Should I play video games?
Can I wear this piece of clothing?
Should I eat fast food?
Is wearing make-up wrong?
Should I take my kids trick-or-treating?
All of these questions have to do with Christian liberty (for a great definition of Christian Liberty, see A.W. Pink's, Christian Liberty). So, how do you attempt to make decisions on such grey areas?
I recently heard Andy Naselli give an incredible lecture on the conscience at a TGC Indianapolis event. At the end of the lecture, he participated in a Q&A where he referred to a chart that Vaughn Roberts created for making decisions on Christian liberty issues. The chart (given below) lists five questions to ask yourself in sequential order:
For more resources on Christian liberty, see the following:
Humility, by definition, requires you seeing God for who He is and living in light of that truth. Mark it down: the vibrancy of your walk with God will never outpace your humility. How can you know if you're humble? All humble people make three confessions:
1. I can’t be everywhere-at-once.
Knowing they aren’t God; humble people realize they can’t be everywhere at once. Did you know it is possible to be with people, but not really with people? You get home from a busy day at work, you sit at the dinner table with your family, but all you’re thinking about is your to-do list and checking your email. Or you’re at home with the kids, and one of them wants to show you a craft they made, but you are too busy scrolling through your iPhone. All of us are tempted to believe that we can be multiple places at once and one of the surest ways to humble yourself is by telling yourself: when I’m there, be there. So, rather you’re with your spouse, your kids, or your friends—confess that you can’t be everywhere at once and be present with the people in front of you.
"One of the surest ways to humble yourself is by telling yourself: when I’m there, be there."
2. I can’t know it all.
Perhaps the reason why so many of us feel chained to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Fox News, CNN, ESPN, and for those of you that are just sick, HGTV, is because we believe that we can and must know everything. We have to know what our friends are doing, what’s happening on the other side of the world, if the Colts won, and how Joanna Gaines decorates her house. Dear friend, rest in the fact that you that you don’t have to know it all because you have a God who does. Take some time away from social media this year to remind yourself that you don’t need to know everything because after all, you can’t.
3. I can’t fix it all.
One of the ways that God humbles us is by giving us things we can’t fix. I am humbled when my wife says, “My car is making a weird noise, can you look at it?” and I reply, “No. I can look at how much gas you have left, but that’s about it.” I have to sit back and confess that I can’t fix it all. This is especially important for parents to remember. Parents need to remember that they can’t make all the right choices for their kids. That’s not how God designed parenting to work. Instead, God designed parenting to humble parents to the point of saying, God, I have no power to change my child. I’m going to lead by example and teach them Your ways, but at the end of the day, You have to change their heart. So, if you're a parent, let me give you a challenge this year: set aside five minutes every day at the same time to pray for your children’s souls. Get your spouse, a family member, or a friend to pray with you at the same time each day for the entirety of 2019. And let it serve as a reminder to your soul each day: I can’t fix it all.
Humble yourself today by making these three all-important confessions.
This article is an excerpt from a sermon I preached at College Park Church. You can view the sermon here:
Pride is the state of a heart that has become self-reliant, self-inflated, and God-ignoring. We are all prone to it. But what makes pride so dangerous is its pervasive ability to hide from oneself. This is why the Bible continually commends the people of God to live in community with one another to expose sin and to receive grace. However, we should be aware that there are seven traits that all prideful people reveal in their day-to-day behavior; this should lead us to examine our hearts and expose the ever-hiding pride in our hearts.
1. Frequently fire-off opinions and quick judgments.
Prideful people believe that they have a "gift" of discernment that allows them to see brokenness and sin in others with complete accuracy. Because of this, they tend to make judgments and freely give their (often negative) opinion of others. They often neglect to look for reasons to rejoice at God's work in others because they are too preoccupied looking for sin. Prideful people tend to judge themselves by their motives and others by their actions.
2. Are often fearful about the future.
Prideful people are overly concerned with the future because they believe the lie that they are in control. They mistakingly think that the success or failure of their future is reliant upon their ability to come through. This causes them to wear anxiety like a straight jacket while living in an always-fretful life.
3. Are overly concerned with what others think.
Prideful people want others to think well of them so much that they shackle themselves to others opinions. When someone thinks highly of them, it goes to their head. When someone thinks unfavorably of them, it cuts straight to the heart. Prideful people live their lives trying to please others because they want to be viewed as competent, able, and successful.
4. Are defensive and easily offended.
Prideful people think so highly of themselves that they dismiss critiques and become easily injured when their sin is exposed. They don't ask others around them for feedback in fear of having their brokenness exposed. Consequently, when others expose their brokenness, they immediately assumed that their perspective is flawed at best and wrong at worst.
5. Feel unenthusiastic or threatened by the success of others.
Prideful people rejoice at the failures of others and mourn at the success of others. They tend to secretly hope that their peers fail so that they can feel more superior. When others do succeed, they don't celebrate with them; instead, they avoid them and even spite them. Prideful people love to win and hate when others do.
6. Routinely spend more time talking than listening.
Prideful people love to talk about what they know, who they know, and why you should know what they know. They like to talk. They love to use you as an audience for them to proclaim their infinite wisdom and knowledge. At the same time, prideful people don't listen well. After all, what's the point in listening when I would rather hear from myself anyways?
7. Don't pray.
Prideful people don't pray because prayer, by definition, requires humility. Therefore they live their lives void of prayer—especially in the simplest of things. They don't believe they need God's grace throughout their day because they are sufficient in and of themselves. Proud people do not pray.
A new year is upon us which means we are frantically thinking about what we will resolve to do. In 2008, Sinclair Ferguson delivered a message at the Desiring God National Conference that included 20 God-honoring resolutions from the book of James. I commend them to you:
Christmas is full of wonderful things. Time with family & friends. Delicious cookies. Beautiful lights. And, of course, gifts. For many people, Christmas is a time to gather with others to give and receive gifts of all kinds—from toy trucks to gift cards to t-shirts that we’ll never wear—no doubt; this Christmas will be full of gifts.
The Apostle Paul knew a thing or two about gifts. In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul is urging the church at Corinth to be a generous people for the sake of the gospel by reminding them of the generosity of God’s grace towards us in Christ. And as he is reminding them of God’s grace in the gospel, he writes, v.15, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” It’s as if Paul, upon reflecting on Jesus coming to save sinners, sat back in his chair and said in amazement: Thank You, God, for this gift!
To say that God’s love for us in Christ is inexpressible is to say that there will never be a day when it will cease to amaze those who know it.
How great is this gift, you ask? It is “inexpressible,” which tells us two things about God’s love for us in Christ:
1. It never runs out.
The word “inexpressible” literally means, “beyond comprehension.” He uses this language again when he writes to the Ephesians in Ephesians 3:19 prays that they might know, “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” In other words, if the gospel were a body of water, Paul says, “You can swim as far down as you can, but you’ll never reach the bottom.” That is how great God’s love for us is. And that is the very gift that those of us in Christ have received—God’s inexpressible love.
2. It never grows old.
To say that God’s love for us in Christ is inexpressible is to say that there will never be a day when it will cease to amaze those who know it. This isn’t true of any gift you and I have ever received. Food eventually expires. Clothes shrink and fade over time. Toys get dull and boring. But those in Christ have God’s love—a gift that will never grow old. Such that ten thousand years we will still be saying with the Apostle Paul, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
This Christmas, celebrate the only gift that never runs out and never grows old. The very gift that we will be talking about for all eternity—that Jesus saves sinners. So, may God bless you this Christmas season as you reflect on God’s inexpressible gift. Merry Christmas!