THE GOSPEL, Context, and Expectations of the World

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So it became quite apparent to me after I saw the analytics and responses both at this site and over at Bread for Beggars, that I probably needed to write a follow-up to THE GOSPEL and Tone – the post where I said that Christians are not merely to promote the morality of Christ, but also to do so with the gentleness and humility of Christ. I argued that if you promote traditional family values, but do so with condescension and malice, you’ve stepped over into promoting conservative politics, not Christianity.

Some Christians aren’t going to like this statement. That’s fine. I’m less concerned with whether or not someone likes it and more concerned with whether or not it’s true: Presentation is not everything, but it’s definitely something. Consequently, if you proclaim truth, but do so with a transparently loveless heart, you are going to repel people in a way counterintuitive to the attractiveness of the gospel. Put differently, you think you’re making a mark for the truth when, in reality, you’re driving many further from the truth.

This all leads into the topic of the day, a topic that many reading my previous post on tone, seem to be struggling with a bit. Namely, how do we reconcile Jesus’ demonstrations of righteous indignation with a gentle and loving tone? Invariably, people want to say, “But Jesus showed anger over sin when he tossed over the tables at the Temple!” (Matt. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-18; John 2:13-17). These individuals conclude, “Jesus got angry about sin. He openly expressed his anger. I’m also justifiably angry about sin, therefore I too should openly express anger to the world.” What are they missing? Answer: CONTEXT.

Let me run a couple of passages by you, passages where Jesus is getting angry, name-calling, and showing zero tolerance for sin. Tell me what they have in common….

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” (Matt. 23:17)

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” (Matt. 3:7)

So, the common denominator? Who’s he speaking with? The RELIGIOUS people. The church people. Now, let me flip back to my post from a couple of weeks ago. Is this the same group of people who Matt Walsh is calling out? No, he’s lambasting the secular media, gay rights activists, and most things liberal. Now, we need to ask the question, what, if any, guidance does the Bible give to us on judgment regarding those who are clearly outside the Church? Well, let’s take the Apostle Paul for instance…

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” (1 Cor. 5:12-13)

In the exact same section that the Apostle Paul is talking about intolerance for the unrepentant sins of a brother within the Church, he comments on how correcting the behavior of those outside of the Church is really not the main business of Christians. Now, the New Testament certainly makes general statements about not conforming to the wickedness of the world – (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16; Col. 2:8; Rom. 12:2). But even there, the warning is being given to believers. The point is this: we have a right and responsibility to hold accountable those within the Christian Church. On the other hand, we cannot anticipate godly decision-making from those who clearly, by their own admission, do not have the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14). That would be a naïve underestimation of the necessity of the Spirit for producing any true godliness.

Is God concerned about the wickedness of the world? Of course. Can you legislate, bully, or rationalize Christ into the heart of an unbeliever? No. So you have to recognize that God is not merely seeking obedience, he’s seeking a certain type of obedience (the secret to the Cain/Able distinction in Gen. 4). He’s seeking gospel-driven obedience. He’s seeking a faith-based response to the gift of salvation. He’s seeking hearts enamored with the One they were created for and redeemed by.

So what are Christians who believe in biblical values, who want the world to see the “rightness” of those values, to do? Jesus addresses this quite clearly in the Sermon on the Mount – we (i.e. The Church) are supposed to function as an alternate reality to the world, a reality characterized by grace, a more beautiful reality than what the world typically sees. Jesus refers to this as “salt of the earth” and “light to the world” and “city on a hill” (Matt. 5:13-16). In other words, let God’s directive unfold in your life and then speak for itself.

Here’s a quick illustration: If Christians demonstrate marriages that reflect the Ephesians 5 template, where husband/wife possess a relationship that mirrors the beauty of the relationship between Christ/Church, don’t you trust that such a demonstration will make a more powerful testimony to the world about biblical values than holding a sign at town hall meeting, a 25 cent bumper sticker, or a self-righteous online rant about the plight of American morality? The problem, however, is that 1) actually mirroring the Eph. 5 marriage design is much harder than the other options, and 2) we, by nature, don’t really trust that Jesus is right – that a simple gospel light will be more beneficial and impactful to the world than a snarky, condescending diatribe.

