Christian Life

10 Spiritual Truths I learned in 2014

#1 The Lord’s favor is a shield in a time of trouble. When David faced insurmountable odds he knew that no army, no missile shield and no political alliance could save him. The only reliable shield for him was the favor of God. (Psalm 5:12)

#2 The Lord makes lying down and sleep happen simultaneously. Anxiety causes the extended separation of lying down and sleep, but the Lord can unite them because he provides a sure protection. (Psalm 4:8)

#3 Repentance is a gift and we should ask for it. The trouble with repentance is that it follows the pain of conviction. But without the conviction of sin no repentance can follow. When God presses down into one’s soul like a giant thumb pressing into one’s guts it is a gift, an opportunity to turn to the Lord in sorrow for sin and receive what only he can offer – a clean conscience. (2 Cor 7:9-10)

#4 Sanctification should be the highest priority. Sanctification free Christianity is not Christianity at all. Believers should have a strong desire to grow in faith and holiness. (Matt 16:26)

#5 If he loves us he will make us clean. The love of Christ for his church has a result. It is not material security, perpetual happiness or monumental achievement, but holiness. If he loves the church will cleanse her from sin and get her ready for an eternity of worship. (Eph 5:25-27)

#6 Loving others sacrificially is a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The Lord calls us to give our lives as a sacrifice to Him in loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we do this God is pleased and we discover just how good the will of God is. (Rom 12:1)

#7 Sin is really bad and we should hate it as much as God hates it. We think that our sin is small and not a big deal. But we should join Christ in his hatred of sin. (Rom 12:9)

#8 There is no such thing as church-free Christianity. It is in the church, under the authority of the word of God, that spiritual growth is possible. Without being part of the local church spiritual growth is pretty much out of the question. (Heb 10:25)

#9 The church should be in a constant state of expectation. The church is an expectant bride waiting for a wedding day. Life should not be comfortable and it should feel tense as we wait for him. (Luke 12:37)

#10 The Spiritual Life is a Long Haul. I am naturally impatient. If something doesn’t work right out of the box I tend to give up on it. The spiritual life, however, is not a quick setup, there are no short cuts and there is often a lot of waiting and apparent loss of ground. But it is worth it. (Exodus)

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.