally) but I am perfectly united with (ontologically) and identified with (legally) God. We are distinct, but unlike my children and me, we are not separate. The difference between the Son of God and me is that the Son, being infinite, can receive all of the Father’s infinite love at once. I, being finite, will only be able to receive infinitesimal amounts of God’s infinite love for me. So, while I can contain little of the love, He yet loves me, even right now, as much as the Son of God. Amen- confirmed in Christ. "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." (John 17: 22-23) "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5: 7-8)
Scriptural illumination is a reality to be sought more than all the riches in the world. It is seeing His Light come through the window of the Word, and in His Light and through the window seeing all the riches and blessedness of the other world. What a view!
Israel was given a conditional promise, that if they persevered as a nation they would inherit the literal land forever. They did not persevere and so lost that promise. But God does better: in Romans 11 He says that many ethnic Jews will yet inherit... the earth, along with the Gentiles. That is, true Israel (including regenerate Jews of all times and ages) will inherit the true land- the entire earth. The meek shall inherit the earth, said the Master. God sees to it that individuals who have been internally circumcised will certainly persevere to the end, to Paradise. In this case, Jesus fulfills the condition of the promise. Unlike Old Testament Israel, the true Israel- spiritual Israel- will persevere to the end. God has promised, and this time He has fulfilled the condition of the promise on behalf of His elect ones.
We have too many Christians, including myself, who are trying to be heroes. The Lord simply requires humble, moment to moment obedience in what comes next, whether it is small or big. The quest to be heroic for God can, ironically, miss the heroism of unnoticed, joyful obedience in the present moment.
God is the Personal Being of Infinite Worth and Beauty. This explains everything.
Why I love good fantasy-adventure. I love it not primarily because it has a great plot, or intense action, or wondrous themes. I love good fantasy-adventure not because it is a good escape. I love it because it at times carries the fragrance of Heaven with it, the smell of royalty on High, the scent of Kingdom permanence and glory- which I am called to and destined for, and which is not far from any one of us. My King rides majestically through this world, on the mount of His victorious and telling Word, the Bible, and in all things which He created. In these countless vehicles that He rides (the central one being Scripture) we can and must properly perceive and sense Him, and the glory of His Kingdom. Good fantasy is a secondary, but powerful, pointer and director into the things of God; into their truth, yes, but even into their reality. Fantasy becomes the magical wardrobe through which we pass into... not Narnia, but the actual spiritual realms... into the foretastes of glory. He comes victoriously and wondrously, and bids me and you to partake of His Kingdom royalty and joy and wonder. We must obey with all our heart. When we are in view of His beauty and glory, then it is true that even wild horses, gruesome orcs, and evil wizards couldn't keep us from obeying.
Is it either/or OR both/and ... or... is it either/or AND both/and? It is both either/or AND both/and, and we need to know when it is which or whether it is both. Many subjects are tackled only with an either/or mentality and thus the person fails to see the other side of the issue, which makes sense in another sense. The rub is this: the Law of Non-Contradiction couched in the reality of Christian presuppositional and perspectival thinking affords a great deal of variety within countless subjects. However, there are many things, narrowly speaking, which are both rooted in reality and the built-in Law of Non-Contradiction, that are simply either/or, and we must defend them as such. For example, there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved... no other name than Jesus. It is not Jesus AND anything or anyone else. On the other hand, if we are talking about how Jesus saves us, it does us no good to pretend that this is an either/or scenario. Is salvation by grace or works? Well, both, but in different senses. God graciously applies all of Christ's works to us. So, it is by grace alone, but only in the sense that no works of ours are fundamental to our salvation. So, we are saved by both grace and works. The issue of either/or and both/and applies to all of reality. The key is to know what sense, and/or aspect, and/or perspective, and/or subject is being discussed and/or referred to at the time, and in relation to what time or times it is being discussed. If the church had a handle on Christian Perspectivalism (the complete application of the Law of Non-Contradiction within a Biblical framework) there would be less arguing and more cross-denominational fellowship.
