Archive for January, 2007

The 20s and 30s

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

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Some of the most exhilarating and stimulating relationships I enjoy are with men and women in their 20s and 30s.

They are passionate. They haven’t been jaded by all the reasons why something “can’t be done” or why dreams have to be detached from reality. Many exhibit a wonderful holy discontent with forms of religiosity that have little to do with Jesus and kingdom realities. They crave authenticity and to be listened to and believed in. In my sphere of relationships, I find these men and women hungry to grow and remarkably responsive for anyone who genuinely engages in their lives.

What they don’t need is the dismissive patronization of existing institutional leaders and those committed to the things as they are in the church world. Consistent with the changing postmodern cultural ethos in which they have been nurtured, few younger leaders are concerned about “truth” as an abstract concept. Rather they are drawn to truth lived out with authenticity and integrity. It’s orthopraxy that trumps orthodoxy or should I say, demonstrates it.

What I find sad, at times, is the reactions of my over-50 peers. Rather than “being there” for the emerging generation, too often they resort to being critics. Alan Roxburgh in The Sky is Falling describes it this way:

“In one’s twenties and thirties, change is a like a drug—it energizes and excites because the world is there for the remaking. It’s not difficult to navigate change—our baggage is light, so we can pick up and move on quickly. All of life lies ahead of them and they can’t wait to get there.

But is it that simple? A majority of young leaders I’ve encountered feel adrift with a sense that they have few, if any, mentors who have gone ahead and can guide them along a safe path. This creates its own kind of anxieties, because so many of their experiments fail, resulting in all kinds of personal and relational uncertainties.

Lots of Emergent leaders are trying their experiments without the wisdom and maturity of others who have been down the same path and who understand the implications of what they are doing and who have the skills needed. Experimentation and not being prejudiced by the past can be wonderfully serendipitous values in the abstract, but in the hard reality of working with real people in real organizations, the results can be that they are like ships without earth anchors or compasses.”

The Naiveté of “Church Direct” Mission Efforts

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

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“If the short-term movement has been a trend toward ‘amateurism’ in missions then congregational-direct mission efforts are often even worse….

Most local church people, even members of brand new congregations, have no idea how a congregation does or should start, or even how it is to function – in their own society, let alone in a cross-cultural situation….

It is, in fact, highly unlikely that local congregations will have the resources of previous experience or historical or missiological perspective to work strategically or even effectively in a cross-cultural situation. Most congregations are unable to deal effectively with ethnic minorities on their doorstep. Why would they expect to be able to deal intelligently with those same kinds of strange people at a distance?

If what Paul understood to be needed in his outreach to the Greeks had been easily explainable to the Jewish followers of Christ back in Jerusalem, we would not have needed the detailed information in the New Testament. Rarely, down through history, has the exact nature of the need on the field been readily explainable to the people within the sending cultural situation.”

—Missiologist Ralph Winter

** Painting is Rembrandt’s famous “the Apostle Paul,” circa 1657.

Success?

Friday, January 26th, 2007

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At the Edgewater Hotel in Chicago in 1923, nine of the most successful businessmen in the United States gathered for a meeting. If these nine had combined their resources and assets, they would have controlled more money than the U.S. Treasury. In the meeting were:

1 – The head of the largest monopoly in the nation.
2 – The most successful speculator on Wall Street.
3 – The president of the largest independent steel company.
4 – The president of the largest utility company.
5 – The president of the largest gas company.
6 – The greatest wheat speculator in the United States.
7 – The president of the New York Stock Exchange.
8 – The president of the Bank of International Settlements.
9 – A member of the President’s cabinet.

Twenty-five years later … Where were these men?

1 – Ivan Krueger, head of the greatest monopoly, died a suicide.
2 – Jesse Livermore, the most successful speculator on Wall Street, died a suicide.
3 – Charles Schwab, president of the largest independent steel company, died in bankruptcy and lived on borrowed money for five years before his death.
4 – Samuel Insull, the president of the greatest utility company, died a fugitive from the law and penniless in a foreign land.
5 – Howard Hopson, the president of the largest gas company, went insane.
6 – Arthur Cotton, the greatest wheat speculator, died abroad, bankrupt.
7 – Richard Whitney, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, was released from Sing Sing Penitentiary.
8 – Leon Fraser, the president of the Bank of International Settlements, died a suicide.
9 – Albert Fall, the member of the President’s cabinet, was pardoned so that he could die at home.

