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I’m in the middle of writing an article on loneliness as a means to drive us deeper into God’s heart and was just struck by the passage this nugget came from. The context is distress and anguish, feeling the grip of death’s crushing pull. Maybe you can relate. But the author of this psalm lifts his eyes above his circumstances and prays for deliverance. He meditates on the character of God; how He is gracious, righteous, and merciful. He remembers what God has done; how He preserves the simple and rescued him when he was flat on his back, hopeless and alone. Then comes verse seven. Circumstances haven’t changed for the author but, then again, God’s worthiness to be worshipped has never been contingent on ideal circumstances. No matter what our lives might look like right now, no matter how uncomfortable or excruciating our circumstances might be, if we have been redeemed by Jesus, we have every reason to “return to our rest;” for the the Lord INDEED has dealt bountifully with us. And He is worthy of our praise and confidence right here. •••• [Also, 1) this is not a staged photo and 2) you should go read all of Psalm 116 for yourself.]
Happy birthday to the best big sister! 🥳 You are as genuine and intentional as they get; you love deep and feel big, and I’m so thankful for your heart and life. 💜 Additionally, I’d like to know how much you were paid to hug me in this photo.
“Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home at it.” -Charles Spurgeon
“Theologians who limit the means of grace to overtly redemptive religious practices miss something about the God who speaks without words in the theater of His creation.” -David Powlison

Follow me as I follow Jesus

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

questions to identify guilt from good things.jpg

“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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