Oh, what wrath was befalling Judas in his final hours. Overwhelmed by guilt, crazed, trapped in His wickedness and aware of it, responsible for betraying the Son of Man into the hands of His enemies, panic-stricken that he had betrayed innocent blood, he offered the thirty pieces of silver to be returned, and the authorities said, essentially, "What have we to do with this- its your problem." With no recourse and no pardon by the blood He betrayed, with no hope of considering himself ignorant of Who Christ was, in madness he scattered the pieces in the temple, and ran. But it was not permitted for him to put this money in the temple, for it was blood money. He ran, and he hung himself, but this contraption did not hold either, and he fell and spilled his guts on the ground. He died under the heat of furious Divine wrath, which raced after him, denying him even the slight dignity of a successful hanging. Judas failed to take his own life, for God would have the villain be burst open on the ground. From there, Judas entered into his everlasting torment under the merciless Eye of God, with the omnipotent Lamb at His right hand. The wages of sin are even worse than death- for death itself with no judgment afterwards would have been a great relief to Judas. But the crimes of men, however slight or great, must receive their due in Hell, or for God's people, their due on the cross. Death points beyond itself to that lying down which is in the bed of eternal, completely merited, torment.
When chaos commences and my mind is a jumble I look out of myself into God's perfect, organized, rule. He reigns over me with love. My life, so many pieces, is all under His awesome control. In fact, God intends to use all these confusing and troubling bricks to build me into an everlasting monument of His infinite grace. All I want is God, and the encroaching mess of my life darts me only more toward Him. I don't just want His control, and to be reminded of that, but I want Him. He is beautiful and is infinitely far from being a mess or a confusion Himself. "For God is not a God of confusion"- but He DOES implement and use what appears to us to be a mass of confusion. He holds and controls His creation with perfect ease and composure, and invites me, calls me, into His tranquility. "Be still, and know that I am God." When my home, finances, schedule and obligations all yell for attention I can go first to God and say- "It is well with my soul." Then, knowing the peace of His organized perfection, I can have power to try to bring a little more order to my life, my family, and my surroundings.
Contrary to the slogan "Peace Starts Within", true personal peace starts with a Holy Spirit invasion from outside the sinner. Still more, the foundation of peace is the love of God which does not have its original seat in our hearts but in God's. God's love compelled Him to send His only Son to die on the cross, securing judicial and relational peace between us and our God. But again, this was not within us, but outside of us in history some 2000 years ago. Further, years afterward the Word of God was communicated to us, from another, so that we could know about Jesus. This communication came from someone out there. God's Holy Spirit, then, from the outside, rode His own Word into our hearts with transforming power and glory. We then experienced peace on the inside, but this wonderful peace did not come from the inside. And as we continue to experience the peace of God, it comes from the one Who is now inside of us, but Who is not us, and Who still uses countless external things to bring us to the sense of inner peace in Him.
The doctrine of union with Christ is the functional heart of the doctrine of salvation. In His mind, God has always (and always will) identified us with Christ, and so He gives us all the good Christ earned as our full representative. All spiritual blessings- regeneration, sanctification, faith, love, justification, adoption, etc.- are simply a result of our union with Christ.
Definitive, progressive, and consummative blessings are really just the consummative (final) blessings stretched between two ages.
We are not the lords of our Spiritual affections; so Spiritual comfort, confirmation, and confidence come in the Spirit's time and in the Spirit's way.
"Scripture Alone" does not mean "Tradition Too".
"Scripture Alone" does not mean "What I Understand in Scripture Alone".
"Scripture Alone" does not mean "What I Like in Scripture Alone".
Mind, affections and will must all, always, be conformed to the Word of God. Sometimes our affections may be conformed to a doctrine but our minds stray from it; sometimes the other way around. Sometimes our actions conform to Scripture but are not done in accordance with Scriptural understanding and affection for God. Etc.
Scripture has certain content, affection, and direction- thus, the content, affection, and direction of our lives must be impelled by Scripture's, and reflect Scripture's.
Spirit-given trust is a more reliable guide than agonized analysis. "Trust in the LORD will all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3: 5-6)
"Remember the poor."