I’m curious what Christianity, and the world, might look like if we Christians worked harder at holding Christians (esp. ourselves) accountable, and worried less about holding a Spirit-less world accountable.

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THE GOSPEL and Recovering From Sadness

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We all get sad. We all go through rough times. We all experience tragedy. It’s simply one of the realities of living East of Eden.

And just as we all encounter sadness, we all have our own coping mechanisms, many healthier than others. But one of the criticisms often lobbied against Christians, somewhat understandably, is that we have a simplistic approach to recovery. The criticism is probably, at least sometimes, fair. Are there some Christians who think that God will heal them irrespective of any other treatment, merely through prayer? Yes. On the other end of the spectrum, are there some Christians who will use any medical means available to them without consulting God or ultimately relying on him? Yes.

My point is this: are there some Christians who have a relatively simplistic (and inconsistent) approach to health and wellness? Yes. Does that mean that the Bible has a simplistic approach to health and wellness? Not at all. If the default position of the human heart is unbelief, then we should assume that the approach of some Christians to healthcare is perhaps a bit off and shouldn’t be received as gospel truth or “the Christian way.”

There certainly are many times in the Gospels when Jesus directly heals the sick. He even extends that power in some respects by sending his Spirit into the early Church. But the question of what God “could possibly do” is unproductive when it comes to lifestyle approach. It’s much more helpful to ask, how does God typically operate? What’s his basic modus operandi in helping sick people recover?

Let me give you one biblical example that I think demonstrates the multifaceted approach of God to guiding humans down the road to recovery.

Case Study: Elijah (1 Kings 19)

Elijah, the great prophet of God, had just defeated the prophets of Baal and the wicked king and queen, Ahab and Jezebel, in dramatic fashion on the top of Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:16-42). You’d think this should be a time of jubilant celebration. Instead, Elijah goes and sits down with his head between his knees. Why? It’s very interesting. For a believer in a sinful world, a spiritual victory is only a temporary victory. The world doesn’t tend to smile too approvingly at the believer’s success. Not for long. Elijah understands this. He understands he’s going to have to get up and fight the fight again tomorrow. Sure enough, within hours, Queen Jezebel has sent him this message: “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of (the killed prophets of Baal).” (1 Kings  19:2)

Elijah feels like a man who has been lonesomely, unceasingly, taking on the world. So he naturally responds in the way just about any human who has received death threats would. “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life…He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life.'” (1 Kings 19:3-4) In the same way that every human only has so much physical energy, we all only have so much emotional energy. That is to say, if you went outside and started running at a full sprint, eventually something would have to give. Either you’d dehydrate, your muscles would cramp, and you’d collapse. Or, more likely, you’d simply get exhausted and be in such pain that you had to stop. Either way, your energy is out, your tank is empty.

What happens in the physical universe often mirrors what happens in the psychological and spiritual worlds as well. In other words, just like we only have so much physical energy, we also only have so much emotional energy. There’s a great deal of caution here then about what we choose to give our emotional energy to, i.e. if you care too much about lesser matters, you will not have enough energy leftover to give to more important matters. Regardless of what you give your energy too, however, you only have so much. Emotional energy is a finite resource, just like physical energy. Consequently, if, like Elijah, you are pressed on every side too hard and for too long, your body will eventually shut down. In mental health terms this is generally called depression. Prolonged stress and anxiety will eventually land you in depression. The math is not tough. 

But how do you get out of that funk? If it’s possible for the great prophet Elijah to struggle with depression, surely it’s not beyond any of us. Just look at how God helps him recover.

1) Nutrition

“All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drankThe angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food…” (1 Kings 19:5-8)

It hasn’t been until recent years that I actually started taking inventory of what I was putting into my body. It dawned on me in my late 20s that God might not have intended processed foods like Cheetos or anything whipped up by Little Debbie to be the staple of my diet. Yes, I’m a late nutrition bloomer. But it makes sense that for as much attention as I give to how I manage my time and my money, that God would desire for me to wisely manage the very thing that he refers to as his temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20) as well.

2) Exercise

he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb” (1 Kings 19:8)

It’s not a coincidence that treadmills weren’t invented until after cars and planes were invented. Humans naturally gravitate towards the path of least resistance (again, universal physical principle here). Consequently, movement is often avoided if possible. Inactivity can cause physical and emotional health problems. But in ancient days, forty-day trips would involve a decent amount of sweat, which again, is good for BOTH your physical and emotional health.

3) Rest

“He ate and drank and then lay down again.” (1 Kings 19:6)

Lutherans aren’t typically inclined to shout “Amen!” or “Hallelujah!” But I’m gonna do that, as well as dance, clap, and sway my hands here. I cannot tell you how much I love the fact that Elijah TOOK A NAP! The world will rarely applaud you for not working so hard. Your boss will rarely encourage you to not work so hard. Typically, workaholism gets you promotions, not rebuking. But God commands sabbath, i.e. rest. You either voluntarily submit to his directive, or you will eventually be forced, with health complications, to submit to this directive.

4) Biblical Counsel

Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord (vs. 11)…What are you doing here, Elijah? (twice, vss. 9, 13)…Go back the way you came…” (vs. 15) (1 Kings 19:9-17)

The Lord is regularly dialoguing with Elijah in this account – giving instruction; asking pertinent, thought-provoking, introspective questions; and offering advice. So, when faced with recovering from grief, while the Bible doesn’t advise that you only sit in your house and pray and read Scripture, it definitely advises that you should, in fact, be doing that. MULTIFACETED approach.

5) Believing Company

“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (vs. 18)

I wasn’t sure exactly what term to use here. Sometimes words like “community” or “friendships” or “meaningful relationships” or “support groups” are used here. Those can all be misunderstood if it’s not clarified that you have to have Christ-like, gospel-driven BELIEVERS actively involved in your life. Like really involved. Why should Weight Watchers and AA have a monopoly on this universal principle – change happens in community. Americans who consume self-help literature like it is candy generally refuse to recognize this truth, the truth of “the Church,” the truth that positive transformation typically involves connection to others. You have to have strong Christian friends to 1) reach your potential as a Christian, 2) to know and understand God, and 3) to be resilient/recover in the face of sadness.

Conclusion

We Christians are oftentimes foolishly simplistic. That’s really not a Christian problem, however, but a human problem.

The Bible doesn’t have that problem though. The insight and tenderness with which God goes about healing humans is beautiful. His treatment recognizes that we humans are creatures with interconnected minds, bodies, and souls. God recognizes that we’re unique individuals that need unique care plans (e.g. take note of the nuanced way in which Jesus treats Martha and Mary after Lazarus’ death – John 11:21-23, 32-34). But God also recognizes the commonness of the human condition. Jesus truly is the Great Physician (Matt. 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31) – the only one who can make us well.

The one who can raise the dead clearly understands recovery. Therefore, his diagnosis can be trusted, and so can his recovery plan.

THE GOSPEL and Tone

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Image Credit: MATT WALSH BLOG

Alright.  I’ve been reluctant to write about this for some time, because I’m a little afraid of 1) coming off as petty, and 2) giving the insinuation that a fairly good thing is a bad thing. But when I get the impression that there might be a bit of consensus confusion, I feel compelled to raise my hand. So…

Something that is a bit perplexing to Christians, and to non-Christians regarding Christians, is the line between Christianity and traditional values, conservative attitudes, and right-wing politics.

The reason it’s confusing is because both groups, Conservative Christians and Political Conservatives, often seem to be passionately pushing for the same things – morals that are rooted in the Judeo-Christian literature and heritage. This would include issues like stances on human sexuality, abortion, the separation of church and state, etc. I’ve written before on how I don’t believe that any political party captures the gospel perfectly. Nonetheless, in the eyes of the majority, again, especially from outside the Church, Christians and Political Conservatives are intricately linked.

