Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Humility of a New Nature

Gal 6:14
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Gal 6:15
For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

There is nothing more "in-your-face" than Christianity. No other system tells it like it is, bringing home the stark reality that you are right now, without Christ, utterly hideous and disfigured, and that no amount of worldly posturing can cover that fact. It is unacceptable to the self-made man. It is laughable to the achiever. It is mockery to the successful. But it is the sweet news of hope to the underdog.

You see, the underdog does not like what he sees when he turns the periscope upon himself. He sees a man desperately in need of change. While he once defined comeliness in terms of materialism, now a higher standard beckons, and he knows within his heart of hearts that he cannot meet this standard. It's not that he has failed in the world's pursuits that he now resorts to this new "toy", true as that may be, but that his whole view on life has been radically altered and a new passion burns within him. The allure of glory and gold has waned and now God is the apple of his eye. This paradigm shift is a supernatural work of God. It is the chief work of the Holy Spirit to the praise and glory of Christ and the Father, and only the underdog is its beneficiary.

The underdog boasts only of Christ who is able to make his nature Christ's nature, for this is his chief desire. He now sees that his very existence owes itself to the production of this nature in himself and that nothing else matters; nothing else matters but Christ formed. This is humility.

Early Morning Brokenness

Ps 5:3
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Ps 143:8
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

How can a new day be started pure? By being at once in the mode of repentance and humility as consciousness dawns. It is being antagonistically aware of the various sinful thoughts that now seek realization, and beseeching God for the mercies, fresh everyday, that will gird oneself against early-morning disobedience. It is being on one's knees before God, with a lowly heart, asking Him for the grace to be able to put a smile on His face. God, beholding the soul hungry and thirsty for righteousness, is faithful and will satisfy this holy desire that burns in the heart of every child of God.

May we offer the Lord a broken and contrite heart every morning. Be assured that this, in no way, will He despise.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Warfare of Self-Control

". . . there is a mean streak to authentic self-control. . . Self-control is not for the timid. When we want to grow in it, not only do we nurture an exuberance for Jesus Christ, we also demand of ourselves a hatred for sin. . . . The only possible attitude toward out-of-control desire is a declaration of all-out war. . . . There is something about war that sharpens the senses . . . You hear a twig snap or the rustling of leaves and you are in attack mode. Someone coughs and you are ready to pull the trigger. Even after days of little of no sleep, war keeps us vigilant."

- Ed Welch, A Banquet in the Grave [Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2001]

It's Not About Feeling Good

"God's grace is not given to make us feel better, but to glorify Him. Modern society's subtle, underlying agenda is good feelings. We want the pain to go away. We want to feel better in difficult situations, but God wants us to glorify Him in those circumstances. Good feelings may come, or they may not, but that is not the issue. The issue is whether or not we honor God by the way we respond to our circumstances. God's grace--that is, the enabling power of the Holy Spirit--is given to help us respond in such a way."

- Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace (Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love), ch.10, pg. 144-145

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Man in the Mirror

Ps 64:6
...For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep!

The famous aphorism reads, "Know thyself", and contained therein is much wisdom. Is it not a great part of the Holy Spirit's work in sanctification, the revealing of much of our true selves? If we have Christ ever before us, this view of who and what we really are is cause for much humbling and self-loathing, and the precursor to more seeking after God.

Let not hope fade as our depravity is brought to the light. God is faithful and He will not leave us as we are. The desires of the righteous He shall fulfill, and what greater desire is there in us but to be changed, to be as Christ.

Faith, hope, and love, let these abound as we wait for mortality to be swallowed up in the victory of sanctification consummated: glory.

Workplace Underdogism

"Can you serve your boss and others at work, helping them to succeed and be happy, even when they are promoted and you are overlooked? Can you work to make others look good without envy filling your heart? Can you minister to the needs of those whom God exalts and men honor when you yourself are neglected? Can you pray for the ministry of others to prosper when it would cast yours in the shadows?....But the Christian serves with humility because it leads to Christlikeness."

- Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, ch. 7, pp. 122

John Owen and The Ideal State of the Soul

"Constant self-abasement, condemnation, and abhorrency is another duty that is directly opposed unto the...rule of sin in the soul. No frame of mind is a better antidote against the poison of sin...It is the soil wherein all grace will thrive and flourish...To keep our souls in a constant state of mourning and self-abasement is the most necessary part of our wisdom."

- John Owen, as cited by J.I. Packer in his introduction to Triumph Over Temptation, pp. 25

A Site Dedicated to the Hated of the World but Beloved of God

1Co 1:27
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1Co 1:28
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

1Co 1:29
That no flesh should glory in his presence.

I decided to start a blog dedicated to the cultivation of the HUMBLE life; a life that is dependent on God and striving to mortify the flesh's all too natural propensity for self-sufficiency and pride.


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