Who’s in the library?

In one of my college classes a visiting speaker mentioned that Karl Marx was in a library when he developed the ideas that became the basis of communism and socialism.  Marx’s ideas have led to deadly consequences.

He went on to ask the question, “Who is in the library now?”

Who is reading, studying, thinking, wrestling, doing the hard work necessary to create a culture-shaping movement?

I want to be part of a generation of Christians willing to “be in the library.”  I want to love God with my whole being, including my mind.  I want to think about how the Gospel speaks to our culture.  I want to be prepared to offer a defense of my faith.  I want to think about how the church should impact or even create culture.

What would be the results if this generation of Christians was as committed to King Jesus as Marx and his followers were to communism?

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No Pockets

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
when the splendor of his house increases;
for he will take nothing with him when he dies,
his splendor will not descend with him.
Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—
and men praise you when you prosper—
he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life.
A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

(Psalm 49:16–20, NIV84)

This is Black Friday, a day that many celebrate by demonstrating unmitigated greed.  The verses quoted above remind us that material possessions will not last beyond this life.  “He will take nothing with him when he dies.”

The early Christians had an expression, “There’s no pockets on a shroud.”  A shroud was a linen burial cloth, and that saying reminded them that you can’t take your stuff with you after death.

An updated version of that statement could be, “You never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”

Reformation Day

500 years ago today an Augustinian monk nailed a document to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.  That action ignited what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation, and the date came to be referred to as Reformation Day.  One of my favorite quotes from Luther is:

“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it?  For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf.  His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
(Martin Luther)

A Covenant with My Eyes

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
(Job 31:1, ESV)

I have made a solemn promise never to look with lust at a woman.
(Job 31:1, GNB)

In the 18th-century John Gill, in his Exposition on the Scriptures, wrote about this verse:  “(Job made a covenant)…. Not to look upon a woman, and wantonly gaze at her beauty, lest his heart should be drawn thereby to lust after her; for the eyes are inlets to many sins …. both in bad men and good men …. Job …. entered into a solemn engagement  …. made a resolution in the strength of divine grace, not to employ his eyes in looking on objects that might ensnare his heart, and lead him to …. sin; he made use of all ways and means, and took every precaution to guard against it …. to …. turn his eyes from beholding what might be alluring and enticing to him …. he made a covenant with his eyes, to prevent any impure thoughts, desires, and inclinations in him; for the eye affects the heart, and stirs up lust in it …. the thought of sin is sin (as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-30 and 15:19) and (Job) had the same notion of lust in the heart being fornication and adultery as he (Jesus) had …. good men are not without temptation to sin …. and therefore should carefully shun all appearances of evil …. and take every necessary precaution to guard against it.

Job’s commitment to moral purity is an example worthy of being followed (by both men and women). However, in the twenty-first century, the Internet offers us unprecedented access to material that can arouse lust.  I firmly believe in the roles of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God,  and prayer in resisting temptation, but I also agree with Gill that we should take every precaution to guard against sin.  An important precaution that I use in my own life to guard against Internet temptations is Covenant Eyes, an Internet accountability and filtering service.  I encourage you to check out this program.  If you are interested in signing up you can receive a free 30-day trial at  https://covenanteyes.com/signup/?promocode=DY7.  You can learn more at the Covenant Eyes homepage or my Internet Safety page.

God Desires Holiness

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:
that you should avoid sexual immorality;
that each of you should learn to control his own body
in a way that is holy and honorable,
not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;
and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother
or take advantage of him.
The Lord will punish men for all such sins,
as we have already told you and warned you.
For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

(1 Thessalonians 4:3–7, NIV84)