So what do you say, Christian? Maybe there is no flagrant sin in your life but you are simply living in a cruise-control mode of obedience. Have you lost the commitment and intensity in your love of God? Are you seeking to obey God’s Word with all of your heart, soul, and mind? Or have you instead settled into a comfortable routine, in which there are no blatant sins but neither is there an all-out effort to love and obey God in every area of life? 

A good challenge from Jerry Bridges in his book, The Disciplines of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness:

So what is new? What did I learn from my study of Matthew 22:37 and Deuteronomy 6:5 that I didn’t know before? What I saw was the intensity and wholeheartedness with which I should obey God. If we are to love God with all our heart and soul and mind, and if obedience is a major part of such love, then it follows that we are to obey Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. We are to put everything we have into obedience to Him.

My observation is that most of us who are believers practice what I call a “cruise-control” approach to obedience. Many cars today have a convenient feature called cruise control. When you are driving on the highway you can accelerate to your desired speed, push the cruise-control button, and take your foot from the accelerator pedal…It’s very convenient and relatively relaxing. It’s a great feature on cars.

However, we tend to obey God in the same way To continue the driving analogy, we press the accelerator pedal of obedience until we have brought our behavior up to a certain level or “speed.” The level of obedience is most often determined by the behavior standard of other Christians around us. We don’t want to lag behind them because we want to be as spiritual as they are. At the same time, we’re not eager to forge ahead of them because we wouldn’t want to be different. We want to just comfortably blend in with the level of obedience of those around us.

Once we have arrived at this comfortable level of obedience, we push the “cruise-control” button in our hearts, ease back, and relax. Our particular Christian culture then takes over and keeps us going at the accepted level of conduct. We don’t have to watch the speed-limit signs in God’s Word, and we certainly don’t have to experience the fatigue that comes with seeking to obey Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. This then is what I call “cruise-control” obedience, and I fear it is descriptive of many of us much, if not all, of the time.

So what do you say, Christian? Maybe there is no flagrant sin in your life but you are simply living in a cruise-control mode of obedience. Have you lost the commitment and intensity in your love of God? Are you seeking to obey God’s Word with all of your heart, soul, and mind? Or have you instead settled into a comfortable routine, in which there are no blatant sins but neither is there an all-out effort to love and obey God in every area of life?

John Calvin On The Christian Life

I just read this and had to share it. It resonates deeply with my soul. After quoting Romans 12:1-2, Calvin writes:

This is a marvelous thing – we are consecrated and dedicated to God to the end that we might not think, speak, meditate, or act unless it be to His glory. The sacred can’t be put to profane use without injustice to God. If we are not our own but the Lord’s, it’s clear what errors we must flee, and what we must direct our whole lives toward. We are not our own; therefore, neither our reason nor our will should dominate our plans and actions. We are not our own; therefore, let us not make the gratification of our flesh our end. We are not our own; therefore, let us forget ourselves and our own interests. Rather, we are God’s. Therefore, let us live and die to Him. We are God’s. Therefore, let His wisdom and His will govern all our actions. We are God’s. Therefore, let us – in every way in all our lives – run to Him as our only proper end. How far has he progressed who’s been taught that he is not his own – who’s taken rule and dominion away from his own reason and entrusted them to God. For the plague of submitting to our own rule leads us straight to ruin, but the surest way to safety is neither to know nor to want anything on our own, but simply to follow the leading of the Lord. – John Calvin, A Little Book On The Christian Life, pages 22-23.

Admittedly, some days my progress in the Christian life is little more than staggering, limping, and crawling but I press on and praise Him for any and all success!Let us all who name the name of the risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fix our eyes on the goal of being wholly and solely committed to God’s glory. May it be our sole pursuit!

Preach the Word

Recent Sermons Preached at First Baptist Church of Newberry, Michigan:

February 17, 2013:

Genesis 17:1 – “El Shaddai and Holiness”

The Big Idea: Be Living the Sanctified Life in Light of God’s Revelation Concerning Himself and His Promises

February 24, 2013:

Proverbs 2:1-6 – “Expository Listening: How to Get the Most Out of a Sermon” PART 2*

The Big Idea: Preaching is joint venture. My commitment to the Lord is to be prepared every week to stand and deliver His Word. Your commitment to the Lord should be to be prepared every week to receive His Word. My goal is to be the best preacher possible. Your goal should be to be the best listener possible.

*Unfortunately, due to a blunder on my part, the part one of this series was not recorded!

March 3, 2013:

Proverbs 2:1-6 – “Expository Listening: How to Get the Most Out of a Sermon” Part 3

The Big Idea: Preaching is joint venture. My commitment to the Lord is to be prepared every week to stand and deliver His Word. Your commitment to the Lord should be to be prepared every week to receive His Word. My goal is to be the best preacher possible. Your goal should be to be the best listener possible.

True Saving Faith – More Than Fire Insurance

True saving faith is not simply a matter of believing in Christ because you are afraid of going to hell; faith is not simply a matter of avoiding punishment where you do not have any desire to love and enjoy Christ. Rather, true saving faith means that you come to a deep, heartfelt conviction of how precious Christ is, and ‘account all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Philippians 3:8). You come to see Christ as all your salvation and happiness (Colossians 3:1).

True saving faith also means that you love every part of Christ’s salvation – holiness as well as forgiveness of sins. It means that you earnestly desire God to ‘create in you a clean heart and a right spirit’ as well as ‘hide his face from your sins’ (Psalm 51:9-10). Do not be like those who care nothing about Christ at all, except to be delivered from hell. ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.’ (Matthew 5:6)

– Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, p. 51

(HT:  Trinity Church Blog)