David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Tag: pride

Robbing You of Joy

http://www.inc.com/amy-morin/science-explains-how-facebook-makes-you-sad.html

“They don’t recognize that it’s actually robbing them of joy.”

Robbing them of joy.” That phrase stuck in my mind as I read this article about Facebook and the endless scrolling we can find ourselves addicted to, and how it sucks the life and joy right out of us. There is tons of spiritual application in this, especially during this Lenten season of self-assessment, confession, repentance, cleansing, and joy-renewal in the full scope of Christ’s person and work on our behalf.

Read More

Character

Something that has been a challenge for me in the past year is coming to the realization that though I’ve studied some theology (though by no means anywhere close to what I should or what others have studied) my character is lacking and not matching up with what I’m taking in. I briefly went through Scripture recently and thought of the places it talks about character or the characteristics of a believer and considered how lacking I am in these areas. I know there are others, but this is the list I came up with to pray over and meditate on.

Beatitudes Matt 5:2-12:
– Poor in Spirit
– Mourning
– Meek
– Hunger/Thirst for Righteousness
– Merciful
– Pure in Heart
– Peacemaker
– Persecuted for Righteousness’ sake
– Reviled/persecuted for the name of Christ

Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23:
– Love
– Joy
– Peace
– Patience
– Kindness
– Goodness
– Faithfulness
– Gentleness
– Self-control

Love is… – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
– Patient
– Kind
– not boastful
– not envious
– not arrogant
– not rude
– not insisting on its own way
– not irritable
– not resentful
– not rejoicing in wrongdoing
– rejoicing with the truth
– bearing all things
– believing all things (obviously not to be understood in the relativistic sense)
– hoping all things
– enduring all things
– never ending

Interestingly enough, Tim Challies posted this blog today that coincides with all of this: http://www.challies.com/articles/im-better-than-you

Freed to be Ordinary

http://www.challies.com/christian-living/ordinary-christian-living-for-the-rest-of-us

“‘You can’t market a book like that. It won’t sell. Nobody wants to read a book on being ordinary.’ They are probably right. Nobody wants to read a book on ordinary living because nobody aspires to be ordinary. It is not likely to sell as a book or a theme. Crazy, wild, radical, more, greater, higher, this-er, that-er, the comparatives and superlatives, these are the themes that fly off the shelves. But once we’ve been crazy and radical and wild and all the rest, why do we still feel, well, so ordinary? Why do we still feel like we’re missing out?” – Tim Challies

I don’t believe this is an argument against excellence or being proactive in things that we should be more proactive in, but rather an argument that amongst all the talk in modern Christian literature of being “awesome” and “extraordinary” and “doing big things for God” (summed up, “radical”), most of us are, well, ordinary. I’d count myself in that category. I’m an average IT guy, working at a financial company, providing for my family, ministering to a group of high school guys, who loves Christ. And it’s freeing to know that that’s okay, because the Gospel frees us to be ordinary. Are there things I could improve? Sure, no doubt. But the pressure to do something or be something big is huge it seems. And most of us are ordinary people who don’t live an extravagant, radical life and feel grossly inadequate and out of place.

This doesn’t mean some of of us won’t be extraordinary though, or that in our ordinary living extraordinary things won’t happen. And it doesn’t even mean that we shouldn’t, should the opportunity arise, pursue extraordinary things in our lives. But not everyone can or should be pursuing that (a concept handed to us by celebrity culture I believe, that we must aspire to “be awesome,” “dream huge so you can do what I’ve done” and so on; think in terms of an Academy Award acceptance speech). If everyone is extraordinary, doing extraordinary things, no one is extraordinary; the word loses its meaning. In fact, I would argue that God mostly uses ordinary people in the church to accomplish His ends throughout the world. We only see the big, headlined, mega-marketed things that are broadcasted, not the ordinary pastor in a small town, consistently shepherding a small group of people under the teaching of the gospel for 40 years.

Now if they do extraordinary things it’s because of His work and it can and does happen from time to time. Most people who accomplish incredible things for God do so because of His multiplying effect though (like Jesus with the fish and loaves), not because they were trying to “be awesome.” Rather it was precisely because they minimized themselves and got out of His way that He then did big things. In other words, extraordinary things happen because of God, not us necessarily, though certainly He uses us.

