Why not? James gives us three good reasons:
The bottom line—
(see Luke 6:31 and James 2:8)
“The university has traditionally been a unified place (Latin unum) where faculty and students gather in order to discover truth (Latin veritas). A generation ago, college was expected to be a place of freedom, particularly for expression of and engagement with different—even disagreeable—ideas. Sadly, recent events and numerous statistical surveys reveal that such days may be over. Today, many on university campuses expect to be protected or shielded from speech and ideas that could be deemed offensive, even if the free speech rights of others—as well as the pursuit of truth—are sacrificed in the process.
“The current climate, in which people are forcibly prevented from sharing ideas, has arisen because the Culture of Confusion has mistaken autonomy for freedom. In a post-truth culture, where preferences and opinions are elevated over facts and truth, anything that challenges our preferences, even if a challenge is laced with facts, is deemed offensive and oppressive. The Western contemporary concept of freedom is all about the ability to do, feel, and say whatever one wants, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. But this isn’t freedom—it’s autonomy (which literally means being a law unto one’s self). Freedom operates at its best within the confines of truth. The pursuit of autonomy is the root of the post-truth mindset that fuels the current Culture of Confusion. If each of our personal preferences is celebrated without truth as our guide, if we are all ‘laws unto ourselves,’ confusion is inevitable in at least three important ways.
“First, the culture seems to have lost its ability to reason—to think and act clearly and wisely. When feelings are vaunted over facts in the quest for autonomy, reason dies in the process. If the facts get in the way of unrestrained autonomy, then the facts will have to be ignored and any opposition will be silenced.
“Second, the Culture of Confusion has lost its moral accountability. If it’s true that ‘man is the measure of all things,’ as Protagoras proclaimed centuries ago, then we make the rules, not God. If there is no God to help us, then we have to help ourselves. There are atheists who claim that the ‘better angels of our nature’ will result in us reaching a rough agreement about moral values. But history has shown us that it’s only a short leap from secular humanism to self-worship and supreme authority. Moral clarity shows us the objective truth beyond our preferences. And we have to mold our desires and preferences to the truth’s boundaries. Because we don’t want to conform, moral clarity has become the vice of the day, and moral confusion the virtue.
“Third, in striving to go from bearing the Imago Dei (with accountability to God) to Deus Homo (with accountability to no one), we have lost what it means to be human and to value other human beings. When we become the measure of all things, then we determine which humans are valuable and which ones are not, meaning our sense of objective human value is lost in the process.
“There is a fundamental difference between limitless individual autonomy and true freedom. The Bible opposes the former and champions the latter (James 1:25; 2:12). The book of Judges demonstrates this well. Each time the people’s thirst for autonomy landed them in trouble, God sent a judge—a person who took his authority from God—to guide the people. But they rejected God’s authority time and again in favor of their personal sovereignty until the resultant chaos became too much. When we jettison truth as our guide, we will end up with autonomy and then chaos, but not freedom. Each one of us, individually in our hearts, needs to search for the source of freedom—truth.” —Abdu Murray, Saving Truth
“Jesus was well-known for His many good works, which were primarily works of restoration. The good works of Jesus restored a measure of the good order God intended when He created the world and all things, and point forward to a day of complete renewal, of heaven and earth and all things. People, who are the image-bearers of God, were not meant to be deaf or blind, bent or beset by demons, riven with diseases, or at one another’s throats. Indeed, they were not even meant to die. …
“Good works were an essential component of Jesus’ plan for restoring the goodness of creation, and He promised His followers that they would do many more good works than He had done, as they seek His Kingdom and live in the power of His Spirit (John 14:12). …
“And Jesus told His followers to tune up a similar harmony of words and works in their own lives, to follow Him as His witnesses, living and speaking the truth in love. For it is in such harmony, consistently sung into the world by every follower of Christ, that the Kingdom of God and His goodness advances on earth as it is in heaven.” —T.M. Moore
Joy Hawthorne is a 16-year-old living with her parents in a radically Islamic Middle East country. Live Dead Life is her personal journal that she is sharing with other students in the same setting, but I find her words compelling, challenging, and encouraging for readers of all ages! Check out my full book review of Live Dead Life by clicking here.
“I step outside my door and follow Jesus where He leads. I seek to keep my feet on the path with Jesus, knowing a great adventure awaits.”
“To go through my day for Jesus, I need to spend time with Him. I can only give for Jesus what I received from Him. That is why I need time with Him daily.”
“I discovered that it’s easier to walk with Jesus all day when I think of Him as a friend I live with and not a duty I spend time with.”
“It takes a lot of practice to intentionally involve Jesus in all part of my day, and I often forget, but I keep trying. And maybe that’s what Jesus wants—not perfection in a moment but persistence over time.”
“To reflect the image of God to the world, I have to know what He looks like and sounds like, right? I can’t do that without spending time with Him, and so it’s through my abiding time that I see Jesus and know Him and hear His voice. As I spend time with Him, I get a picture of Him to reflect to others. Jesus in me naturally flows out of me. Abiding affects everything and everyone around me.”