Sobering.

“Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.Matthew 6:20-21

New Missional Leaders

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

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One of the exhilarating privileges I have several times yearly is to meet and interact with people joining CRM staff in our New Staff Orientation.

This week, it has been with the group above. They are headed to incredible ministry venues such as Scotland, Cambodia, Russia, and Italy. One person is on their way to life among Muslims in South Asia. One couple has just come from New Zealand. Another person is of Chinese descent and another spent many of her growing up years in Indonesia.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” —Isaiah 52:7

The “Finished” Life

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

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In considering Jesus, A.E. Whiteham writes in The Discipline and Culture of the Spiritual LIfe:

“Here in this Man is adequate purpose …inward rest, that gives an air of leisure to His crowded life. Above all there is in this Man a secret and a power of dealing with the waste-products of life, the waste of pain, disappointment, enmity, death …making a short life of about thirty years, abruptly cut off, to be a ‘finished’ life. We cannot admire the poise and beauty of this human life, and then ignore the things that made it.”

“THE DISCIPLINE & CULTURE OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE: A MEMORIAL VOLUME.” (A E. Whitham)

*Painting is Rembrandt’s famous head of Christ.

Collectives vs. Communities

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

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Our friend, Evan Howard, a present-day monastic whose Spirituality Shoppe is an evangelical center for the study of Christian spirituality in the mountains of Colorado, writes in his latest newsletter:

“The difference between a collective and a community is care. Collectives gather together, do the same things, perhaps wear similar clothes. Communities give themselves for each other.

In communities people matter to each other. In community we are an issue for each other. At times this can indeed be a cause of suffering. But our Three-personed God designed this dynamic to be a means of the relief of suffering. A community wherein the other matters is basic to what it means to be human and it reflects the very character of God. No wonder we long for community!

An so you say to me, ‘I just can’t seem to find community.’ I ask you, ‘For whom do you care?’ You ask me, ‘How do I start real community?’ I say to you, ‘Start caring for someone.’”

Funding in Other Cultures

Friday, January 19th, 2007

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There are two mantras I see consistently all over the world when encouraging those in other cultures toward raising financial support to sustain themselves in ministry.

1. “But brother, you do not understand. Ours is a poor country. We do not have the resources for such giving.”

OR
2. “But brother, you do not understand. The church and Christians in our country don’t know how to give. Giving is not part of the ethos in our churches or among our people. Asking for such financial help is something foreign and unusual in our context.”

Let’s take them one at a time.

1. Being in personal financial or physical need is never an excuse in the bible for people not giving. Rather, what we actually see is giving being encouraged even in extreme poverty (Luke 21:4, II Corinthians 8:2).

Let’s be theoretical for a moment. Consider that if a person commits to living on lifestyle of the culture around them, it would take just ten others giving 10% of their resources for one to be supported. That’s all. Or it would take 20 giving units at 5% to support one. What this means is there is virtually no excuse for the vast majority of environments around the world for people to give and people to be sustained in ministry provided those being sustained are doing so at the same standard of living as those around them.

Where this construct breaks down is when such people being supported leave their own culture and move into another culture, country or nation. Then costs and the amount needed to live, travel and minister has the potential to skyrocket. In such a scenario, there is a greater need for creative and alternative means of funding particularly if they go to cultures more affluent then their own.

2. It is true that a “culture of generosity” does not automatically exist wherever the Christian movement has gone. Furthermore, an ethos that gives generously toward the extension of the gospel into other cultures and lands is even less the norm. Consequently, it can be an uphill slug to generate financial support via giving in such settings.

However, while it may take longer, it may be part of God’s good plan for the people in that setting to be moved toward a more biblical, engaged use of their resources. In other words, the actual process of educating people about their giving responsibilities serves a prophetic function. It becomes a ministry—by those apostolically gifted individuals who are raising the money—to the
Church at large. It helps to move the followers of Jesus in that context toward a more biblical, generous, and responsible world-view regarding the use of their resources, not matter how meager their resources may be.

