Keep a Close Watch on Yourself!

It happens with alarming, distressing regularity. And it hurts every time. It hurts every time we see a person we love or admire fall into a great sin or deny a precious doctrine. We are always left asking ourselves how it happened. What went wrong? How did we not see this coming? How did they not see this coming? Every one of these situations is unique and uniquely complicated. And yet there is always an inevitable, terrible simplicity as well. …

Do You Have the Faith to be Faithful?

Children are mimics. Children are mimics because human beings learn by imitation. We learn to speak by hearing our parents speak. We learn to do dishes by watching mom and dad do dishes. We even learn to love (or not love) Jesus by seeing our parents love (or not love) Jesus. In both vice and virtue, children will begin to look like their parents. Parents quickly come to realize the importance of setting a good example, of being worthy of …

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Be a Living Example of God’s Living Love

Art comes in many different forms. Visit a museum or art gallery and you may see sculpture, pottery, calligraphy, and, of course, paintings. Though each of these is beautiful and valuable in its own way, the Bible commends another form of art, one that is more important and more enduring. It is a living art. Francis Schaeffer said, “No work of art is more important than the Christian’s own life, and every Christian is cared upon to be an artist …

Things Christians Just Don’t Get To Do

This one began with a conversation, with a statement within that conversation: “Christians don’t get to hold a grudge!” It’s just not an option, not a vice we can allow ourselves. But it’s not the only thing Christians don’t get to do. There are other kinds of behavior that God rules out, that God describes as being nothing less than sinful rebellion. Sadly, this doesn’t always stop us. Some of these behaviors continue despite God’s insistence that they are unfittinng …

Do You Set an Example in Your Conduct?

Today I want to scare you a little. At the very least I want to intimidate you. Actually, I want the Bible to scare and intimidate you, to set a challenge so difficult that you’ll know you can’t possibly meet it on your own. This is a challenge for any Christian, but I’m directing it particularly at younger Christians, at people in their teens or twenties. I’ve been working on a series of articles that takes a look at some …

Lay Aside Every Suitcase

On August 3, 2016, Emirates airlines flight 521 crashed at Dubai International Airport. The pilots had just set down the plane when they received a warning that they had landed too late—they would run out of runway before the plane could come to a safe stop. They initiated the go-around procedure which would allow them to lift off, circle the airport, and try again. The plane rose off the runway and began to climb, but then suddenly sank back down …

Set an Example in Your Speech

A few weeks ago I was in Cambridge, England, participating in a writing tour and workshop. We had one afternoon to ourselves and since I was not feeling particularly creative in that moment, decided to explore the town. I happened across a museum and, since it was free, thought I’d take a look. I wandered through exhibit after exhibit, admiring ancient and medieval antiquities. My time was nearly up when I came to one final room which held a collection of paintings. …

Set An Example: Don’t Surrender To Low Expectations

Last week I kicked off a new series that I’m writing with younger Christians in mind—high schoolers, college students, people just getting started in the independent life. In the opening article I introduced our key verse: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). I explained that “set an example” is a term related to the world of art and that …

Young Man, Young Woman: Set An Example

I was always lousy at painting. In my high school art classes the teacher would give an assignment that involved studying a car or a human form or a bowl of fruit. Our task was to observe and then paint. I would do what she said. I would look at it, I would study it, I would observe its form, its curves, its angles, its colors, its shadows. But when I put brush to paper it would never look like …

3 Godly Ambitions for the Christian

Some of my favorite biblical commands are the ones that most counter our culture, and even our little Christian subculture. We find just such a series of commands near the end of 1 Thessalonians. There Paul tells this church to “…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (4:11). The ESV is nicely complemented by the NIV’s slightly different rendering: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind …