Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5)
Think on this:
J. Oswald Sanders has given us a short but powerfully effective book for developing more Christlikeness in each and every Christian. Check out my full book review by clicking here.
“In a word, spiritual maturity is Christlikeness.”
“Christ set the standard in everything. He was never petulant, always calm; never rebellious, always obedient; never fearful, always courageous; never vacillating, always resolute; never pessimistic, always cheerful; never subtle, always sincere; never grasping, always generous; never acting from expediency, always from principle. He is the pattern of spiritual maturity.”
“So then our spiritual maturity or immaturity is seen in the manner in which we react to the changing circumstances of life. … It has to be learned. Is it not striking that it is recorded of Christ that ‘though He were a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation’ (Hebrews 5:8-9)? He alone was fully mature. The rest of us are ‘going on to maturity.’ In all of us there are some expressions of our personality in which we react immaturely instead of as mature men of God.”
“The highest manifestation of spiritual maturity is love. We are only as mature as we are mature in love.”
“God forbid that we should ever cease to love the gospel in its simplicity, but we must not be content to stay there. We must go on to appreciate increasingly the gospel in its profundity.”
“There is a place for a constructive contending for the faith. The church has degenerated sadly since Pentecostal days and the servant of the Lord has an important part to play in its revival.”
“It is possible to get to heaven without living a consecrated life, but the journey there will be barren and disappointing, since consecration is the doorway to undreamed-of joy. Neglect it, fail to seek it, and life will be greatly impoverished. Welcome it, and life becomes inexpressibly enriched.”
“When we dedicate our lives to God, He consecrate us to His service. We dedicate our lives to Him that He may work His will in us. He consecrates us to Himself that He might make us holy.”
“It has been suggested that in consecration we bring our lives to God as a blank sheet of paper with our names signed at the bottom. Confident of His love, we invite Him to fill in the details as He will.”
“It is a life separated to the glory of God. Inherent in the word ‘consecration’ is the idea of separateness. There must of necessity be separation from sin if there is to be separation to God. … The consecrated Christian hates evil, but he has a passion for the right and for the glory of God and Christ. He tests all his actions by the one standard, ‘Is this for the glory of God?’ He will do anything, suffer anything, if only God is glorified. Nothing is too costly to give to the Master.”
“Friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.” —Thomas Jefferson
“Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” —Aristotle
“Friendship is not a way of accomplishing something but a way of being with another in which we become more authentically ourselves.” —Eugene Peterson
“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” —Emerson
“If the first law of friendship is that it has to be cultivated, the second law is to be indulgent when the first has been neglected.” —Voltaire
“Friendship is agreement with kindliness and affection about things human and divine.” —Cicero
“The light of friendship is seen plainest when all around is dark.” —Grace Noll Crowell
“For spiritual friendship, which is what we mean by true friendship, should be desired not with a view to any worldly good, nor for any reason extrinsic to itself, but from the worthiness of its own nature, and the feeling of the human heart, so that it offers no advantage or reward other than itself. … For in this true friendship one makes progress by bettering oneself, and one bears fruit by experiencing the enjoyment of this increasing degree of perfection. And so spiritual friendship is born among good people through the similarity of their characters, goals, and habits in life.” —Aelred of Rievaulx
“The quickest way to initiate friendship is to give people freedom to be themselves.” —Andy Braner
In Greek, the word for “walks” (peripatēo) means something that regulates my life, or something that keeps me on the right path. It’s my lifestyle that is kept in proper boundaries by something outside of me.
First of all, notice how Paul tells Christians how not to walk. DON’T WALK THIS WAY…
…following pop culture (2:2)—Living a certain lifestyle because “everyone” is doing it, or because some popular people are living that way.
…without thinking about why you’re walking the way you are (4:17)
…without comparing your walk to truth (5:8)—Living a life because it feels good to me is a dangerous way to live. I must make sure there is an objective truth that is keeping me on a proper path.
…foolishly (5:15)—To be foolish is either (a) not knowing the truth, (b) not applying the truth I have been shown, or (c) choosing to disregard the truth I’ve been given.
Instead, Paul tells Christians to WALK THIS WAY…
…knowing I am God’s workmanship, created for a great purpose (2:10)—It may take me some time to discover my purpose and my talents, but I keep at it.
…worthy of my vocation (4:1)—Once I have discovered my talents, I develop them into strengths that will benefit others.
…lovingly (5:2)—Just as Jesus did!
