Quote: Externals vs. The Heart

When I was growing up, I was not allowed to go to the local pool halls. As I look back, I’m sure my parents did not want me to come under the influence of the unsavory characters who frequented those halls. So they built a fence to keep that from happening: “Don’t go into those pool halls.” The problem was I didn’t understand why, so I grew up thinking it was a sin to play pool (don’t laugh, I really did). Imagine my consternation when I moved to a Christian conference center and saw a beautiful antique pool table in the recreation room and godly men playing pool.

That is the way a lot of manmade “dos and don’ts” originate. They begin as a sincere effort to deal with real sin issues. But very often we begin to focus on the fence we’ve built instead of the sin it was designed to guard against. We fight our battles in the wrong places; we deal with externals instead of the heart.

— Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace