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This is one of my best friends’ babies. In her hands is a custom order from someone who’s friend lost her son to suicide last week. A son who was this age once. A son who was fiercely loved and valued and squeezed tight. A son who will always be their baby. My heart cannot fathom the overwhelming grief. Our only hope? To lift our eyes to the One who is our help in every season and situation. Jesus, come quickly.
It seems the Lord is teaching me a deeper (more experiential) meaning of what Paul talks about when he describes servants of God as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10a). • You see, there is so much good happening. So much joy, provision, and depth of community. So many doors opening. So many opportunities to minister and be ministered to. So much love and humility and grace and kindness and care that it has made me—quite literally—cry into a plate of chicken and waffles from the mercy of it all. • These scattered beams can only be explained by the Lord, who is dropping joy bombs and grace explosions all around. • But it’s not all chicken and waffles. • (Link to blog post in profile ❤️)
“All in all, it was a never-to-be forgotten summer—one of those summers which comes seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going—one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends, and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” -L.M. Montgomery
“[It is] as if [David] had said, Separated from God I am nothing, and all that I attempt to do ends in nothing; but when I come to Him, I find an abundant supply of strength. It is highly necessary for us to consider what we are without God; for no man will cast himself wholly upon God, but he who feels himself in a fainting condition, and who despairs of the sufficiency of his own powers. We will seek nothing from God but what we are conscious of wanting in ourselves. ...the reason why God is represented as a portion is, because He alone is abundantly sufficient for us, and because in Him the perfection of our happiness consists.” -John Calvin, on Psalm 73:26

Follow me as I follow Jesus

Monday Morning Munch No. 141 – Questions to identify guilt from good things

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“In despising the gifts, we insult the giver.” -John Calvin

As I confessed last week, my low-grade guilt over enjoying good things is real. It’s a heart issue I didn’t realize was a thing until reading Joe Rigney’s The Things of Earth and as I finished the book yesterday, I can say it is undoubtedly one of the most helpful books I’ve ever read. I’ll be returning to it often.

Maybe you’re in the same boat? Maybe you’re also unsure of how to balance honoring God supremely with delighting in the pleasures at His right hand?

Ask yourself the following questions from Joe Rigney and dig deep for the reasons behind your answers.

  1. Do I feel a low-grade sense of guilt because I enjoy legitimate earthly pleasures?
  2. Is this guilt connected to any particular, concrete sinful attitude or action? Or is it rooted in a vague sense that I’m not enjoying God “enough” (whatever that means) or that I’m enjoying His gifts “too much”?
  3. Am I attempting to detach from creation and God’s gifts out of fear of idolatry, lest my love for them surpass my affections for Him?
  4. Am I overly suspicious of created things, looking at my delight in ice cream and sunny spring days and hugs from my spouse with a wary and skeptical eye, perpetually unsure whether they are too precious to me?
  5. Do I have the sense that as I progress in holiness, my enjoyment of fresh raspberries and hiking in the mountains and an evening of games and laughter with old friends ought to diminish because I am becoming increasingly satisfied with God alone?
  6. Do I regard certain activities such as prayer, worship, and Bible reading as inherently more holy and virtuous than other activities such as doing my job or listening to music or taking a nap?

“My point is not that you shouldn’t worry about the danger of idolatry. Far from it. Good gifts really can become distractions that keep us from communing with God. Idolatry isn’t a game; it’s a suicidal reality that wrecks our souls and awakens the wrath of a jealous God. My concern is that, in general, thinning out the gifts and rejecting the stuff, and suppressing our delight in created things, actually hinders our growth in grace and our ability to resist the pull of the Devil’s lies. There is a crucial place for renunciation and self-denial in the Christian life, but before we get to it (in chapter 9), we must recognize that our sin problem is far deeper than the glory of God’s gifts.

“Thankfully, the Gospel shows us a better way.” -Joe Rigney

More snippets from this most helpful book are coming soon. Stay tuned for more Gospel-rich soul food.

 

2 comments on “Monday Morning Munch No. 141 – Questions to identify guilt from good things

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