So, let me  point to the key, noticeable distinction – a humble TONE.

From the standpoint of morality, Jesus appeared to be on the same page with the conservative leaders of his day – the Pharisees. However, according to the Easton’s Bible Dictionary entry on Pharisees:

“There was much that was sound in their creed, yet their system of religion was a form and nothing more…They were noted for their self-righteousness and their pride (Matt. 9:11; Luke 7:39; 18:11, 12). They were frequently rebuked by our Lord (Matt. 12:39; 16:1–4).”[1]

Now the Roman officials may have had some difficulty differentiating between such a group and Jesus’ followers, at least superficially. But the Pharisees are the most common enemies of Jesus in the Gospel records. The two had very different hearts. But, since all of us non-Gods can’t see the heart, the best indication we have of distinguishing between faithful Christian godliness and mere conservative morality is a humble tone.

If you’re still wondering exactly what the difference between gospel-driven faith and conservative moralism looks like, and how tone helps you distinguish, let me give you a case study.

I mentioned I was hesitant to bring this up. Nonetheless, The Matt Walsh Blog is wildly popular at this point. I’ve had quite a few people send me notes about it, asking for my thoughts. It’s a little difficult giving my opinion without coming off as jealous, since he’s younger, more attractive, and somewhere between a hundred and a thousand times more “successful” than me as a blogger 🙂 But it really isn’t just me. You can count on one hand the number of Christian pastors (or Christians in general) in our country that have a bigger internet presence and more passionate following than Matt Walsh.

Walsh’s Huffington Post bio lists him as “a 27-year-old blogger, talk radio host, husband, and father of twins.” Currently, Walsh has over 160k Facebook followers and literally has multiple anti-matt walsh websites dedicated against him. With recent posts like “This Is My Homophobic Rant Against Michael Sam,” “Hi Mom, Thanks For Never Taking Me To Disney World,” and “Christian-hating Liberal Fascists Have Once Again Demonstrated Their ‘Tolerance,'” it’s not too tough to see how Walsh ignites some controversy. Walsh concluded a recent post by saying, 

“The point is, you turn on the TV or crank up the Pandora and you’re going to be watching or listening to a stream of deviants, junkies, rapists, pedophiles, adulterers, and crooks, yet we don’t bat an eye until someone quotes the Bible or endorses traditional marriage. Amidst a sea of perversity and violence, the only thing the fascists seek to punish is the reasonable expression of Christian beliefs. In a country of filth, the only thing you can’t be is pro-life and pro-marriage. Enough of this, already. It’s time to stop playing nice with these people.”

But young Christians gobble this stuff up. In the same way that Eminem became the voice of middle class white teen angst in the early 2000s, Matt Walsh has become something of a voice of young white conservative angst for Christians who now have their own kids. A voice to the voiceless – I get the appeal.

So, let me try to humbly state this. Matt Walsh is a very talented writer, generally entertaining, and the vast majority of his points I would whole-heartedly agree with. He is being earmarked by young conservatives as a guy to watch out for and is already no secret in the online writing community. My guess is that within the next decade, he’ll probably occupy a significantly greater position in the public eye than merely “blogger” and “radio show personality.” But be very clear here, what he’s promoting is conservative values, NOT Christianity.

Many young conservative Americans are recognizing the painful, ironic cultural disparity that’s beginning to be demonstrated against Christians. I think there’s some value in pointing that out. Walsh has tapped into it. But when you do so with the exact same tone as those who are peddling the very ideals you’re against, you’re not promoting godliness, you’re promoting moralism. In other words, who are you really seeking to convert to truth when you’re labeling people as “stupid jerks”? You won’t convert anyone. You’ll simply make those who are already on your side applaud with greater belligerence.

I’m not at all saying Matt Walsh isn’t a Christian. He clearly is. I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t like him. And I’m certainly not saying I myself have never crossed the line in this “tone” issue. For that matter, the Lord’s disciple, Peter, also needed to learn to put the sword away and rather suffer under the sword in order to advance God’s kingdom (John 18:11).