An organization that does a good job around the world addressing these two issues is International Steward.

Tentmaking is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

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A concept that comes into vogue on and off in the world of cross-cultural ministry is tentmaking.

Derived from the biblical example of the Apostle Paul who made tents to make ends meet, the concept of tentmaking generates appeal as an alternative and/or complimentary means of funding people in cross-cultural ministry. Unfortunately, it is too often made out to be something it is not.

1. The biblical example is not the ideal. Paul does this because of the immaturity of the Corinthian church. He is clear that he has the right to expect their financial support but forgoes the right in order not to burden them in their embryonic, developmental stage. Tentmaking is the default posture. Not the norm.

2. The limitations on tentmakers are usually substantial and rarely do those attempting it have a realistic understanding of what they are getting into. Imagine what it’s like to carry on a 8-5 vocation or profession, and then add all of the stress and adjustments of cross-cultural living on top of that. What’s really left for any effective ministry? The fact is, the primary and often only ministry context tentmakers can reasonably expect will be their jobs.

Too often the expectation is that they will be free to serve alongside vocational missionaries or expressions of the church in national settings. That is usually a fantasy.

3. Unfortunately, some of those I’ve seen gravitate toward tentmaking are independent individuals who don’t want to be accountable to others and want to go it alone. I’ve also seen people use tentmaking as an excuse to not raise support, want to insure a consistent pay check, and not have to depend directly on God or donors for their livelihood.

4. I’ve repeatedly heard the mantra that tentmaking is the means of placing missionaries in closed or restricted access nations. That’s simply not true. There is no such thing as a closed country on the face of the planet. Only creative access countries. There is a distinct difference in a tentmaker who is committed to a profession and wants to use it for ministry purposes and a person called into vocational ministry using a profession as a creative means of access in difficult contexts.

Does tentmaking have a place in God’s overall missional purposes around the world? Of course. But there needs to be some honesty and realism about what it can accomplish. There are some wonderful people who have made such cross-cultural jumps and who serve, in word and deed, as the presence of Jesus through their jobs in difficult cross-cultural contexts. But tentmaking is not the panacea that some make it out to be.

Living on Support

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

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Regarding funding through “support,”, ie, gifts given by other to support those in vocational ministry, Alan Hirsch writes in The Shaping of Things to Come;

...mission support is the support sytem of the future. Sutainability and organic growth are at stake.” (pg. 213)

Patty and I have lived on such support for the past 30 years. Recently I wrote about this to CRM staff around the world:
“There have certainly been ups and downs ‘…times of plenty and times of want.’ (Phil 4:11-12). While we have never failed to see God’s faithfulness in meeting our needs, there have been seasons when financial fatigue has set in.”

So is this the only way for those in vocational ministry to be financially sustained? Of course not. There are a variety of factors and combinations that have to be taken into consideration. And there are many ways to creatively provide sustainable funding, regardless of the context. CRM Enterprise is one such a way where business is used directly to subsidize ministry. However, we cannot dismiss out of hand biblical examples and injunctions—such as I Corinthians 9:13—about the right that those who minister have to benefit tangibly from the results of their labor.

Unfortunately, there are those who grow weary of living in such a posture. In my experience, most of the time, they have not worked hard at this. They have refused or failed to see it as an integral and essential aspect of apostolic ministry. And when the financial woes mount, some head for the door looking for whatever can relieve the pressure. Some go to tentmaking. Some seek fees for services. Others justify their posture by blaming changing cultural demographics or the unwillingness of the church in their context to give. The excuses are legion.

An organization that I have found very helpful in getting one’s arms around this whole subject has been the Bodybuilders. They do a good job debunking all the excuses and all the irrational and sometimes emotional thinking that surrounds the topic of support raising for ministry.

