Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What Consumes Your Thoughts?

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus…
(Hebrews 3:1)


Our Sunday school class is studying Hebrews right now and last week we started on chapter 3. As Todd began talking about this passage, he talked briefly about what it means to “consider” Jesus. It does not mean to merely glance at Him. It means to observe, to gaze, to meditate, to sharply focus, and to stare intently at Him.

This kind of thing will not just naturally happen. It takes purposeful action on our part to set aside the time and work on it. In our busy lives, meditation seems to be somewhat of a lost art.

With those thoughts still ringing in my head, I started reading C.J. Mahaney’s book Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World this week. And in the very first chapter, C.J. gives one good reason we should meditate on Christ and His cross.

The cross is the attraction that draws our hearts away from the empty and deadly pleasures of worldliness.

Did you catch that? Worldliness has its appeal. Nobody is denying that. But what should be happening in our lives is that the appeal of worldliness pales in comparison to the attraction and loveliness of the cross. Mahaney goes on to say,

What should consume our thoughts and affections is not resisting worldliness but the glory and grace of God revealed at the cross. We must take the sin of worldliness seriously, to be sure. … But its eradication is not an end in itself. Resisting worldliness is absolutely vital but not ultimately most significant.

Jesus Christ is most important. We must fight worldliness because it dulls our affections for Christ and distracts our attention from Christ. Worldliness is so serious because Christ is so glorious.

Don’t you just love it when God orchestrates the teaching of His word and what you’re reading to come together in such a beautiful way? I will close with Mahaney’s closing exhortation in the same chapter,

Meditate on the cross. Consider the wonders of the Savior who died for sinners and rose victorious over sin and death. Dwell where the cries of Calvary are louder than the clamor of the world.

5 comments:

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

"We must fight worldliness because it dulls our affections for Christ and distracts our attention from Christ"

That leapt out at me! It's not that everything in the world is wrong, just that it has the potential to be wrong if not kept in it's proper place and perspective.

Thank you so much for sharing this important reminder!
Jenn
Beautiful Calling

boo4baby said...

Thanks for this post. We were driving to CO so I missed last Sunday's lesson. I would love to see your notes. And I love that book by Mahaney......yes, it's wonderfully kind of the Lord to give us double snapshots of things He knows we need......sometimes from a different perspective so that it gets across my simple mind. :)

Steve said...

You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:

www.sgmsurvivors.com
www.sgmrefuge.com

They tell another side. Hope this helps.

Jennifer said...

Steve – I’m not sure who you are or how you found my blog, but thank you for taking the time to comment.

It is my policy to accept all comments, even those with differing opinions. I have only deleted duplicate comments and SPAM from my site so far, but I do reserve the right to delete any comments I deem offensive or mean-spirited. Your comment was none of those things and I thank you for the kind tone you used.

I want to clarify for other readers who may come across this comment, though, that just because I quote a source does not mean that I necessarily agree wholeheartedly with the entirety of that person’s doctrine. There are points about which I would disagree with C.J., just as there are points about which I would disagree with other authors such as J.C. Ryle (whom I have quoted extensively on this blog).

With that said, though, I don’t think I should have to “throw out the baby with the bath water” (so to speak). Just because I disagree with them on one point, doesn’t mean we can’t agree on another. We are all fallible humans and, I suspect, we will all discover things in heaven that we were wrong about on earth. If God doesn’t expect perfection from us, why should we expect it from each other? That doesn’t mean we should read anything and everything, but it does mean that we should compare everything we read with Scripture, which is our sole source of authority. That is part of the discipline of being a discerning reader.

Steve said...

Jennifer

I agree that we have to determine which teaching from someone we are going to accept and which we think is wrong.

Though I have disagreement with at least some of what C.J. Mahaney teaches my concern is more with reports of spiritual abuse and control happening within Sovereign Grace Ministries. That is what the blog discuss and present more than just disagreement with Mahaney's teaching.

One post that did get some attention was Noel's story. This involved a case where their 3 year old daughter was molested by a 15 year old boy in the Fairfax SGM Church. The couple's concerns were over how the leadership responded to this happening including siding with the boy at times. Unfortunately despite this couple there didn't seem to be any real reconciliation happening. The leaders of SGM also tried to "pollute the well" by claiming that some of what the couple shared wasn't true but couldn't give the couple any examples of what wasn't true.

Links to this story and subsequent meeting are here:

http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=276&cp=6&wpmp_switcher=mobile&wpmp_tp=10



http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=583

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