Riling a bunch of Christians up about how sinful the world is isn’t too difficult. Jesus did tell his disciples that people would hate them because of him (Matt. 10:22). Jesus did say that wickedness would increase in the world and faithfulness would wane (Matt. 24:12). While pointing out the hypocrisy of a secular world perhaps has some value, doing so with the same disdainful tone that a secular world uses to deride Christianity isn’t particularly helpful. And to refer to yourself as a “professional sayer of truths” and label your website as “Absolute Truth” is not only not helpful to Christianity, it’s borderline blasphemous.

It’s not hard to make the case that pride is as much or more spiritually dangerous to Christianity than any gross cultural immoralities. I’ve been a chief offender here too. I’m repenting and growing by God’s grace. If I’m still alive and posting 10 years from now, I pray that I’ll be able to look back on my older stuff and say, not so much say that I’ve grown “more accurate, more popular, or more influential” but, that as I’ve gotten to know my Savior better, my words are “more humble.”

I’m not trying to pick on Matt Walsh. He’s just one example. In all honesty, I could probably have chosen any of the more influential conservative commentators. Walsh simply happens to fall into the “next big thing” category. But this is an important lesson. Remember, the goal is not that conservative talk gets more Christian. The goal is that Christians understand the difference, and let the humble tone of their speech indicate that.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Cor. 13:1)

 

[1] Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

 

THE GOSPEL and Addiction

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Romans 13: 11-14 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

This text of Scripture is directly associated with one of the most famous Christian conversions in history – that of St. Augustine. Augustine was a young man in the 4th century A.D. who was what we might call something of a womanizer. He lived a wild, promiscuous life, partying constantly with friends. By his own confession, he denied himself very little. And, as people frequently still do today, he eventually came to hate himself for that. He had an addiction to sin. He had encountered the teaching of Christianity, it appealed to him, but he could never shift gears in his lifestyle.

One day he was with his friend walking through a garden, lamenting his inability to change from his ways. “O, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow! How can I free myself from these terrible urges within me that drive me to the things that hurt me!” Moping around in despair, Augustine suddenly heard what he thought was the voice of a child. For the record, I’m not exactly sure what Augustine heard that day, but who am I to tell him? He thought the voice was perhaps that of a child playing in the garden next door. The voice said, “Take and read, take and read.” Augustine couldn’t, however, remember any children’s games with words like that. Walking back home he came to a nearby table and found a copy of Paul’s letter to the Romans. With the words “Take and read” stuck in his head, he opened the book, and the words he read were those that we read just moments ago (Rom. 13:11-14) – The time is drawing near. Put off your sinful deeds. Be clothed in Christ.

Augustine pointed to that moment as the moment he turned the corner in Christian faith. He had struggled for a long time with the lusts of the flesh, a guilty conscience, and where exactly Christ fit into his life. But it wasn’t until he realized, on that day, that he was robed with Christ’s righteousness, that THAT was the love and excitement and joy and acceptance that he’d been looking for all his life. THAT was the thing which now defined him. It changed his thinking, and eventually he was able to put off the old sinful deeds. While they had lived very different lives, the whole account sounds shockingly similar to Luther’s “righteousness by faith” breakthrough (Rom. 1:17). Luther had commented that when he learned the only acceptance he needed for salvation was that which was gifted to him by Jesus, it was like the gates of heaven flung open before him. True gospel joy lifts the weight of the world, and the guilt of a sinful life, off your shoulders, and into the bloody palms of Christ.

Do we know for sure that Augustine the sex addict grew in his fruits of repentance? Yes. There’s a story that after he was converted, he traveled to a town he hadn’t been to in many years, and a woman came up to him whom he used to have a pretty sexually charged relationship with. She came running on up, and he was polite to her, and he was kind to her, and he was respectful to her, but he was different. She didn’t quite know how to take it. He said goodbye, and it was all so odd to her that as he walked away, it suddenly occurred to her, “Wait a second! Maybe he just mistook me for somebody else. Maybe that’s the reason he was so nice and courteous. What happened?!” So as he walked away, she called to him and said, “Augustine! It is I!” He turned and said, “I know, but it is not I.” 