There are four books that I would recommend—also recommended in the Bodybuilders most recent newsletter:


“Friend Raising: Building a Missionary Support Team That Lasts” (Betty J. Barnett)

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“People Raising Kit” (William P. Dillon)

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Funding Your Ministry: Whether You’re Gifted or Not” (Scott Morton)

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“Getting Sent: A Relational Approach to Support Raising” (Pete Sommer)

Funding from “Behind” For Apostolic Ministry

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

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Missiologist Ralph Winter writes in his editorial in the most recent issue of Mission Frontiers magazine:

“Many jobs are ‘funded from behind.’ That is, some foundation, some tax base, or some set of donors is willing to pay you to deal with an urgent problem or provide a service to someone else (who does not pay).Mission agencies fall into this category. Much of what they do blesses people who can’t pay for the products or services they receive.

Could everything that needs to be done in this world be done with a business approach? Almost. But many highly strategic needs require funding ‘from behind.’ You can’t make “a business” out of rescuing child prostitutes in Thailand, or by setting up medical clinics in the midst of extreme poverty around the world.”


Besides the clear biblical precedents in seeing “support” generated through gifts, Winter’s comments highlight the simple, practical aspect of why “funding from behind” is one of the preeminent means God uses to fund His work. There are many reasons, including a plethora of misconceptions, why people won’t or don’t want to do this:
    1) It requires a position of dependence. The term “faith missions” is not a misnomer.
    2) Independent, self-relient, westerners are not all that good at such a posture. I have lost count of the successful business people whom I have met who long to be missionaries or in vocational ministry, but will only do it if they are independently wealthy and not having to depend on anyone else for money.
    3) It is perceived as “begging.”
    4) It is associated with living in poverty and going through life being needy.
    5) It is hard work.More about this tomorrow.

Drucker on Education

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

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“Our education system disqualifies people for honest work.

“When a subject becomes totally obsolete, we make it a required course.”

“The schoolmaster since time immemorial has believed that the ass is an organ of learning. The longer you sit, the more you learn.”

“Harvard, to me, combines the worst of German academic arrogance with bad American theological seminary habits.”

Money, Sex and Parenting

Monday, January 8th, 2007

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In my experience, there are three tender topics that unless they are broached, a discipling, coaching or mentoring relationship will rarely move beyond the superficial.

Money: What people do with their money is usually a hot-to-handle issue. It touches on lifestyles, possessions, and deep-seated values. It often crosses an artificial cultural boundary that says “My checkbook is my private business.”

Sex: I remember the evening that a man, my age and now a good friend, leveled with me and said “I’m not interested in a friendship unless we get to the point that I can candidly discuss issues related to sex.” Despite the social openness that prevails in western society about this topic, personal, honest and transparent discussions about sexuality are rare. Sexuality touches us at our core.

Parenting: Few topics are as sensitive to bring up than how someone parents their kids. I’ve found very few moms or dads open to conversations about this when it gets up close and personal. It’s fine to discuss in the abstract. But it is risky to tell someone that their little Johnny or Susie is an out-of-control hellion. Momma bears protect their cubs and human beings are no different.

Rachmaninoff and the Imago Dei

Monday, January 8th, 2007

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Patty and I had the pleasure of enjoying, as a gift, an evening at Disney Hall to hear the LA Philharmonic perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 It was a wonderful experience in an amazing musical venue.

“Prodigy” would be too mild a word to describe the conductor, 25 year-old Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel. And guest piano virtuoso, the renowned Yefim Bronfman, was remarkable. It was special treat for us to see such giftedness and incredible musical ability firsthand.

As I marveled at the musical and architectural artistry, it seemed that everything around me was silently shouting out powerful affirmation of the Imago Dei. Such human creativity and genius, whether acknowledged or not, has no other source nor any other reasonable explanation apart from the Imago Dei.

Worst-Case Scenarios

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Titanic With Lifeboats

One of the better gifts I recently received was a book entitled The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook for Travel. It provides practical solutions to those sticky situations that most of us fantasize, fear or perhaps dream we may encounter such as:

How to:

Control a runaway camel
Stop a runaway passenger train
Stop a car with no brakes
Stop a runaway horse
Crash-land a plane on water
Survive a riot
Foil a scam artist
Survive a mugging
Tail a thief
Lose someone who is following you
Jump from rooftop to rooftop
Jump from a moving train
Escape from a car hanging over the edge of a cliff
Escape when tied up
Ram a barricade
Escape from the trunk of a car
Survive a fall onto subway tracks
Survive in a plummeting elevator
Survive when lost in the jungle
Climb out of a well
Navigate a minefield
Survive a riptide
Survive when you fall through ice
Survive a trip over a waterfall
Survive a volcanic eruption
Survive a high-rise hotel fire
Find water on a deserted island
Build a shelter in the snow
Survive a tsunami
Survive a sandstorm
Catch fish without a rod
Deal with a tarantula
Treat a scorpion sting
Cross a piranha-infested river
Treat a severed limb
Remove a leech

