Thursdays With Oswald—Standing Pure Against The Onslaught Of Lust

Oswald ChambersThis 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”! 

7 Quotes From “The Philosophy Of Sin”

The Complete Works Of Oswald ChambersOswald Chambers always makes me think deeply, but The Philosophy Of Sin was a graduate-level, deep-thinking book on theology and philosophy for me! Check out my review of this book by clicking here. Below are some quotes I especially enjoyed.

“To people who are satisfied on too shallow a level the Bible is a book of impertinences, but whenever human nature is driven to the end of things, the Bible becomes the only Book and God the only Being in the world.”

“The life of nature is neither moral nor immoral; our bodies are neither moral nor immoral, we make them moral or immoral. Our Lord had a body, and we read that He hungered; it was not a sin for Him to be hungry, but it would have been a sin for Him to have eaten during the forty days in the wilderness, because His Father’s word at that time was that He should not eat. It is not a sin to have a body, to have natural appetites, it is a sin to refuse to sacrifice them at the word of God.”

“Lust simply means, ‘I must have this at once’; it may be a bodily appetite or a spiritual possession. The principal lust works on is, ‘I must have it at once, I cannot wait for God’s time, God is too indifferent,’ that is the way lust works.”

“If all Jesus Christ can do is to run a parallel counteraction with what satan can do, His right name is ‘Culture,’ not ‘Savior’; but His revealed nature was stated by the angel to Mary, and repeated over and over again, ‘Thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.’ The slight views of salvation, the sympathetic drifty views that all Jesus Christ can do is to put in us a principle that counteracts another principle, will cause anyone who is got to the last limit to blaspheme God for a thing like that. It all comes from a flimsy, wrong view of sin. If that is all He can do, what is the good of calling Him Savior? … It is sin that He came to cope with; He did not come to cope with the poor little mistakes of men, they cope with their own mistakes; He came to give them a totally new stock of heredity, that is, He came to implant into them His own nature, so that satan’s power in the soul is absolutely destroyed, not counteracted.”

“This aspect of the death of Jesus takes us into a spiritual domain beyond the threshold of the thinking of the majority of us. The cry of the Cross, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ is unfathomable to us. The only ones—and I want to say this very deliberately—the only ones who come near the threshold of understanding the cry of Jesus are not the martyrs, they knew that God had not forsaken them, His presence was so wonderful; not the lonely missionaries who are killed or forsaken, they experience exultant joy, for God is with them when men forsake them: the only ones who come near the threshold of understanding the experience of God-forsakenness are men like Cain—‘My punishment is greater than I can bear’; men like Esau, ‘…an exceedingly bitter cry’; men like Judas. Jesus Christ knew and tasted to a fuller depth than any man could ever taste what it is to be separated from God by sin.”

“How Jesus Christ does cleanse our conscience! It is freedom not only from sin and the damage sin has done, but emancipation from the impairing left by sin, from all the distortions left in mind and imagination.”

“The conscience formed in us by the Holy Spirit makes us amazingly sensitive to the things that tell against the honor of God.”

I’ll be sharing other quotes from this book in the near future, and I also share an extensive passage from the current Chambers’ book I am reading every Thursday. If you want to be notified when those quotes are posted, please enter your email address in the box to the right and click “Sign me up!”

I share quotes from Oswald Chambers and other inspirational authors daily on both Tumblr and Twitter.

John Piper On Defeating Lust

John Piper“Faith is not content with ‘fleeting pleasures.’ It is ravenous for joy. And the Word of God says, ‘In Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11). So faith will not be sidetracked into sin. It will not give up so easily in its quest for maximum joy.

“The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust.

“At first, lust begins to trick me into feeling that I would really miss out on some great satisfaction if I followed the path of purity. But then I take up the sword of the Spirit and begin to fight. …

“As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.” —John Piper

Bernard Of Clairvaux On Discontentment

Bernard of Clairvaux“It is natural for a man to desire what he reckons better than that which he has already, and be satisfied with nothing which lacks that special quality which he misses. Thus, if it is for her beauty that he loves his wife, he will cast longing eyes after a fairer woman. If he is clad in a rich garment, he will covet a costlier one; and no matter how rich he may be he will envy a man richer than himself. … No matter how many such things one has, he is always lusting after what he has not; never at peace, he sighs for new possessions. Discontented, he spends himself in fruitless toil, and finds only weariness in the evanescent and unreal pleasures of the world. In his greediness, he counts all that he has clutched as nothing in comparison with what is beyond his grasp, and loses all pleasure in his actual possessions by longing after what he has not, yet covets. … They wear themselves out in vain travail, without reaching their blessed consummation, because they delight in creatures, not in the Creator.” —Bernard of Clairvaux

6 Quotes About Understanding Sexual Sin

Focus On The FamilyEarlier this week I shared some quotes from a Focus On The Family (FOTF) reading plan I completed on YouVersion regarding the problems with pornography. Here are some additional quotes from a related FOTF reading plan called Understanding Sexual Sin.

“Sexual sin distorts the image of the Trinity mirrored in our marital relationships.”

“If our sex lives are meant to function as reflections of the image of God, it stands to reason that they should be shaped by the qualities of the Trinity. Three primary principles apply here.

1) We may never use another person as an object, sexual or otherwise. The members of the Trinity never relate to each other as objects or things to be used. Instead, they relate to one another in love, each seeking to serve and enhance the goodness and glory of the others.

2) We must keep sexual relations within the bounds of a loving and committed marriage. … This sexual embrace within the bond of marriage mirrors the nature of the relationship between the members of the Trinity as nothing else in creation can. Ideally, the marital bond is designed to be loving, permanent, exclusive, and self-giving.

3) We must respect and honor the God-designed differences between male and female. Male and female are not simply cultural constructs. They are God-created characteristics of humanity. Together, they personify the Trinitarian nature of God in a fundamental way…. The differences between male and female provide the fullest picture of the image of God in creation.”

“Biblically speaking, sexual immorality (Greek porneia) is any sexual activity that takes place outside of marriage. This includes adultery, premarital sex, and extramarital sex. Scripture teaches that both are off-limits for Christians (see 1 Corinthians 6:9; Acts 15:29; Hebrews 13:4).”

“It’s a mistake to confuse normal sexual attraction with lust. Sexual attraction is natural. … True lust involves a choice and an act of the will. To a certain extent it’s a conscious decision to pursue the desirable object instead of simply allowing it to pass by. It’s a willingness to give in to the natural impulse.”

“Pornography represents a departure from God’s design for sex in that it depersonalizes real people, strips them of their dignity, and turns them into sexual objects.”

“It is never wise to give more weight to feelings than to rational conclusions and clear biblical teachings. Feelings don’t make you who you are. Beliefs, values, and conscious commitments do.”

5 Quotes To Protect Your Marriage From Pornography

Focus On The FamilyI recently finished reading a Focus On The Family reading plan on YouVersion called Infidelity: Protecting Your Marriage From Pornography. This is one part of a multi-part reading plan on healthy sexuality. I encourage you to check out all of these plans.

Here are some of the quotes I appreciated from this reading plan.

“Porn is powerful primarily because it offers a counterfeit form of intimacy and attachment—a replacement for the one-flesh bond between man and woman that God designed to function as the glue that holds the marriage relationship together (Genesis 2:24).”

“Mental health professionals report that the road to recovery is likely to be much longer and far more complicated for an individual engaged in an ongoing interpersonal cyber-affair than it is for a porn addict. That’s because ‘relationship’ at any level implies a degree of emotional entanglement. When the heart gets drawn into that web, the potential for pathology is inevitably raised.”

“Many porn addicts are sexually anorexic when it comes to normal marital relations. That’s because, through habit and practice, their sexual impulses have been alienated from their natural context—i.e., a healthy, committed personal relationship—and re-oriented around impersonal objects or illicit lusts or fetishes.”

“[Pornography] addiction is based on neurochemical changes that occur in the brain as a result of prolonged exposure to stimulating sexual imagery. Because of its neuro-chemical basis, it’s tenacious, progressive and destructive in nature.”

“Don’t assume that normal marital sexual relations will take the place of porn in [an addict’s] life. No living, breathing, thinking woman can possibly fill that role without doing untold damage to herself as a person. That’s because pornography addiction, in the final analysis, is not about sex. It’s a symptom of an intimacy disorder—a comprehensive psychological illness that compels an individual to avoid deep, meaningful interaction with another flesh-and-blood human being and to replace it with impersonal sensual imagery. Unless this disorder is addressed and rectified, your relationship cannot move forward on a healthy footing. Marriage will not fix the problem. It will only complicate matters and increase your pain.”

For more help, visit pureintimacy.org or Focus on the Family’s Help Center.You can also call the ministry’s Counseling Department for a free consultation at 855-771-HELP (4357).

6 Quotes On Commitment From “The Seven Laws Of Love”

The Seven Laws Of LoveIn The Seven Laws Of Love, Dave Willis gives us some highly practical, biblically-based counsel for investing in all of our relationships. Normally when I share quotes from books, I share all of them at once, but I felt like it would be good to share these quotes a bit more slowly, to give you time to read them and apply them.

The seven laws Dave identifies are:

  1. Love requires commitment
  2. Love selflessly sacrifices
  3. Love speaks truth
  4. Love conquers fear
  5. Love offers grace
  6. Love brings healing
  7. Love lives forever

Dave writes in the introduction to his book, “God wants love to flow through our lives like a mighty river. The laws of love are the invisible banks God has placed around love for our prosperity and protection. When our relationships live with in those boundaries, everyone involved is enriched. When we dismiss or disregard the boundaries, our relationships can quickly become unhealthy and unsustainable.”

From law #1, here are some quotes on commitment—

“God created love to be a transformative force in every aspect of our lives. … Before that can happen, though, there must be commitment. Without a real commitment, there can be no real love.”

“The strength of your commitment will always determine the strength of your relationship.”

“God brought His own Son through the lineage of a poor young woman named Ruth who understood the power of commitment in the meaning of love. God wants to create a generational impact through your life as well. The level at which you’ll make an eternal impact is defined by your level of commitment to the people God has placed in your life.” 

“Our commitment to others is evident in the consistency with which we serve them. Grand, one-time gestures can be nice, it’s what we do with consistency that will ultimately shape our relationships.”

“We’ve traded true intimacy for porn. We’ve traded committed marriages for commitment-free cohabitation. We’ve traded having children for having pets. We’ve traded meaningful conversations for text messages. We’ve traded ‘till death do us part’ for divorce. We’ve traded the pursuit of holiness for the pursuit of happiness. We’ve traded love for lust. We’ve attempted to exploit all the benefits and pleasures of love without investing the commitment and self-sacrifice that love requires.” 

“Your life and your relationships will be defined by the commitments you make and how well you keep them.”

Check out my review of The Seven Laws Of Love by clicking here.

Watch for more quotes from the other laws of love explained in this book throughout the next few days.

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