“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts – i.e., Materialism and Astronomy – are mere accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”
— C.S. Lewis
Heartfelt confidence that, because of Christ, our all-controlling God is 100 percent for us, is the key to indomitable joy.
— John Piper
“In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that — and therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison — you do not know God at all.”
— C.S. Lewis
Abiding in Jesus means understanding that His acceptance of us is the same regardless of the amount of fruit we have produced. Ironically, it is only when we understand that His love is not conditioned on our spiritual fruitfulness that we gain the power to become truly fruitful. … In other words, those people who get better are those who understand that God’s approval of them is not dependent on their getting better.
— J.D. Greear
I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where he is. He is exactly where we left him.
— Ravi Zacharias
I meet with my counselor. He’s the pastor of a four-hundred-plus college ministry and one of the most Spirit-led men I know. For him to even make time for me is ridiculous.
I walk in and he’s on hold with an airline over the office speaker phone. He’s on his cell phone too, an urgent call. There’s a roll of one-hundred dollar bills on his desk. I don’t ask. He’s looking through his drawers for something. He tells me he’s so sorry to be distracted. As a pastor who just suffered a breakdown from anxiety, I totally understand.
I needed his counsel because soon I’d be in a meeting to re-negotiate how I do the ministry. But I was nervous: I wanted to be humble with them while authoritative, demanding yet firm. I was also afraid that I’d be rejected, shot down, or fired.
While my counselor rummaged through his drawers, I shared my fears. The airline music was playing in the background. I must have said “What if” a dozen times. Suddenly he stopped, slammed the drawer shut, smiled, and looked right at me.
“You know, Joon, do me a favor. Will you stop being such a sh_tless wonder? I’ve been dealing with death all morning in and out of hospitals and funerals and I can’t find my wallet which has everything in it and you’re scared to be yourself. If you can’t say what you want to them, maybe that’s not the right place for you. Shouldn’t you just be happy there?”
He apologized for being so short with me. The airline person came on. He took the call and went right back to looking for his wallet.
We talked some more. He walked me out and hugged me and told me he loved me. He asked me to pray about his wallet. I got in my car and prayed.
“I’ve been dealing with death all morning . . . Shouldn’t you just be happy there?”
Of course, he was right.
I struggle to always and actually keep in step with the Spirit moment by moment. To submit and give up everything truly is radical and terrifying. However, when I think deeply about it, walking in my own wisdom, contrary to the Spirit’s leading, is even more frightful. Though I struggle, I know that ultimately I want nothing more than to live in total surrender and abandonment to the Spirit every moment I have left on this earth.
— Francis Chan
In this performancism, we eventually figure out that being the star of our own show actually makes life a tragedy. When life is all about us — what we can do, how we perform — our world becomes small and smothering; we shrink. To have everything riding on ourselves leads to despair, not deliverance.
— Tullian Tchividjian
I’m confused by these kinds of statements:
“Follow your heart.”
“Believe in yourself.”
“Love who you are.”
“You’ll never know unless you try.”
“Whatever happens, happens.”
And a plethora of other wise-sounding jingles that appeal to the starry-eyed hipster in all of us.
But I wonder if we have ever thought through these statements. What is the logical end result of following them? Have we actually contemplated the origin of such therapeutic self-serving feel-good nonsense? When have they ever worked out? Not when your day got flipped upside-down by death or disaster or worse.
I don’t mean to kill your buzz. But I hate to see mindless blogs of fuzzy cliches that parade themselves as wisdom. Often they’re just excuses to be selfish, as if following your heart to leave your spouse and kids is some kind of acceptable option.
We accept this line of secular thought because it feeds our self-worship project, which allows a religion of lawlessness that creates a devout follower to no real devotion. “Follow your heart” — to everywhere and nowhere. The relativist dream of anarchy.
If you are a follower of Christ, please meditate carefully on the wisdom you’re endorsing because much of the “world’s wisdom” is a lie. If it gives you freedom to go right back into imprisonment, that’s not only selfish: it’s plain dumb.
Hello! Your posts are a blessing. I see that you come from an area of knowledge in the psychology area as well spirituality . I have been struggling with anxiety attacks for the past two years. Do you have any advice coming from a perspective of a Christian as well? I have been doing C.B therapy but it really is not helping a lot. I used to be very depressed because it made me feel helpless, but Christ has been my refuge and HE has been my joy. The anxiety has been much harder to work out though
Thank you for your kind words! I’m not sure I’m too knowledgeable about psychology but it does interest me a lot.
I’ve also suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. There was a suicide attempt in 2004 and I have cut myself before. CB therapy (Cognitive Behavioral) can be good for pointing out certain patterns and schemas, but may not be as helpful for treatment as you already know.
Both therapy and the church can be really bad at handling depression. Some people stuff it with drugs and others will say it’s “all in your head, get over it.” Those who do not go through depression have no idea how debilitating it really is.
There’s probably no formula/advice/plan I could give that’s 100% effective, but I can try to help from experience. I’m also assuming that you already highly value prayer, reading the Bible, relying on the Holy Spirit, and attending church. Medicine is also totally appropriate. That’s all the air warfare; here’s the ground war.