I believe the antidote to a lot of this thinking that we have to do “big things” or “be big things” (as we millennials have defined it; I guess I’m a millennial?) is a re-recovery of the Reformed view of vocation.

http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var2=881

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/calvin-and-the-christian-calling-20

Things That Make You Go, “Ouch”

It started with a friend calling me out on being too wrapped up in the whole ER2 thing, seeing as how I’m on the sidelines anyway (my own observation). Point taken, though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly put off for a while, in my pride. Then along came an article that drove it home for me a bit more, heard through Nathan W. Bingham.

Joe Holland writing at Ligonier makes some great points.

I would offer one qualification though (in my theological superiority, kidding :)): Jesus is God, had a specific mission, separate and distinct from ours, and could see everything in people’s hearts. We can’t. He was bringing and effecting redemption itself or bringing hardness. We can’t do either of these, other than resting upon what the Spirit does through our actions. For Jesus, there was no need to debate. He told the truth, in such terms as, “Verily I say unto you.” He didn’t “reason” with people, He just told them what they personally needed to hear to either be saved or turn away. And it was always right. It is He who had the words that brought life or condemnation. Certainly his silence does speak louder than words at times. Other times it didn’t. His words speak for themselves, coming from the great I AM become man. The times He is silent, the message is, “What more could He possibly say or do?” He is who He is, and they killed Him for it.

Certainly Jesus should be emulated in action, no doubt, in terms of His approach and words to people. However, for Jesus, He is the Savior whereas we are the saved and proclaiming Him, fallibly, as Savior to people. In distinction, just to show the difference, Paul “reasoned” with those in the Synagogues, on Mars Hill, and so on. He debated, he pursued people in tearing down their idols and offering Christ. At times this meant publicly rebuking, though certainly not to the excess we’ve seen on the “interwebs” as of late. He was called all kinds of things as a result of his pursuits in discourse.

Regardless, Joe Holland’s points are good albeit painful since I’m all too prone to excess and obsession when it comes to either controversy or theological discourse. If there is one thing I need more of in my life, it’s balance and humility.

A Honest Criticism of My Own Life

(Original): http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/art … l?id=69230
(Archived): http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/theo … 0Humility/

After reading this article by Keller, and reading more in The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges, I feel like too many times, what I write on here fits the mold of what Keller and Bridges describe, and this is deeply convicting to me. After reading Keller’s article, I feel like for a second I had an outside perspective of the way others may be perceiving how I come across as well as the way I truly am sometimes.

As I posted recently on here, my blog compromises only a small fraction of my life. But regardless, how I come across may be exactly how some people view me all the time: arrogant, frustrated, self-righteous, etc. I don’t feel like this most of the time, but in all honesty before people reading this, I am that sometimes. This is sin and I deeply need the grace and mercy of Christ provided in His cross and resurrection to cleanse me.

Read More

Isn’t It Ironic? Don’t Ya Think?

I find it ironic and funny to see so many emerging/emergent types so freely and publicly proclaim their “humble” service to others, I guess as if to say, “Look, I’m doing my part to help the poor and disenfranchised, what about you?” Sounds like the very selfishness, self-righteousness, pride, and Phariseeism they hate in much of the Christian right.
These are two Post-Evangelical Chaos Posters that speak to this very issue:

Read More

The Fear of the LORD is Hatred of Evil

“The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” – Proverbs 8:13

Within the church many times, we consider “gross” sins to be homosexuality, excessive drinking, fornication, adultery, thievery, murder, cursing, etc. And while those are in no way minimized in the Scriptures as sins that are destructive both personally and relationally (and above all in relation to God Himself), the passage above speaks just as strongly against those who are prideful and arrogant within themselves. In fact, as the passage says, wisdom hates pride, arrogance, the way of evil, and perverted speech, all of those together. Seeing as how the Scriptures are the Word of God breathed out, these are His thoughts. The LORD hates pride and arrogance with a just and righteous passion.

