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Entries in Heart of the Matter (2)

Friday
Jan112013

Fighting against the world

I liked the entry for January 9th in the book Heart of the Matter:

I Corinthians 1:18-25

The world bears the mark of sin.  Culture provides a way for us to see ourselves and the world.  It emerges whenever people gather together.  Therefore, families, schools, and church denominations all have particular cultures.  Culture oversees the unwritten guidelines for manners, traditions, and relationships:  whether or not we have dinner together, how we celebrate our holidays, whether we raise hands in worship or kneel, how we greet each other, and so on.

Infused through culture, however, is what Scripture refers to as the world. The world was created by God as the abode of human beings. As created by God it is good, but as our abode it bears the mark of our sin. Therefore, in the New Testament, the term world is used to denote the order of things that are alienated from God. In this sense, it is morally corrupt (2 Peter 1:4), peddling foolishness as wisdom (I Corinthians 1:20) and interpreting God's wisdom as foolishness (I Corinthians 1:23).  Even though we don't need any assistance in sensual indulgence, the world plants the message that unbridled sensuality is good, thus abetting the tendencies of our own hearts.

Recognizing that the world is outside us heightens our awareness of the spiritual battle we must fight. Not only do we have to fight against our own sin, we also have to fight against aspects of the culture that applaud our sinful tendencies rather than rebuke them.

Friday
Jan042013

Promising resource

Before Christmas, I was fortunate enough to win a book giveaway hosted by Domestic Kingdom.  I received my book recently, and began reading it.

It is called Heart of the Matter, and it is 365 daily readings, authored by CCEF, and includes writers like Paul Tripp, Ed Welch, and Tim Lane.  It's a lovely little book, hardbacked, and about 4x6 inches, perfect for tucking in your purse or backpack to have on hand while you wait in the grocery store lineup or on a bus going somewhere.

Today's entry included the Scripture reference I Peter 1:3-25, and this commentary:

The ending makes all the difference.  A tragic story like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet starts well, with people full of hope and love, but it ends badly.  A comedy like Much Ado About Nothing opens with dark omens and scheming betrayers.  The future looks very uncertain but it turns out wonderfully.  It is the ending rather than the humor that makes it a comedy.

You must decide whether you will live life as a tragedy or a comedy.  The story that Jesus offers you is a comedy.  Scripture tells you the end, and, if you have put your faith in Jesus rather than in yourself, it is your end, too.  Jesus wins. His justice prevails. His love is seen for what it really is - boundless and irresistible. Our unity with him exceeds our imaginations. We will see that life was much more purposeful than we thought. Everything we ever did by faith - because of Jesus - stands firm and results in "praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (I Peter 1:7). Knowing this, of course, does not blot out sorrow.  But knowing the end reveals that sorrow and death don't win.  For those who know Christ, life and joy are the last word.

I never consciously thought of Jesus' story as a comedy.  When we think of comedy, we think of laughter and people looking silly.  In literary terms, the story is a comedy. 

I like that last line, "life and joy are the last word."

I am thankful for publishers like New Growth Press who give bloggers freebies to share with others!  Thanks, Domestic Kingdom for your giveaway!