It greatly increases my confidence knowing I now have all the answers to those dilemmas that Indiana Jones, James Bond and Laura Croft have tackled with ease and inspiration.

I’m also sure it makes those folks who tromp around the world with me feel much more secure.


“Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel” (Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht)

Plan – Intentional Time With God

Friday, January 5th, 2007

Plan

I may have the rhythm right and I may have a place to go. But once there, what do I do? What’s the plan? This is where some of the spiritual disciplines can be most helpful. Silence, contemplation, listening prayer, intercession and visualization have all, at one time or another, played important parts in my “plan.”

While the bible and being immersed into scripture is certainly a central feature of such communion with Jesus, how that is carried out can vary widely, again depending upon my needs, my temperament, and what God wants to communicate. There are numerous forms of reading, studying, meditating, memorizing and hearing God’s word that may be applicable. I find the guiding principle to be: What brings life? Through what means is the presence of Jesus mediated in a way that I can hear his voice with clarity and surety?

I’ve found Bobby Clinton’s “Levels of Word Gifts” to be liberating when it comes to use of the bible in focused time with God. This paradigm has helped me understand how I am uniquely wired and has given me permission and even freedom to use the bible in ways that feed and nourish my soul rather than enslave me to the methods of others.

All sorts of tools can be part of my “plan”: poetry, hymnody, Lectio Divina, CDs, journaling, the Examen or other Ignatian spiritual exercises or their derivatives, etc …to name a few.

Regardless, for me it has always been crucial to remember that tools are only tools. They are never an end in and of themselves. If something doesn’t work, it should be jettisoned. What I am pursuing is God and there is no one thing in all creation that can begin to give me a corner on the totality of that relationship.

The older I get, the more I realize that God is remarkably accommodating, far beyond my imagination or comprehension. He longs to relate with me so much that he will go to great extremes to overcome the frailties of my humanity. Consider what he has done throughout redemptive history and the huge variety of means he has employed to reveal himself …angels, a pillar of fire, a temple, an ass, an audible voice from heaven, etc …

In my experience, if I can just move in his direction, he will go to great lengths to invade my space. And he does it with incredible kindness.

I need to:

Understand my pace
Find a place
Establish a plan

Place – Intentional Time With God

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

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It has always helped me to have a place or places where I regularly meet with God. These are private sanctuaries that are venues of welcome for God and me. I know when I go there, it signifies to the Lord that I crave it to be holy ground where he and I can converse. It is where we enjoy union and communion.

It may be a room, a chair, or a special spot in nature. It could be a park bench or an easily accessible spot on a trail. It could be a quiet corner of patio or next to a window in a flat. Wherever it may be, it is quiet, private, and all mine. I have freedom there to pray, to sing, to lift my hands in worship or to prostrate myself before the presence of the Holy.

During my student days, there was a particular seat in the musty, little used university chapel that was my regular place to commune with Jesus. That spot almost had a magnetic quality to it. It drew me because I longed for what it represented and for the One whom I knew would find me there.

Pace – Intentional Time With God

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

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In a recent conversation with a CRM staff person, we delved into the issue of what intentional time with God is all about. As I reflected on the discussion, and on my own experience over the years, I realized there were three factors that have always played into how my relationship with Jesus is pursued when it means specific, concentrated time with him. I realized there are usually three basic components, the first of which is:

Pace – This concerns the rhythm of the relationship. How often do we meet? What’s the cycles and sense of continuity to my times with God? What’s the pace?

I am convinced there is tremendous diversity and no one approach fits all. This is all influenced by life stage, temperament and even vocation.