While even unbelievers should be humbled by the fact that God doesn’t bring His hand down to crush them at this instant, how much more humbled should we be who claim to have been shown mercy at the hand of God through Christ? And yet so often, this is not the case. We so quickly turn our judgment to the outside world and what they’re doing wrong, when we need to be turning the cutting standard of the Word inwardly and analyze ourselves, measuring ourselves against it, and not our own ideals of what is morally better and worse. What about our pride and arrogance against those very people who need Jesus and are running from Him in defiance? Is this pride we possess not just as wicked in the eyes of the Lord as the evil committed outside the church? What about our hatred of those who run wholeheartedly away from the Lord? Shouldn’t you have been the one that ran away from God? What made you humble and willing to believe in Christ, yourself or the grace of God alone?

I’m in no way saying I am exempt from having committed these sins myself and speak to myself just as much as anyone reading this. I’m a sinner and have fallen in so many ways. But regardless, it seems to be a spirit within many churches where others, those outside the church, are looked down upon as greater sinners who do not hold to our own personal moral standards, when in reality, we are murderers in our hearts just like those in prison who have committed the outward act. When we hate or look down upon people for their sins, the Lord sees our hearts much like He sees Jeffrey Dahmer’s. Meditate on that for a minute in light of Romans 3:9-18. We are commanded to be pursuing holiness through faith in Christ, and yet it seems we have forgotten the fundamentals of how we were saved.

So how do we come to hate what is evil, namely pride and arrogance within our own hearts? The answer is in the verse above. “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.” What does it mean to fear the Lord? “I thought we weren’t supposed to fear Him at all because of Christ?” There is one sense in which that is true. Those in Christ have been ultimately accepted for eternity. There is no fear of condemnation for those who believe. And yet at the same time, even as believers, we are called by Scripture to fear the Lord. This fear is humility. Andrew Murray talks about three separate ways in which we should be humbled as believers: 1) as a creature, 2) as a sinner, and 3) as a saint.

As a creature: There is great amount of humility we should have in being a creature subject to the King of glory. He created us without our permission, for His own glory and purposes, and He has freedom over us that we do not have over Him. This is abundantly clear in Scripture. He is the Creator, we are the creatures.

As a sinner: We should also be greatly humbled that as sinners, we have slapped God in the face and told Him, “No, you do not have control over me, in any sense. I control myself and my own destiny,” and yet He is extremely patient toward our evil toward Him. It is God’s sheer grace toward both believers and unbelievers that He doesn’t stomp us out right now for the vile that comes out of our hearts through our mouths, hands, and feet. We have offended an infinitely holy God and therefore the wrath justly due to us is infinite and eternal. This is greatly humbling and strikes right at the heart of human pride, and is one of the biggest reasons people cannot accept it. They are hardened to this message because they do not want to hear it.

As a saint: Having been rightly humbled by our willful disobedience against the King of Glory, how humbled should we be to see that this holy God who owes us nothing but wrath made a way for us to be accepted through taking that wrath Himself on our behalf at the cross? We should be greatly humbled and possess an honest fear at the greatness of the frightening power and unfathomable depths of the love of God. As a saint we are humbled to not be objects of wrath, but now, because of Christ’s perfect work, we are objects of mercy. Did He have to save you? No. Why did you believe while another person in a similar position that heard the same Gospel message did not heed the call? Why did you willingly say yes to Christ? Was it not the grace of God who Himself made you willing? Ultimately, this is humbling and should move us to love the things Christ loves and hate the things He hates more and more. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.” All kinds of evil, including our own self-righteous pride and arrogance.

We must constantly reorient ourselves with our humble position as creatures, sinners, and as God’s adopted people through the work of Christ. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) And at the same time, There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” These are both different forms of humility, one in which we despise ourselves for our rebellion and yet know that we are accepted. Reorienting ourselves with the Gospel daily should bring about a correct response of both acceptance and fear of God’s might and power. God had mercy on you through the work of Christ while you were still unwilling to submit to Him by yourself. And He did this by turning your heart and giving you a willing spirit that was sensitive to heed the call of the Gospel. Praise God for His grace in moving us to faith when we wanted nothing of it until He opened our eyes to His beauty! May that squash our pride and arrogance against an increasingly pagan society. Just remember, that should have been you and would have had God not intervened and gone underneath your entire being to move you to love Him.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén