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?
Last year’s best feel good story in Major League Baseball was one of this month’s books for me. I just completed Josh Hamilton’s book Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back. Josh was the hottest prospect in baseball when he graduated from high school. He was destined for greatness. But he threw all that away for drugs. After four years out of baseball, he was able to finally conquer his drug problem and return to the game he loved, quickly rising to the major leagues.
Here is a brief video interview with Josh that summarizes his experience:
The difference between the book and this televised interview is simple: Jesus.
“Children are a kind of wealth,” according to Barbara Curtis, mother of twelve ranging in ages 8-39. Most Americans would find this king of statement strange or flat out absurd. We are now living in an era in which a large family is considered by the mainstream to be a sort of freak show. It was not this way not so long ago. According to an excellent recent New York Times article,
In 1976, census data show, 59 percent of women ages 40 to 44 had three or more children, 20 percent had five or more and 6 percent had seven or more. By 2006…28 percent of women ages 40-44 had three or more children, 4 percent had five or more and just 0.5 percent had seven or more.”
So a lot has changed in just 30 years. As an ONLY child raised in the 70s, I probably had an uncommon view. To me, a family with two children was normal. A family with three or more children was large. My uncommon view then is common now.
From A Tale of Two Sons by John Macarthur, page 78:
When we sin, we show disdain for God’s fatherly love as well as His holy authority. We spurn not merely His law, but also His very person. To sin is to deny God His place. It is an expression of hatred against God. It is tantamount to wishing He were dead. It is dishonoring to Him. And since all sin has at its heart this element of contempt for God, even the smallest sin has enough evil to unleash an eternity full of mischief, misfortune, and misery. The fact that the entire world of human evil all stemmed from Adam’s simple act of disobedience is vivid proof of that (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15.21-22).”
Abundant Life (Jn.10.10) … Abiding Life (Jn.15.5) – Check out my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl6zU7y5N1aHQtMRgyDaDNg