“I didn’t pick this place, but I can decide how I am going to live here.”
“All I have to do is look around. I might not be perfect, but I can follow Jesus and be there for others. I can be their first Christian friend. I can live with them. I can share my heart and the Gospel with them. All I have to do is say, ‘Yes.’ Yes to whatever Jesus has for me and wherever He wants to take me, whether I feel ready or not.”
“As God gives me life, He doesn’t give it so I can keep it for myself. God gives it so I can give it back. This is my chance to express the love that He shows to me, back to Him. I have one life to spend, and one death to give, so what happens when I stop trying to steal the gift He has given and instead offer it back? What happens when I let go of my plan and follow His, no matter how inconvenient? Choosing to live dead points me in that direction, to constantly turn things over to Jesus.”
“Jesus is too good to keep to myself. He’s worth telling the whole world. He’s worth sharing with my unreached neighbors.”
“When I cry out to Jesus, God delights to give an answer, and the answer is Himself—His heart in us. Then when I cry out for more, the answer is again Himself! When I cry for a broken world, hurt people, evil things, a deep wound, or gaping holes in hearts, God delights to be the answer to my prayers. He is the answer. I was never meant to be the answer to a lost, broken world. I am just meant to be in the place God calls me to be, to be able to tell the lost that He hears, that He hasn’t forgotten, that He knows.”
More quotes from this amazing book are coming soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I would highly encourage all Christians to download a free copy of Joy Hawthorne’s book (the download link is in my book review).
God’s design for sex is truly the most beautiful thing that exists between two people. Its counterfeit is called pornography. Porn is simulated, imitated, and purchased; but no price tag can ever buy true beauty.
God demonstrates the purest love in Himself, when one part of the Godhead is the Lover and the other parts of the Godhead are the Beloved. The Lover is constantly discovering the beauty in the Beloved, and then praising that beauty. The Beloved then reciprocates back to the Lover. It’s a love dance!
Humans are created in God’s image. We are first created to be God’s beloved. Then we are designed to be both lover and beloved in the bonds of marriage. True beauty—real, lasting beauty that pleases God—is discovered. It’s something that starts inside and radiates outside. A true lover takes the time to discover who the beloved truly is.
To see this in action, just look at some of the compliments between husband and wife in the Song of Songs—How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! … How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! … Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. … My lover is mine and I am his. … All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
True love that sees this kind of beauty cannot be imitated, purchased or simulated. If someone attempts to, it’s called pornography.
The dictionary gives this definition of pornography: sexually explicit materials whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal. In other words, porn tries to imitate and simulate true beauty at a purchase price.
Jesus identified this sell-out of true love with the Greek word porneia (see Mark 7:14-23). This word means any sexual involvement outside the marriage between a husband and wife. Porneia comes from words that fill out its definition: things like prostitution, idolatry, and slavery.
Your body was not made for porneia but for God (1 Corinthians 6:13). You were made in His image: to be His Beloved, and He your Lover, and then to have a marriage relationship with another image-bearer of God, where you are both lover and beloved, and where you focus on true beauty.
Anything else is imitated, purchased, and simulated. It’s pornography. It’s idolatry.
Christians are told to fight many temptations, but there are only two that we are told not to fight, but to flee: pornography (1 Corinthians 6:18) and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14). So our prayer for the purity and enjoyment of God’s true beauty should be: Turn my eyes away from worthless things (Psalm 119:37).
Don’t sell out to the fake beauty in pornography. Discover true beauty exclusively in your spouse!
We’ll be looking at more relationship builders and killers, and I’d love to have you along for this journey of discovery.
“Humble people view other people as God’s marvelous image-bearers, windows to God’s glory, not as mirrors that enhance or diminish their own self-image. But this also means they aren’t absorbed by how others view them. …
“Humble people are unusually unaffected by this pressure to conform. They can be hard to categorize because they often don’t fit neatly into any cultural mold. They tend to eschew using trendy fashions or interests or social media as means of personal branding. They have preferences about those things, but they hold those preferences as ways of enjoying God’s manifold goodness rather than image-enhancers. …
“One of the things that can surprise us about truly humble people, which can sometimes be mistaken for pride, is that they can be quite offensive. Humble people, being without guile, say it like it is. And saying it like it is can sting, and even sound condemning. … But there is a qualitative difference between the offensiveness of the proud and the offensiveness of the humble. The proud offend to exalt or defend themselves and control or manipulate others. The humble offend in order to advance the truth for the glory of God and ultimate good of others. Humble offensiveness may not be popular, but it’s always loving.” —Jon Bloom
Some good reading from today…
“The reason God made man in His image was that he might appreciate God and admire and adore and worship; so that God might not be a picture, so to speak, hanging in a gallery with nobody looking at Him. He might not be a flower that no one could smell; He might not be a star that no one could see. God made somebody to smell that flower, the lily of the valley. He wanted someone to see that glorious image. He wanted someone to see the star, so He made us and in making us He made us to worship Him.” —A.W. Tozer
“Of course Heaven is leisure (‘there remaineth a rest for the people of God’): but I picture it pretty vigorous too as our best leisure really is. Man was created ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ Whether that is best pictured as being in love, or like being one of an orchestra who are playing a great work with perfect success, or like surf bathing, or like endlessly exploring a wonderful country or endlessly reading a glorious story—who knows? Dante says Heaven ‘grew drunken with its universal laughter.’” —C.S. Lewis
Frank Viola shares 7 Reasons Why Christians Abandon The Faith.
