“To talk about service might seem boring to some. We’ve fallen into this notion that serving is boring, like broccoli.
This is because the concept of Christian morality has often been hijacked in our day by boring people — people who have reduced Christian morality to the avoidance ethic and its most degenerate form, the boycott ethic. The avoidance ethic is the opposite of what I have outlined here. Instead of seeing the Christian life as about being proactive and abundant in doing good, it sees the essence of the Christian life as avoiding bad. It turns discipleship into the art of, as David Platt has said, ‘disinfecting Christians’ rather than sending them out for real engagement in the world.
Who would get excited about a life that is mainly about avoiding things and holing yourself up in a Christian bunker, allegedly ‘safe’ from the world? . . .
. . . A life of serving is a life of joy and adventure and excitement — far more exciting, in fact, than a life lived for yourself, no matter how many times you get to travel the world.”
Matt Perman in What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (pp. 80-81). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
“The Christian life has its beginnings and its continuance in the work of the cross as Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins and to impart new life to us. The Christian life is cruciform as we die to sin, to selfish individualism, to our own desires and ambitions, to the mindset of the world and to the life dictated by the old nature, and become like Christ himself in his death.”
Derek Tidball, The Message of the Cross, page 26.
Three questions I need to ask myself regularly:
1) Will Jesus be my delight and satisfaction in the midst of this DIFFICULT situation?
2) Will Jesus be my delight and satisfaction in the midst of this COMFORTABLE situation?
3) Will I, by faith in the promises of the gospel and in dependence on the Holy Spirit, get to know Jesus better and become more like Him in this situation, even if it does not change?
(These are adapted from questions I’ve heard before, but I can’t remember where I first heard them!)
“Only a fraction of the present body of professing Christians are solidly appropriating the justifying work of Christ in their lives. Many have so light an apprehension of God’s holiness and of the extent and guilt of their sin that consciously they see little need for justification, although below the surface of their lives they are deeply guilt-ridden and insecure. Many others have a theoretical commitment to this doctrine, but in their day-to-day existence they rely on their sanctification for justification, drawing their assurance of acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience . . .
Few [Christians] know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther’s platform: you are accepted, looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly [external] righteousness of Christ, as the only ground of acceptance, relaxing in that quality of trust which will produce increasing sanctification [or transformation] as faith is active in love and gratitude.”
Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1979, pg. 101) as quoted by Jerry Bridges in The Transforming Power of the Gospel (Navpress, 2012, Kindle Location 2752).