…in the light of God’s truth (5:8)—This is the exact opposite of foolishly walking. It means I seek the truth and I apply the truth to my life.
…circumspectly (5:15)—Not wasting my moments, but making sure I am giving 100 percent every single day.
When I WALK THIS WAY people will inevitably notice that I’m motivated not by popularity with people, but by intimacy with God (5:2-7). They will see that my path is bordered by the principles in God’s Word (5:8-14; Psalm 119:105). And they will notice that my life has purpose and is productive (5:15-20).
All Christians should ask themselves:
If you can answer “yes” to those questions, then Jesus will be pleased that you WALK THIS WAY!
[You can check out the Scriptures I referenced in this post by clicking on DON’T WALK THIS WAY and WALK THIS WAY above.]
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.
Standing Pure Against The Onslaught Of Lust
God does not give a man a new body when he is saved: his body is the same, but he is given a new disposition. God alters the mainspring; He puts love in the place of lust. What is lust? The impatience of desire—I must have it at once. Love can wait seven years; lust cannot wait two seconds. …
A disciple has to be free from the degradation of lust, and the marvel of the Redemption is that Jesus Christ can free him from it. …
You have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell [Matthew 5:27-30].
What does that mean? It means absolute unflinching sternness in dealing with the right things in yourself that are not the best. “The good is the enemy of the best” in every man, not the bad, but the good that is not good enough. Your right hand is not a bad thing, it is one of the best things you have, but Jesus says if it offends you in developing your spiritual life, and it hinders you in following His precepts, cut it off and cast it from you. Jesus Christ spoke rugged truth, He was never ambiguous, and He says it is better to be maimed and damned, better to enter into life lame in man’s sight and lovely in God’s than to be lovely in man’s sight and lame in God’s. …
In the beginning of the Holy Spirit will check us in doing a great many things that may be perfectly right for everyone else but not right for us. No one can decide for another what is to be cut off, and we have no right to use our present limitations to criticize others. Jesus says we must be prepared to be limited fools in the sight of others, in order to further our spiritual character. If we are unwilling to give up the wrong things only for Jesus, never let us talk about being in love with Him.
From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount
God’s love is stronger than flesh’s lust. The real question is—Are you willing to obey the Holy Spirit Who tells you what things need to be gouged out or cut out of your life in order to defeat lust?
Don’t make excuses. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t delay in obeying. Lust can—and must!—be defeated in the life of a Christian. How true that it is “better to enter into life lame in man’s sight and lovely in God’s than to be lovely in man’s sight and lame in God’s”!
Alongside my daily Bible study time in the Gospels of the New Testament, I have been reading J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts On The Gospels. You can check out my review of this book by clicking here.
These are a few of the quotes I especially appreciated from Ryle’s comments on the Gospel of Mark.
“We should always read the Old Testament with the desire to find something in it about Jesus Christ.” [cf John 5:39]
“It will always be found that when prayers are few, grace, strength, peace, and hope are small. We shall do well to watch our habits of prayer with a holy watchfulness. Here is the pulse of our Christianity. Here is the true test of our state before God. Here true religion begins in the soul, when it does begin. Here it decays and goes backward, when a man backslides from God. Let us walk in the steps of our blessed Master in this respect as well as in every other. Like Him, let us be diligent in our private devotion. Let us know what it is to ‘depart into solitary places and pray.’”
“What extravagant importance is attached to trifles by those who are mere formalists in religion!”
“Christ’s service does not exempt His servants from storms.”
“The assaults of persecution from without have never done half so much harm to the church as the rise of false doctrines within. False prophets and false teachers within the camp have done far more mischief in Christendom than all the bloody persecutions of the emperors of Rome. The sword of the foe has never done such damage to the cause of truth as the tongue and the pen.”
“Incredible is the bondage in which men live to the opinion of the world! Let us all pray daily for faith and courage to confess Christ before men. … In spite of laughter, mockery, and hard words, let us boldly avow that we serve Christ.”
“It is a dreadful fact, whether we like to allow it or not, that pride is one of the commonest sins which beset human nature. We are all born Pharisees. We all naturally think far better of ourselves than we ought. We all naturally imagine that we deserve something better than we have. It is an old sin. It began in the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve thought they had not got everything that their merits deserved. It is a subtle sin. It rules and rains in many a heart without being detected, and can even wear the garb of humility. It is a most soul-ruining sin. It prevents repentance, keeps men back from Christ, checks brotherly love, and nips in the bud spiritual desires. Let us watch against it, and be on our guard. Of all garments, none is so graceful, none wears so well, and none is so rare as true humility.”