Tim Dilena encourages pastors to preach and teach with Profound Common Sense.
More evidence that the Obama administration is covering up the tragedy in Benghazi.
“The Father loves you! It is at this point of understanding that multitudes of believers fail God. They are willing to be convicted of sin and failure, over and over again, but they will not allow the Holy Spirit to flood them with the love of the Father.” —David Wilkerson
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
The Holy Spirit In Me
When I receive the Holy Spirit He lifts my personality back into its primal relationship with God. Holy Spirit coming into my spirit never becomes my spirit; He energizes my spirit and enables me “to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
… When the Holy Spirit begins to unearth the works of the flesh in you, don’t temporize it, don’t whitewash them; don’t call suspicion “discernment of the spirit,” or ill-temper “righteous indignation”; bring it to the light, come face to face with it, confess it and get cleansed away.
From Conformed To His Image
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would help form the righteousness of Christ in us, but we have to obediently respond to what the Spirit is convicting us of.
Probably like you, I am more apt to make excuses or rationalize why what I’m doing is okay (even though the Holy Spirit is convicting me otherwise). It becomes a battle that won’t end well for me! The better course of action is to listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, repent of my fleshly behavior as He reveals it to me, and receive more of the life in Christ in me.
What do you think?
Create by Stephen Altrogge is a quick motivating read to help you: (1) realize that God created you to be creative, (2) remove the excuses for not exercising your creativity, and (3) encourage you to get something started! You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes I highlighted in Create.
“Everyone was created to create. It’s hardwired into us by our Maker. … We are created in the image of God we all have an irresistible impulse to create and to establish order. When a painter brings forth beauty from the chaos of his paint palette, he is reflecting the image of God. When an accountant massages an unruly mass of data into an intelligent sales report, she is reflecting the image of God. When a writer assembles letters into words and words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into pages and pages into a book, he is reflecting the image of God. When a wife tastefully decorates her house with paint colors and throw pillows, she is reflecting the image of God. When a chef mixes flower and sugar and eggs to create a cake, she is reflecting the image of God.”
“If we’re constantly dependent on the approval of other people we’ll always be afraid of failure. If we’re constantly needing the affirmation and praise of those around us then we’ll never take any creative risks. … Our identity is not rooted in what we create it’s rooted in Christ. Our identity is wrapped up in the One who created us, not the things that we create. Our acceptance doesn’t come from our friends or coworkers or fellow artists, it comes from Christ.”
“Be at peace with being lousy for a while. Chesterton once said that anything worth doing was worth doing badly. He was right. Only an insufferable egoist expects to be brilliant first time out.” —Douglas Wilson
“Trying to be perfect all the time takes the fun out of creativity.”
“When you start a creative project don’t look at the end, look at the next step in front of you.”
“A journey of a thousand miles is begun with a step. Beware of despising small beginnings. Some men never arrive at usefulness because they are not satisfied to begin in a small way, and proceed by a step at a time.” —Charles Spurgeon
“Most creative works are the result of faithful effort, not massive creative outbursts.”
“I believe in plodding. Productivity is more a matter of diligent, long-distance hiking than it is one-hundred-yard dashing. Doing a little bit now is far better than hoping to do a lot on the morrow. So redeem the fifteen minute spaces.” —Douglas Wilson
“Being a successful creator requires making a habit out of creativity. The most consistently creative people are the ones who have made creativity a habit. They sit down at their desk every single day and do the work. They may not work for long periods of time, but they do work consistently. They don’t wait for the creative muse to descend upon them. They sit down, grab the muse by the ear, and start putting words on paper or numbers in a spreadsheet or paint on a canvas. The muse does not descend upon those who wait. The creative muse descends upon those who grab hold of it, put it in a headlock, and force it into submission.”
“If our creative work truly is for the honor of God, we should be willing to see it through to the end. … If we give up easily on a project that we believe will honor the Lord, we’re not being faithful. We’re being lazy, and we’re actually being selfish. We’re not allowing others to benefit from the creative gifts that God has given us.”
“If we’re truly seeking to glorify God through creativity, then we should be open to all manner of advice, suggestions, and even criticisms. God created us to be dependent on other people, and this is true in the creative field as well. … If we don’t pursue feedback there’s a pretty good chance that our creative work isn’t going to be very good.”
“Psalm 24:1 says, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein….’ God created the world. Everything in the world belongs to Him and everything in the world is infused with His creativity. The world is literally busting at the seams with the creativity of God. There are ideas lurking around every corner! Creativity is everywhere. We just need to be on the lookout for it.”