Young man, I urge you, “flee sexual immorality” ( 1 Cor. 6:18) if you love life. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6). Flee the occasions of it, – the company of those who draw you into it, – the places where you might be tempted to it. Read what our Lord said about it in Matthew 5:28. Be like holy Job: “Make a covenant with your eyes” (Job 31:1). Flee talking of it. It is one of the things ought not so much as to be named. You cannot handle tar and not be defiled. Flee the thoughts of it: resist them, mortify them, pray against them, – make any sacrifice rather than give way. Imagination is the hotbed where this sin is too often hatched. Guard your thoughts, and there is little fear about your deeds.
One of my good longtime friends, Ben Phillips, is my guest for this post. He recently penned this excellent piece on modesty. Ben is currently serving as the Family Ministry Team Leader at the Arkansas Baptist Convention.
Modest Choices by Ben Phillips
Gaze at the TV, view a hit music video, examine a magazine, saunter through the mall, (dare I say enter a sanctuary?) and it’s easy to observe that modesty is not the fashion trend in today’s American culture. A 2007 report by the American Psychological Association on the sexualization of girls reveals the negative consequences of this pervasive societal drift.
As a father of a teenage daughter and two sons, I’ve wrestled with this issue from a biblical perspective. One writer quotes, “modesty is more about the heart than the hemline.” In order to apprehend modesty correctly, one must inform the heart with Scripture.
As we think about the value of mothers this weekend, we cannot help but think about how far our culture is straying from the biblical description of what the standard should be for women. This includes Christian women who have never been taught modesty.
Several years ago we came across these outstanding resources from the Mahaney family. First a message from C. J. Mahaney:
The most popular post in the history of this blog is “Should a Christian Drink Alcohol?” In that post I list 21 reasons why it is wise to abstain from alcohol use. I recognize that the incident reported below is an example of alcohol abuse rather than use, but I list it as a reason to abstain because few people who abuse alcohol actually set out to abuse it. Most alcohol abusers are simply users who don’t know when to stop. I think it wise to simply avoid the risk of not knowing when to stop.
Here is reason #22 why I think it is wise to avoid alcohol consumption:
What do you need to have an effective devotional time?
A BIBLE. That is really the only necessity. I suppose if you didn’t have an actual, physical Bible with you, you could still reflect upon the Scriptures that you have memorized, but even then you are still engaging with the Bible.
The Bible is necessary because His Word is the means He has chosen to speak to us. And without utilizing the means He has chosen to speak to us, we are destined to only have a one-sided conversation: us talking to God. A dynamic relationship is one in which the conversation is two-way: both sides communicating to one another. God speaks to us in His Word and we speak to God in prayer. The two go hand-in-hand. In fact, one without the other for an extended period of time is not spiritually healthy. To pray apart from God’s Word is to eventually pray amiss. To read God’s Word without prayer is to eventually just be inputting information.
Is the Bible the only thing you should use in a devotional time?
Most Christians have found it very helpful to start their day off with a devotional time. Apparently Spurgeon said 1 hour of prayer in the morning is worth 2 at night. I can definitely identify with that statement. Someone has also said, “Better to pray for guidance and strength in the morning than to confess and repent at night.” The basic gist of these quotes is that you are more likely to experience spiritual victory throughout your day if you start the day with your devotional time. Much like the cereal commercials that emphasize that you start your day off right (physically) with their cereal, it pays off to start your day off right with spiritual nourishment.
One of the great struggles a lot of Christians have is establishing an effective devotional routine. This week I would like to offer some help for those who are struggling with this important part of the Christian life. I plan to break this down into five days of posts:
Today – What is it? How Often?
Tuesday – When and Where?
Wednesday – What do you Need?
Thursday – Expectations
Friday -How to Endure
What is it?
Let’s start with defining the terms. What do I mean by a devotional time? For years, it was called a “Quiet Time” in the circles in which I ran. Some people call it a personal worship time. Whatever you choose to call it, it is a vital part of Christian growth. But what exactly is it?