1) Be as honest as possible. Without being a victim about it, let people know what’s going on. Tell somebody. I made the mistake of hiding it too often. Not that you want to announce it with trumpets, but even one or two close friends or your pastor should know when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. Some people will definitely be uncomfortable and ungracious, but then those people aren’t the ones who get you anyway.
Continue reading “Question: The Ground War Against Depression and Anxiety”
Moralism beats this drum: If I improve, then I’ll be accepted — by God, by others, even by myself. But the gospel says something radically different. The gospel announces that everyone ‘in Christ’ is already accepted by God because of Jesus’s work for them. Therefore, no improvement, good behavior, or performance is necessary in order to experience the deep acceptance we long for and in fact strive for on a daily basis.
— Tullian Tchividjian
It’s romantic to believe that the guy who calls and texts first, saves ‘I love you’ for you, covers you with his coat, cooks your favorite meal even if he’s allergic to it, and a flurry of other Hollywood montage moments will really fulfill you. Before we die, we want to visit Paris at night during Christmas and parasail over the Atlantic and sip wine on a hot air balloon — but you don’t really mean that.
What are you really saying? You want these things if the dude isn’t creepy, if the poor beggars in Paris do not intrude on your comfort, and as long as you don’t have to prepare a thing. A cute guy who texts you first is cute, but you change your philosophy when the dude is too nice or too short or has no jawline. Children are cute until you have to raise one — and kids are screwed up because we push our distorted view of idealism on them in place of real gritty sacrifice.
What you’re really saying is you demand a photoshopped dream, like the impossible make-up model on the cover of Maxim, to attain the highest degree of complacency at the least amount of effort for the easiest life possible. Your blog proves it.
We reveal our selfish hearts with a conditional wishlist that reads more like a bad movie script. Can you step back for a moment and examine what you really mean? And why you have these idealistic fantasies? And what your motives are? We buy into bizarre paradigms of romance and leisure and life without thinking to the bottom of them. You’ll find quickly that self-serving is not even good enough to serve yourself.
The wasted life wastes no time wasting it. The destined life invests time and makes it. You can cheat yourself to death simply by choosing the current convenient option. A life of non-committed fantasy is just a walking grave.
Because of Christ’s finished work,Christians already possess the approval, the love, the security, the freedom, the meaning, the purpose, the protection, the new beginning, the cleansing, the forgiveness, the righteousness, and the rescue we intensely long for and, in fact, look for in a thousand things smaller than Jesus every day — things transient, things incapable of delivering the goods.The gospel is the only thing big enough to satisfy our deepest, eternal longings — both now and forever.
— Tullian Tchividjian
Click picture or link below for the audio.
A four minute sermon illustration about how a saturation with the Word of God creates a second nature reflex of godliness.
This is about my pastor and mentor Reverend Paul Kim, who I became so close with that I eventually began to think like him and act like him. In the same way, intimacy with Jesus and the Word creates a Christ-likeness as a natural reflex in cooperation with the Spirit.
For the sermon podcast, click here.
Pastors like to talk about investing in someone who has potential for ministry because they would one day be a valuable commodity for God. We spend hours figuring out how to mentor, apprentice, train, and arm — but all this sort of language makes me a little sick to my stomach.
To treat churchgoers as spare parts is no better than mechanical objectification, as if we are all actors in a play or a porno. People are not products and the church is not a business. They are first and foremost your friends. To view your people as a project destroys all intimacy and robs them of joy — and I see it happen all the time.
Continue reading “Investing Options”
The sweetest thing in all my life has been longing to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.
— C.S. Lewis
The reason I hate the kind of group described above [for accountability] is that their focus is primarily (almost exclusively, in my experience) on our sin, and not on our Savior. Because of this, these groups breed self-righteousness, guilt, and the almost irresistible temptation to pretend — to be less than honest. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in accountability groups where there has been little to no attention given to the gospel whatsoever. There’s no reminder of what Christ has done for our sin — cleansing us from its guilt and power — and the resources that are already ours by virtue of our union with him. These groups produce a “do more, try harder” moralism that robs us of the joy and freedom Jesus paid dearly to secure for us. They start with the narcissistic presupposition that Christianity is all about cleaning up and getting better — it’s all about personal improvement. But that’s not Christianity!
— Tullian Tchividjian
We live in a world that values others based on what they have accomplished in life, how intelligent they are or what their social status is. But for the Christian, this is not where a person receives their value. The value and dignity of each human life, male and female, is based on the biblical doctrine that each person is made in the image of God. Our value is not in our intellectual abilities, social status, the number of children we produce, the number of degrees we obtain or the size of our bank account. Our value is first found in Christ Jesus, whose image we bear. It is not a matter of degree; it is categorical.
— William M. Struthers
When a man makes a promise, he is honor bound to keep it because his word is who he is. The degree to which a man keeps his word is the measure of his integrity and honor. When the masculine voice affirms, it says, ‘It is good.’ It doesn’t say, ‘It is okay now, but it might not be later.’
— William M. Struthers