"Prudish" is often the Devil's word for "Purity". He would have us to feel awkward, stiff, and snobish about remaining clean, setting ourselves apart in heart, mind, will, word, and body. But God does not call us to be prideful prudes! Rather, He calls us to the excellence of holiness, including sexual purity: "Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity." (Ephesians 5: 3)
I had hoped, and continued to hope for some time, that the command and grace of "self-control" was a state that one could arrive at and find relatively little opposition from the flesh. But I see now that "self-control" is a matter of staying armed and ready, of doing battle on a daily, and often moment-to-moment, basis. In this life, self-control is not a static state but a dynamic dual. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary, the one to the other..." (Galatians 5: 17).
Hear and see the sound and sight of swords clashing in the battle for your mind. It is an all-out battle. The sword is the Word of God, and faith by the Spirit of God is your shield. Indeed, the enemy knows our soft spots, so we must, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Ephesians 6: 11)
Sieze the rare moments of clear sanity to protect yourself against the moments of spiritual insanity. In doing so we may obey the command to "make no provision for the flesh" and thwart the ability to act on our future evil inclinations.
As God gives mankind in their wickedness over to their own sins as punishment (Romans 1: 24), so in an analogous way He will lovingly discipline His rebellious children by leaving them for a time in the consequences of their sin (Psalm 6, Psalm 32).
To love another is to subject yourself to their needs. More precisely, it is to joyfully (lovingly) subject yourself to their real needs, big or small, out of affectionate devotion to God and perceiving the image of God in the other person. Thus, it is true faith in God which produces true love of our neighbor.
Our culture is over-choiced and over-teched. I'm not against having many choices or having much technology per se, but the sheer volume of it all makes simple, holy living the more challenging. I have decided, therefore, to not be ashamed of my limited ways and preferences. So they are common ways for Christians of my circle- so be it! They are deservedly so!
I am over-choiced and yet subjectively under-choiced when I slip into practical hyper-Calvinism. I know that God rules and controls all things, but I must also regrasp my own responsibility and dependent freedom before the face of God.
I have tortured myself over choices, and over the expectations I have had for myself. But they have been false expectations. "Godliness with contentment is great gain." This is God's Word. "All things are yours." This too is God's Word to me. "You are complete in Him." Thus, contentment is natural to the child of God who is grasping these things deeply. They have eluded me- but I am now prepared to fight for them in my heart- having enjoyed some of the fruit of them. I can do my current job until the day I die- or have no job at all- and be content. If, that is, I retain these truths in my heart and do not forget them.
God's absolute providential control extends to all systems, and the inner workings of the soul, mind, etc., comprise a system as much as anything else in all creation. God has confirmed so sweetly to my heart, several times, that all the bad (evil) decisions I have made and perhaps continued in are part of the system of things included under the "all things work together for good" of Romans 8: 28. Thus, even my sins- every one of them- has been ordained (planned) and controlled (providentially) for my good, yet so as God is not the doer of the evil. That is my blame to bare alone. That the system of my inner being is fully under His providential control is not only Scriptural but makes sense to my mind. Every choice is simply the result of the competing and/or cooperating work of conscience, affection, memory, perception, past wounds, intelligence, chemical make-up and interactions, fears, etc., all of which interact with the outside world (visible and invisible) to produce a direction of soul (choice) at any given moment of time. God is in control of all these things- their degree, content, etc.- at all times and is thus also in control of every choice I have ever or will ever make.
Goals are not bad things, but must be God-shaped and held with knowledge that God may frustrate or obliterate their attainment. He, after all, is the Goal of goals.
My life, I finally understand, is to be characterized by joy, joy, joy! Why not always? "Rejoice always, I say..." (Philippians)
The "John Wayne-bravado-emotionless-gruff-independent man" is not Biblical. The closest- if it could be called close- to this we will find in the Bible is the "Paul-joy-interdependence-willingness to strongly lead" model.
I am the sort of man who writes because he has made progress, and who makes progress by writing. (Augustine)