Many of us have grown up with idealization that such intentional time is a must every day. But that may not be the rhythm that suits me best. For some—such as those in monastic communities—3-5 times a day for prayers and meditation is the norm. For others, three set-aside times with God a week may be what is sustainable and sustaining. A mother with young children may be in a totally different place where emotional and spiritual survival is at stake and how God feeds her soul may be completely different in such a season.

Like all liturgical practice, regularity can bring confidence and surety. It is like the regular exercise of a muscle. However, structure can be deadening and can suck the life right out of the most passionate pursuit of God. While discipline is certainly admirable regardless of the pace, structure without grace can be the death of real spiritual vitality.

Tomorrow’s post will deal with the 2nd factor: Place.

John Piper on Lust

Monday, January 1st, 2007

 ~Talarico Arthleg Lust

“I have in mind men and women. For men it’s obvious. The need for warfare against the bombardment of visual temptation to fixate on sexual images is urgent. For women it is less obvious, but just as great if we broaden the scope of temptation to food or figure or relational fantasies. When I say “lust” I mean the realm of thought, imagination, and desire that leads to sexual misconduct. So here is one set of strategies in the war against wrong desires. I put it in the form of an acronym,:

A N T H E M

A – AVOID as much as is possible and reasonable the sights and situations that arouse unfitting desire. I say “possible and reasonable” because some exposure to temptation is inevitable. And I say “unfitting desire” because not all desires for sex, food, and family are bad. We know when they are unfitting and unhelpful and on their way to becoming enslaving. We know our weaknesses and what triggers them. “Avoiding” is a Biblical strategy. “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness”
(2 Timothy 2:22).
“Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:14).

N – Say NO to every lustful thought within five seconds. And say it with the authority of Jesus Christ. “In the name of Jesus, NO!” You don’t have much more than five seconds. Give it more unopposed time than that, and it will lodge itself with such force as to be almost immovable. Say it out loud if you dare. Be tough and warlike. As John Owen said, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Strike fast and strike hard. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” ( James 4:7).

T – TURN the mind forcefully toward Christ as a superior satisfaction. Saying “no” will not suffice. You must move from defense to offense. Fight fire with fire. Attack the promises of sin with the promises of Christ. The Bible calls lusts “deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22). They lie. They promise more than they can deliver. The Bible calls them “passions of your former ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14). Only fools yield. “All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter” (Proverbs 7:22). Deceit is defeated by truth. Ignorance is defeated by knowledge. It must be glorious truth and beautiful knowledge. This is why I wrote Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. We must stock our minds with the superior promises and pleasures of Jesus. Then we must turn to them immediately after saying, “NO!”

H – HOLD the promise and the pleasure of Christ firmly in your mind until it pushes the other images out. “Fix your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1). Here is where many fail. They give in too soon. They say, “I tried to push it out, and it didn’t work.” I ask, “How long did you try?” How hard did you exert your mind? The mind is a muscle. You can flex it with vehemence. Take the kingdom violently (Matthew 11:12). Be brutal. Hold the promise of Christ before your eyes. Hold it. Hold it! Don’t let it go! Keep holding it! How long? As long as it takes. Fight! For Christ’s sake, fight till you win! If an electric garage door were about to crush your child you would hold it up with all our might and holler for help, and hold it and hold it and hold it and hold it.

E – ENJOY a superior satisfaction. Cultivate the capacities for pleasure in Christ. One reason lust reigns in so many is that Christ has so little appeal. We default to deceit because we have little delight in Christ. Don’t say, “That’s just not me.” What steps have you taken to waken affection for Jesus? Have you fought for joy? Don’t be fatalistic. You were created to treasure Christ with all your heart – more than you treasure sex or sugar. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph. Plead with God for the satisfaction you don’t have: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). Then look, look, look at the most magnificent Person in the universe until you see him the way he is.

M – MOVE into a useful activity away from idleness and other vulnerable behaviors. Lust grows fast in the garden of leisure. Find a good work to do, and do it with all your might. “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (Romans 12:11). “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Abound in work. Get up and do something. Sweep a room. Hammer a nail. Write a letter. Fix a faucet. And do it for Jesus’ sake. You were made to manage and create. Christ died to make you “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). Displace deceitful lusts with a passion for good
deeds.”

John Piper
www.desiringGOD.org