Category Archives: Holiness

the matter of vocation

Consider what the realistic outworkings of ‘mission’ are likely to be.

I begin with vocation, by which I mean a Christian’s life-work. We often given the impression that if a young Christian man is really keen for Christ, he will undoubtedly become a foreign missionary, that if he is not quite as keen as that he will stay at home and become a pastor, that if he lacks the dedication to be a pastor, he will no doubt serve as a doctor or teacher, while those who end up in social work or the media or (worst of all) in politics are not far removed from serious backsliding! It seems to me urgent to gain a truer perspective in this matter of vocation. Jesus Christ calls all his disciples to ‘ministry’, that is, to service. He himself is the Servant par excellence, and he calls us to be servants too. This much then is certain: if we are Christians we must spend our lives in the service of God and man. The only difference between us lies in the nature of the service we are called to render. Some are indeed called to be missionaries, evangelists or pastors, and others to the great professions of law, education, medicine and the social sciences. But others are called to commerce, to industry and farming, to accountancy and banking, to local government or parliament, and to the mass media, while there are still many girls who find their vocation in home-making and parenthood without pursuing an independent career as well. In all these spheres, and many others besides, it is possible for Christians to interpret their lifework christianly, and to see it neither as a necessary evil (necessary, that is, for survival), nor even as a useful place in which to evangelize or make money for evangelism, but as their Christian vocation, as the way Christ has called them to spend their lives in his service. Further, a part of their calling will be to seek to maintain Christ’s standards of justice, righteousness, honesty, human dignity and compassion in a society which no longer accepts them.

John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World, pp. 31-32.

Note: This book was written in 1975, and some of his language may seem out of step with our current norms. Please consider the intent behind his words, not his choice of words, which were culturally acceptable at the time they were written.

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inner man is weak and starved

We take good care of this earthly body that we only have for a short time. We feed it three times a day, and we clothe it, and we dress it, and soon it is going into the grave to rot; but the inner man that is to live on and on forever is weak and starved.

D. L. Moody, How to Study the Bible: Updated Edition, pages 9-10


the word is essential for fruit

I never saw a fruit-bearing Christian who was not a student of the Bible. If a man neglects his Bible, he may pray and ask God to use him in His work, but God cannot use him, for there is not much for the Holy Spirit to work upon. We must have the Word itself, which is sharper than any two-edged sword.

D. L. Moody, How to Study the Bible: Updated Edition, pages 2-3.


few grow because few study

If we feed on the Word of God, it will be easy to speak to others about the Word of God; and not only that, but we will also be growing in grace the entire time, and others will notice the change in our walk and conversation. So few Christians grow, because so few study.

D. L. Moody, How to Study the Bible: Updated Edition, page 4


faith determines all life choices

Even if you are not a secular person, the secular age can “thin out” (secularize) faith until it is seen as simply one more choice in life – along with job, recreation, hobbies, politics – rather than as the comprehensive framework that determines all life choices.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 3


human rights was based on biblical idea

Christianity provided not merely a general idea of equality but also the resources for an understanding of “natural” human rights. Who ever came up with the idea that a human being had “rights” not granted by the state and that could be appealed to against the state? Where did the thought come from that some things are owed to all persons, regardless of their social status, gifts, or abilities, just by virtue of their being human? While it is popularly thought that human rights were the creation of modern secularism over and against the oppressiveness of religion, the reality is that this concept arose not in the East but in the West, and not after the Enlightenment but within medieval Christendom. As Horkheimer in the 1940s and Martin Luther King Jr, in the 1960s recognized, the idea of human rights was based on the biblical idea of all people being created in God’s image.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 44
quoting Brian Tierney


put flesh and blood on Jesus

Nothing puts flesh and blood on Jesus in our world more than loving others for who they are, not just loving who we want them to be.

Isn’t that the plot of the gospel? God’s relentless love towards us is demonstrated by his sacrifice while we were still an absolute mess. The apostle Paul says that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” He freely gave his love for us even though we wanted nothing to do with him. There were no conditions to his love, no fine print. And even if there were never any change in our lives, not even an ounce of acknowledgment of his love, he would still love us the same way.

We need to ask ourselves a difficult question: Can we, will we, walk the same path as Jesus and love the people around us while they are still sinners? If we’re serious about following Jesus by loving others, it means loving the people around us for who they are today, not just loving who we want them to become someday.

Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.172


pain and trust

So the tough choice we face – which will tap into our reserves of grit – is to own our pain and then offer it to God for redemption. But we will make that choice only after we have decided that – despite whatever pain we may have been handed in life – God can still be trusted.

Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.86.


reject the easy jesus

When we reject the easy Jesus in search of the real Jesus, we take a step. When we convert our desire and intention into commitment, we take a step. Day in and day out, with each seemingly small decision to align our lives with the way of Jesus, we take a step. And before we know it, with a little bit of grit and the Wind at our backs, we find that we’ve covered some ground. We’ve moved forward in running after the rich and satisfying life that we desire.

Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p. 41-42


fighting grace

God’s grace is a fighting kind of grace. It pokes and prods and confronts and pushes us toward the path that leads to a rich and satisfying life. Grace will not let us settle for mediocrity and small living. It compels us to change.

Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p. 33