“It is not so much the having money, as the trusting in it, which ruins the soul. Let us pray for contentment with such things as we have.”
“Above all, let all who desire to walk in Christ’s steps labor to be useful to others. … Let them never forget that true greatness does not consist in being an admiral, or a general, a statesman, or an artist. It consists in devoting ourselves, body, and soul, and spirit to the blessed work of making our fellow man more holy and more happy. … Let us strive to leave the world better, holier, happier than it was when we were born.”
“The dark ages of Christendom were times when the Bible was kept back from the people. The Protestant Reformation was mainly effected by translating and circulating the Bible. The churches which are most flourishing at this day are churches which honor the Bible. The nations which enjoy the most moral light are nations in which the Bible is most known. … The godliest families are Bible-reading families. The holiest men and women are Bible-reading people.”
“Let us remember that for our sakes Jesus voluntarily endured the most painful, horrible, and disgraceful death. Surely the thought of this love should constrain us daily to live not unto ourselves but unto Christ.”
You can read the quotes I shared from Ryle’s thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew by clicking here.
“My sense of self-worth is fed by the fact that my spouse loves me. … We reason, If someone loves me, I must have significance. …
“I am significant. Life has meaning. There is a higher purpose. I want to believe it, but I may not feel significant until someone expresses love to me. When my spouse lovingly invests time, energy, and effort in me, I believe that I am significant. Without love, I may spend a lifetime in search of significance, self-worth, and security.
“When I experience love, it influences all of those needs positively. I am now freed to develop my potential. I am more secure in my self-worth and can now turn my efforts outward instead of being obsessed with my own needs. True love always liberates. …
“Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us.” —Dr. Gary Chapman
Dr. Les Parrott dives into the loving life of Jesus and takes us with him to discover the five was Jesus loved. Check out my full book review by clicking here, and then enjoy some of the quotes I especially liked.
“The great hindrance to true enjoyment is our willingness to settle for pitiful pleasures.”
“What keeps us from being mindful? I can answer this question with one word: agendas. … Every one of us has the capacity to set aside our self-interest, temporarily. We have the ability at any time to press the pause button on what we want. … That’s the moment we become mindful.”
“Loving like Jesus is not efficient. It takes time away from our own agenda-driven pace.”
“Jesus was shockingly accessible to anyone who felt undesirable or unwanted—lepers, Gentiles, tax collectors, the poor and persecuted, pagans and sinners. He wasn’t like other ‘holy men’ in Judea. His fellow rabbis operated on the principles of exclusion and isolation.”
“If you want to love like Jesus, you can’t limit your love to people who deserve it.”
“God is happy to give unconditional acceptance and unmerited grace to all who will receive it.”
“We can’t give grace to others when we are aren’t receiving it ourselves. When we’re busy earning acceptance from God, we start to think everyone else should earn it too. Judgmentalism creeps in. Self-righteousness appears. … When we aren’t cognizant of God’s unconditional acceptance in our own lives, we can’t give it to others.”
“If you want to love like Jesus, you can’t shy away from what you know is right and true. You can’t remain silent just to go unnoticed. Loving like Jesus is not for the chickenhearted. It requires a fierce commitment to being authentic. It requires a bold commitment to being a truth-teller. … No one accused Jesus of being a pushover—or winsome.”
“Self-giving is selfishness in reverse. It is not concerned with benefits, and it expects nothing in return. … It comes down to motive. You can be a giver and still expect something in return. … True self-giving is offering the best of who you are to others, and it comes with no strings attached.”
“The long and short of it is that we love like Jesus when we allow Jesus to love through us. It’s not about our effort. We are not trying to imitate Jesus. It’s an inside job. It’s about being a channel for His love.”
“Loving like Jesus isn’t achieved as much as it is received.”
“The word intuition comes from the Latin word intueri, which is roughly translated as meaning ‘to contemplate.’ You see, our intuition stems from what we are considering, what we are sensitive to or attuned to do. … So, if you want to hear from God, you’ve got to slow down enough to clear your head and be attuned to His Spirit. That’s when the sacred gift of God’s whisper is heard—when you become accustomed to His voice.”
I’ll be sharing more quotes from Love Like That soon, so stay tuned! Update—new quotes are posted here.