Skip to content ↓

Our Lust Is Furious and Our Greed Limitless

Money

If you have ever wanted a taste of Calvin’s Institutes but without committing to the whole thing, you may want to try reading A Little Book on the Christian Life. It is an excerpt of the larger work, and one focused largely on Christian living. Here’s an extract from a new edition translated by Aaron Denlinger and Burk Parsons.

In striving for either convenience or tranquility in this present life, Scripture calls us to resign our wills and everything that is ours to the Lord, and to turn the affections of our hearts over to Him to be tamed and bridled.

Our lust is furious and our greed limitless in pursuing wealth and honors, chasing after power, heaping up riches, and gathering all those vain things which seem to give us grandeur and glory. On the other hand, we greatly fear and hate poverty, obscurity, and humility, and so we avoid these realities in every way. Thus, we see that those who order their lives according to their own counsel have a restless disposition. We see how many tricks they try, how many pursuits they exhaust themselves with in order to secure the objects of their ambition or greed, while trying to avoid, on the other hand, poverty and humility.

Therefore, in order not to be entangled in such snares, godly men must hold this course: First of all, they must neither desire, nor aspire, nor expect to prosper for any other reason than the Lord’s blessing. Therefore, let them safely and confidently cast themselves on and rest in that blessing. The flesh might seem beautifully sufficient to itself while it strives by its own power, or ascends by its own zeal, or is assisted by the favor of men toward honors and wealth. However, it’s nevertheless certain that all these things will come to nothing and that we will accomplish nothing by our talents or efforts, except insofar as the Lord prospers both. But, on the contrary, His blessing by itself finds a way, in spite of every obstacle, to bring all things to a glad and prosperous end to us.

Second, we are admittedly able to secure for ourselves, entirely apart from His blessing, something of glory and riches, just as we often see great honors and wealth piled up by ungodly men. Yet whatever we obtain will turn to evil without His blessing, since those on whom God’s curse remains do not taste even the smallest amount of true happiness. We obviously shouldn’t desire what makes us more miserable.


  • Like an iPhone

    Like an iPhone, Only Much More So

    Can I confess something to you? There’s one thing Aileen does that really bugs me. We will be talking together and enjoying one another’s company. But then, as we chat, I’ll hear the telltale buzz of her phone. And I can tell that I’ve lost her. I can see it in the look on her…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 21)

    A La Carte: When cultural tailwinds become cultural headwinds / Talking with kids about gender issues / Try to be more awkward / Life is more than mountaintop experiences / Tinder / Unpacking “separation of church and state” / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 20)

    A La Carte: How hell motivates holiness / The bond of love / How to love our friends in truth, even when it stings / The distorting power of the prosperity gospel / Thinking about plagues / and more.

  • A Difference Making Ministry for Any Christian

    A Difference-Making Ministry for Any Christian

    The experience of preaching is very different from the front than from the back, when facing the congregation than when facing the preacher. The congregation faces one man who is doing his utmost to be engaging, to hold their attention, and to apply truths that will impact their hearts and transform their lives.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 19)

    A La Carte: Courageous pastors or overbearing leaders? / Jesus didn’t diss the poor / 8 qualities of true revival / Why don’t you talk about the sermon? / The idol of competence / The danger of inhospitality / and more.

  • Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    It is something we have all observed at one time or another and something we have all wondered about. Why is it that those who seem most likely to come to Christ so often reject him? Why is it that those hear the boldest invitations and who have the greatest opportunities so commonly turn away?…