Here are a few of my favorite Desiring God blog posts from the past few month. For your convenience, I’ve placed them into categories. Instead of describing or summarizing them, I’ve included my favorite (or almost favorite, independent enough to stand alone when excerpted) quotes from each.
“The One Must-Read This Year”: “The truth of God, rising continually through the roots of faith planted in God’s word, is the way God keeps Christians alive and enables them to bear the faith-authenticating fruit of love, so that they will not be castaways in the last day. . . . let me hold out to you seven reasons to read and meditate on the Bible every day next year.”
“I Read the Bible and I Feel Nothing — What Should I Do?”: “If the heart is not feeling anything, you say to your heart: Heart, wake up! And you take hold of the heart and you apply. You push it. You place it in the knowledge. You push on it. . . . When you are preaching to your heart and you are saying to your heart: Come on, heart, wake up. Come on, heart, look at this. Come on heart, feel this. This is beautiful. Wake up, heart. Instinctively you are praying. And you are not just talking to your heart — though you are talking to your heart, because that is what the text says to do. Apply your heart. But you are also praying: God, God, help me. God, open my eyes.”
“The Greatest Thing You Could Do Today”: “A mentor of mine lives in India. Last year, he called me on the phone crying, distraught over the state of the church in America. “It seems like the people in America would be content to take a selfie with Moses. Don’t they know they can go up the mountain themselves? Why don’t they want to go up the mountain?” . . . We have to look at the facts. American Christians consume more sermons and books than any other group in the history of the world, but consider the state of the church. Has the increase in resources led to greater holiness? Greater intimacy with Jesus?”
Human Sexuality and Sexual Sin
“A Safe Place for Sexual Sinners”: An interview with author Rosaria Butterfield; two minutes totaling just over 11 minutes. A great perspective on how the church ought to play a role in those struggling with sin, sexual sin in particular. A quote: “The ideal church is a church where everybody is repenting publicly of something. The ideal church is where people are saying, ‘I struggle with this, and I don’t want it to define me, but I need you to cover my back in prayer. I struggle. I fail. I have been a Christian, and I want to struggle in the Lord.’ That is the ideal church.”
“Why Sexual Metaphors of Jesus and His Bride Embarrass Us”: “Jesus said that in the age to come there will be no marriage or giving in marriage (Luke 20:35). Now that may seem like a colossal disappointment for those of us who have enjoyed the pleasures of the marriage bed. But what if someone said: In the future I am going to take away your wedding ring, and all you are going to have is heightened ecstasies that it stood for. Would you be disappointed? Well, a little bit, but not very long. Not very long. No, you wouldn’t.”
“Advice for Students Who Are Porn Addicts”: I live with students and work with students. For the next one and a half years (and please, then, let me be done!) I am a student. This 4-minute video is a great resource for counseling yourself or students that you know who regularly succumb to the temptation of pornography.
“You Can’t Serve God and Entertainment”: “If I’m honest, I’ve had an unbridled love for frivolous entertainment — over the years I’ve used it primarily as a means of escape. Entertainment was used to distract me from the guilt of sin, friction in relationships, or anxiety about work. It became what daily prayer and Bible reading should have been — a safe haven to retreat for rest and comfort.”
“Awaiting the Fullness of Joy in Service”: Got this one from my friend Kim. Quote: “The joy is real, and tangible, and celebratory, and can be felt in force in the best moments, but it is not all here yet. Much of the time, we are still in the labor part, the child of promise is not born. We are living in just a portion of the joy, and awaiting the fullness to come. Someday, I want to stand before Jesus and be able to honestly say, ‘I did it, with your help. Even though it was with shaky faith and much struggling, I poured myself out in serving those who are most forgotten and in need, just like you told me to.'”
“Letter to a Perplexed Eleven-Year-Old”: John Piper writes the most tender letter to an eleven-year-old who asked him a question. The tenderness is a beautiful extension of Piper’s unshakeable confidence in the sovereignty of God. Quote: “After I preached in South Carolina recently, your father came up to me and handed me a note with his email address and your name on it. He asked me to write to you. He was very serious and said you had a serious question. The question was something like this: If God promises to meet all our needs, why are we hungry?”
“Imagine Your Way to Joy”: “Imagination may appear to be a distraction from the pursuit of truth, or worse, a misleading trail away from it. Fidelity to reason alone, unpolluted by creations of the imagination, may appear a much safer stewardship of our cognitive capabilities. However, dismissing the imagination from the Christian life will neither save us from sin nor help us grow in righteousness. In fact, all hope of putting off the old man and putting on the new rests in a God-given, Christ-purchased, Spirit-empowered redemption of the imagination. What does “the new man” look like? We are given many details, but without the imagination, application is impossible.”
(The pictures above are from Desiring God.)