How to Know How Satan Is Tempting You

Martin Luther once compared the Christian to a drunk man trying to ride a horse. It’s a comically apt comparison. This man scrambles up one side of the horse, and promptly falls off the opposite side. So then he climbs up from that side, and falls right off the other. Luther meant to say that as Christians, we are prone to extremes. When we are not veering too far in one direction, we are swerving too far in the other. …

Every Test and Every Temptation

Life is full of difficult circumstances. Life inevitably involves circumstances that we would never have chosen on our own. Yet, the Bible assures, God does not work his grace in his people despite circumstances, but right through the middle of them. As we look at life’s difficult circumstances, we can sometimes be confused about what this thing is and what it is meant to accomplish. The Bible tells us that there are at least two categories of difficult circumstances: There …

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Satisfaction at the Cost of Obedience

I will eat just about anything. I’m an adventurous omnivore and often walk into restaurants hoping to try something new and different. But there is at least one exception: I simply cannot tolerate shrimp. I hate those bottom-feeding sea bugs and I will do everything I can to avoid them. Sometimes people try to convince me to try shrimp by saying, “But you’ve never had them fried in garlic butter” or “You’ve got to just try them in the grits.” …

A Plea for Innocence

I want to be good at good. In fact, I want to be an expert in good. At least, I do when I’m at my best. But in moments of introspection I see a real interest in evil as well. These desires battle within me, the desire to fill my mind with good and the desire to fill my mind with evil. As Paul came to the end of his great letter to the church in Rome, he gave some …

The Theory, the Practice

Putting sin to death is at once so simple and so excruciatingly difficult. The theory of it is simple enough, but the practice takes a lifetime. It is fascinating to me that in John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation he dedicates thirteen chapters to the preparatory work of putting sin to death, but just one chapter to the actual practice of it. That fact alone is worth pondering. As he comes to that one chapter, Owen has only two broad …

3 Things To Consider Before That Next Big Sin

Sin promises so much but delivers so little. Sin always amplifies its benefits and minimizes its cost. Sin always aims at the uttermost, always nudging toward utter death and destruction. And yet we love our sin, and secretly harbor it, and grieve to turn aside from it. John Owen has a challenge for you. Before that next big sin you are pondering, he wants you to simply consider three things. Consider the Guilt of It Before that next sin, consider …

My Naughty Heart

John Flavel was one of the great Puritan preachers and authors. Much of Flavel’s ministry was toward sailors, so he often relied on nautical metaphors and terminology. In An Honest, Well Experienced Heart, Adam Embry shares a poem titled “My Naughty Heart.” “Naughty” rhymes with “knotty,” a play on words that falls in the middle of the piece. Flavel writes of a heart that is so often steered in the wrong direction. A ship of greatest burthen will obey The …

Not Putting Sin to Death

This is my once-monthly Puritan post. I know that I’ve lost 50% of you with the word Puritan, but don’t be too hasty to run away; if you take the time to read this post, I know that you’ll benefit from it. I am simply sharing some of what John Owen says about putting sin to death. I have been going through John Owen’s book Overcoming Sin and Temptation and trying to distill each chapter to its essence—to a few choice …

Tempted and Tried

We should not be surprised that we are tempted and tried. After all, if temptation existed in a perfect world, in a sinless world, how much more will it exist in a world that is full of sin. Even the best of us, or perhaps especially the best of us are far from immune. After all, Christ himself was tempted by the devil. These temptations form the structure within Russell Moore’s new book Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph …

Overcoming Sin and Temptation (Chapter 9)

This morning we continue with our fourteen week journey through John Owen’s classic Overcoming Sin and Temptation. If you’d like to know more about this reading project, you can read about it right here: Reading Classics Together. We’re into the real heart of the book now and are looking at specific instructions on how to put sin to death. By way of reminder, for the past few chapters we have been in the book’s second section—a section that turns the …