The gospel had transformed Augustine. But how? It was not merely by willpower or trying harder. Just as you don’t get justified by your own efforts, you don’t grow sanctified by your own efforts either. St. Augustine changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, whose main work is making real to you/making you aware of your new status by grace. St. Augustine changed because he realized his status as a saint was not his own doing, but his certain righteousness before God was gifted to him by his Savior, Jesus. That’s the part of the gospel, I’ll confess, I never really understood for much of my life. The gospel is not merely Jesus forgiving your sins (although it’s certainly that). But if that’s all it is, then perhaps we’re simply redeemed to a second chance. Perhaps we just get one more swing at the plate? Problem is…we’d screw that one up too. The second part of the gospel, equally essential, is that Jesus gifts to you his righteousness. And that’s who you now are. HE is who you are. That’s what defines you.

Now let’s work this out a little further. In the section we read from Romans, Paul tells Christians to no longer behave in drunkenness and sexual immorality and hatred and jealousy and according to other base desires of the flesh. Notice, however, that he’s simply saying that Christians don’t do that. He’s not motivating Christians not to do that at this point though. Paul really never encourages people to godliness without reminding them of their status that comes from the grace of Jesus. People aren’t primarily motivated to godliness by being told not to do something. Consider the addict for a second. Does an addict want to do the things they’re addicted too? They might derive some pleasure from it, but part of the very definition of addiction is that it’s something they don’t want for themselves, it’s something they’re a slave to. Elsewhere Paul says that the acts of the sinful nature are obvious (Gal. 5:19). This tells us that sin generally isn’t a lack of knowledge. It often, for the Christian, isn’t because he/she wants to do the sinful act. So why do we do these terrible things that we hate? Why would we embark on behavior which we know makes us hate ourselves?

Isn’t at least a significant part of sin due to us trying, in unhealthy ways, to medicate the sadness? Don’t we naturally sense how little we are? Don’t we sense how flawed, broken, weak, and dependent we are? And isn’t that a bit terrifying? Doesn’t that make us feel terribly vulnerable? And wouldn’t we just like to numb the pain?

It’s interesting that in the Bible nakedness is never really just nudity. Nakedness is vulnerability. So how do you erase the feeling of vulnerability that’s driving you to self-medicate. In other words, how do you become motivated to put off the acts of the sinful flesh (“the naughty things that naked humans are inclined to do”)? ANSWER: It can only come when, and to the degree that, you realize that you are robed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. When that becomes your identity, it’ll affect the way you behave both when you’re clothed and when you’re not. You won’t feel the need to escape life if the reality of your life is that you are clothed in the perfection of Jesus. You won’t feel the need to medicate in unhealthy ways if you recognize that the Great Physician has already declared you “well.”

Let me add one final thought for those feeling discouraged that they’re not developing fast enough. Augustine was in that spot once too. Remember, Christian growth is organic (which is why the “fruit-bearing tree” analogy that Jesus gives is so apropos). Organic growth is gradual but definite. When you see a 12-year-old for the first time in a year, you say, “Whoa! Look how much you’ve grown!” But that doesn’t mean he just sprouted up 8 inches before your eyes like the Incredible Hulk. The growth was imperceptible. But, in time, it was undeniable. If your lifestyle doesn’t change in 3 worship services or less, don’t freak out. Give me six months. Every night, say, “Jesus forgive me for trying to find myself in this world. This world is not my righteousness. YOU are my righteousness.” One day at a time. In six months, let’s talk.

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis

NOTE: If you are indeed one who struggles with any number of addictions (and all sin is ultimately addiction), in addition to using theology, you should seek out practical behavior modification. The two go hand-in-hand. Pastoral and Clinical counseling work very well together.