Wanting It Enough

I want to have 10 percent body fat. I set that goal a while ago and even managed to get really close to reaching it. But eventually I found out that I want to have 10 percent body fat just a bit less than I want to have 13 percent. There’s a key difference between the two: While 13 percent requires moderate effort to gain and retain, 10 percent requires strict discipline. I soon learned I just didn’t want the …

The Five Key Factors in Every Christian’s Sanctification

Growth in Christlikeness is a lifelong, active progression. We are holier on the day we die than we were on the day we came to Christ. We are holier on the day we die than we are on the day before we die. Yet this long progression is peppered with seasonal lulls, drudgery, and complacency. We know we are never as Christlike as we ought to be or even as we want to be. Yet while our lack of holiness …

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The Damning Devastation of a Single Coddled Sin

We can never be ambivalent. We who are Christians have no right to allow any sin to persist. We must go hard after every sin and to pursue each one until it has been completely crushed, for even one sin left alone is enough to do terrible damage to our souls. A recent study of one of my favorite old authors showed me the damning devastation of a single coddled sin. Here are nine things to consider in times you …

Angered At and Angry With

It’s the time of year when my Bible-reading plan takes me through the book of Proverbs. There’s something almost absurd about reading this book at a pace of three chapters per day. That’s like quickly crunching through a whole bag of peppermints rather than slowly savoring each one. Yet reading the proverbs in great swaths does make it easier to identify its themes. Just as we can miss the forest for the trees, we can miss the themes for the …

The Joy of Walking with God

Christians enjoy the inestimable privilege of walking with God. As we proceed through life, we do so in fellowship with the Creator and Sustainer of all that is. We enjoy a relationship of true familiarity and intimacy. God pleads with us to tell him our cares and to make known to him our concerns, and he carries those burdens on our behalf. We, in turn, plead for his wisdom and guidance and he graciously gives it to us. There is …

How To Identify Your Pet Sin

Every Christian can think of a sin he has identified and attacked with all the brutality he can muster. One of the great joys of the Christian life is seeing God be true to his Word as he motivates and empowers us to wage war against indwelling sin. Yet every one of us probably also has a sin we rather enjoy, a sin we refuse to put to death. In fact, we may even protect and promote it. We might …

How Does Sanctification Work?

Some great books hit your life like a sledgehammer. They wreck your preconceptions and disrupt what you were sure you knew. We need these books from time to time. Other books come like a cool drink of water on a hot afternoon. They reaffirm what you thought you knew, and shore up your pre-existing convictions. We need these ones, too. David Powlison’s new How Does Sanctification Work? was decidedly in the second group for me. It is a book about …

The Peril of Success

Few of us meet with the success we hope for. We embark on new projects, our minds filled with grandiose dreams, but then have to content ourselves with far less than we had longed for. We set out to conquer the world but find the world doesn’t always go along with our plans. Fantasy and reality so often remain poles apart. But not always. Sometimes we do meet with success. Sometimes we do achieve our goals and realize our dreams. …

Maintain Your Vigilance

We all love to watch the occasional fail video, don’t we? What started years ago on primetime television has migrated to YouTube and become one of our beloved pastimes. Some of my favorites are “finish line fails,” compilations of athletes celebrating just a bit too soon. In one of these finish line fails, an Olympic runner is nearing the end of his race, still going at a tremendous pace. He has swept around the final turn and is now just …

Renew Your Mind

There are many places in the Bible where God presents a stark contrast between two options, then urges the reader to make his choice. He gave his law to ancient Israel, then said, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus contrasted wide and narrow gates and pleaded, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads …