A lack of specificity, with one another and to ourselves, often fuels temptation. If we simply say, “Don’t be greedy,” the slumlord will simply define greedy as whatever Wall Street tycoons do. If we say, “Be chaste,” the young adult will believe he’s sexually pure because he’s only had oral sex. If we simply say, “Be content,” the family will assume they’re content even as they claw ahead to pile up all the advertised stuff in their rented, climate-controlled storage units. Specificity exposes how the designs of Satan mask themselves.
You might rattle on about “the family” while neglecting your children. You might fight for “social justice” by “raising consciousness” about “the poor,” while judging your friends by how trendy their clothes are. You might pontificate about “the church” while not knowing the names of the people in the seats around you in your local congregation. Abstraction distances.
“The family” never shows up unexpectedly for Thanksgiving or criticizes your spouse or spills chocolate milk all over your carpet; only real families can do that. “The poor” don’t show up drunk for the job interview you’ve scheduled or spend the money you’ve given them on lottery tickets or tell you they hate you; only real people can do that. “The church” never votes down your position in a congregational business meeting or puts on an embarrassingly bad Easter musical or asks you to clean toilets before children’s camp next week; only real churches can do that. As longs as “the family” or “the poor” or “the church” are abstract concepts, they can be whoever I want them to be. The same is true with temptation and sin.
The spirit warns us about this. King David knew adultery was wrong; but he didn’t want anyone meddling with his situation with Bathsheba. Jesus lit into the Pharisees for “fighting for” the Law of God while ignoring their financial obligations to their parents, all under the guise of religious advocacy (Mark 7:10-13). Specificity identifies where, particularly, temptation (and post-temptation sin) is afoot.
– taken from Russell D. Moore’s “Tempted and Tried” p. 179, 180
The Devil doesn’t mind “family values” as long as what you ultimately value is the family. Satan doesn’t mind “social justice” as long as you see justice as most impotantly social. Satan does not tremble at a “Christian worldview” as long as your ultimate goal is to view the world. Satan doesn’t even mind born-again Christianity as long as the new birth is preached apart from the blood of the cross and the life of the resurrection.
Pastor, Satan doesn’t mind if you preach on the decrees of God with fervor and passion, reconciling all the tensions between sovereignty and freedom, as long as you don’t preach the gospel. Homeschooling mom, Satan doesn’t mind if your children can recite the catechism and translate the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” from English to Latin, as long as they don’t hear the gospel. Churches, Satan doesn’t care if your people vote for pro-life candidates, stay married, have sex with whom they’re supposed to, and tear up at all the praise choruses, as long as they don’t see the only power that cancels condemnation – the gospel of Christ crucified. Satan so fears the gospel, he was willing to surrender his entire empire just to stave it off. He still is.
– taken from Russell D. Moore’s book “Tempted and Tried”, p. 154
It’s a privilege for us to work with The Resurgence to publish many of their RE:Lit titles. They’re putting out resources to help you “learn, grow, and disciple others.”
You can find a number of Re:Lit sample chapters available as free downloads. Enjoy!
(found via Crossway.org)
5 Bits of Writing Advice
- Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.
- Read widely and with discrimination. Bad writing is contagious.
- Don’t just plan to write—write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.
- Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.
- Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer—however happy, however tragic—is ever wasted.
(found via writingclasses.com)