Lessons from Tiger Woods

C.J. Mahaney has some thoughts about what we can all learn from Tiger Woods and his troubles this last week.  Excellent stuff. Go read it all.

Hunted by Sin

But Tiger is being hunted by something more menacing than journalists. Tiger’s real enemy is his sin, and that’s an enemy much more difficult to discern and one that can’t be managed in our own strength. It’s an enemy that never sleeps.

Let me explain.

…..

And this story should humble and sober us. It should make us ask: Are there any so-called “secret sins” in my life? Is there anything I have done that I hope nobody discovers? Is there anything right now in my life that I should confess to God and the appropriate individuals?

And this should leave us more amazed by grace because there, but for the grace of God, go I.

HT to Vitamin Z.

Grace

Austin Christian Fellowship is having a series on the Most Beautiful Word. If you want to hear a demonstration of what Grace is and why it is indeed the most beautiful word, then listen to the interview with Bob and Audrey Meisner. Wow! wow.

II Timothy 3:12

II Timothy 3:12 says “12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”. Do you believe that? Do you believe that all means all and that persecution really means persecution? Really?

here is a John Piper quote from Vitamin Z:

“Obedience in missions and social justice has always been costly, and always will be. In the village of Miango, Nigeria, there is an SIM guest house and a small church called Kirk Chapel. Behind the chapel is a small cemetery with 56 graves. Thirty-three of them hold the bodies of missionary children. Some of the stones read: ‘Ethyl Armold: September 1, 1928-September 2, 1928.’ ‘Barbara J. Swanson: 1946-1952.’ ‘Eileen Louise Whitmoyer: May 6, 1952-July 3, 1955.’ For many families this was the cost of taking the Gospel to Nigeria. Charles White told his story about visiting this little graveyard and ended it with a tremendously powerful sentence. He said, ‘the only way we can understand the graveyard at Miango is to remember that god also buried his Son on the mission field.’

And when God raised Him from the dead, He called the church to follow Him into the same dangerous field called ‘all the world’ (Mark 16:15). But are we willing to follow? In Ermelo, Holland, Brother Andrew told the story of sitting in Budapest, Hungary, with a dozen pastors of that city, teaching them from the Bible. In walked an old friend, a pastor from Romania who had recently been released from prison. Brother Andrew said that he stopped teaching and knew that it was time to listen.

After a long pause the Romanian pastor said, ‘Andrew, are there any pastors in prison in Holland?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘Why not?’ the pastor asked. Brother Andrew thought for a moment and said, ‘I think it must be because we do not take advantage of all the opportunities God gives us.’ Then came the most difficult question. ‘Andrew, what do you do with 2 Timothy 3:12?’ Brother Andrew opened his Bible and turned to the test and read aloud, ‘All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.’ He closed the Bible slowly and said, ‘Brother, please forgive me. We do nothing with that verse.’

We have, I fear, domesticated the concept of godliness into such inoffensive, middle-class morality and law-keeping that 2 Timothy 3:12 has become unintelligible to us. I think many of us are not prepared to suffer for the gospel. We do not grasp the truth that God has purposes of future grace that he intends to give his people through suffering. We can speak of purposes of suffering because it is clearly God’s purpose that we at times suffer for righteousness’ sake and for the sake of the Gospel. For example, ‘Let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.’ (1 Peter 4:19, 3:17 and Hebrews 12:4-11).

To live by faith in future grace we must see that the suffering of Gods people is the instrument of grace in their lives.”

– John Piper, Future Grace

emphasis added.

God Provides

Continuing with Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we get to this on page 72:

God must feed us. We cannot and dare not demand this food as our right, for we, poor sinners, have not merited it. Thus the sustenance that God provides becomes a consolation of the afflicted; for it is the token of the grace and faithfulness with which God supports and guides His children. True, the Scriptures say, “If any will not work, neither let him eat” (II Thess. 3:10, A.R.V.) and thus make the receiving of bread strictly dependent upon working for it. But the Scriptures do not say anything about any claim that the working person has upon God for his bread. The work is commanded, indeed, but the bread is God’s free and gracious gift. We cannot simply take it for granted that our work provides us with bread; this is rather God’s order of grace.

we would do well to remember the admonitions that Moses gave the children of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy and especially chapter 8.

11“Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12(M) lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14(N) then your heart be lifted up, and you(O) forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15who(P) led you through the great and terrifying wilderness,(Q) with its fiery serpents and scorpions(R)and thirsty ground where there was no water,(S) who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16who fed you in the wilderness with(T) manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you,(U) to do you good in the end. 17Beware(V) lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18You shall remember the LORD your God, for(W) it is he who gives you power to get wealth,(X) that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day19And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them,(Y) I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you,(Z) so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.

emphasis added

reality of marriage

Challies put up an article on Monday just after his eleventh wedding anniversary that was a very real look at marriage through the device of wanting to give his younger newly married self some counseling.

the whole thing is good, but I thought this part was especially helpful because so many people have unrealistic ideas of the marriage relationship:

Prepare to Hurt and Be Hurt!. One of the greatest ironies and the greatest tragedies of marriage is that a husband and wife have more opportunities to sin against one another than against anyone else in all the world. Over the course of eleven years of marriage, I have hurt Aileen more than anyone else and have sinned against her more than I’ve sinned again anyone else. I suppose this means that marriage also offers unparalleled opportunities to extend forgiveness and to choose to overlook sin. While Aileen and I have had our share of struggles over the years, I truly believe that we carry no bitterness toward one another. Through God’s grace we have offered and received forgiveness time and time again. And through his grace we have overlooked many an offense. Yet there have been many occasions when we have hurt one another and when we have let this wounds fester for just a little too long.

If I could go back, I would prepare myself to be hurt and, even more, would seek to emphasize kindness and forbearance and grace so that I could hurt my wife far less often.

that is why I Peter 4:8 says “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

I can tell you after 20 years of married life that in a marriage there are many many sins that will need to be covered by fervent love. It is when you let your love grow cold that bitterness grows. Once bitterness takes hold of your heart, it is very difficult to uproot, so that love can flourish again.

The writer of Hebrews warned against ever letting the root of bitterness grow and prescribed the grace of God as the preventative. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”

learning vicarious suffering

courtesy of vitamin z, I saw this quote from Tim Keller:

“You need to get used to this reality. Once you become a parent, for the rest of your life, you’ll never be happier than your unhappiest child, because your heart is tied to your kids. That is a way of learning the gospel because before you have kids you don’t really know what it means that God suffers for your sins. He has to. He has to suffer for your sins, because when you have children you suffer for their sins. Your heart is tied up to them.”

truth in love

Paul reminded the Ephesian church that only with truth would there be mature Christian unity and only if truth was spoken in love.

Truth cannot be ducked or minimized in any way, but it must be softened with compassion. It is not compassionate to downplay or minimize or disregard truth.

Dr. Mohler wrote about this the other day in the context of homosexuality.

first the truth:

The homosexual rights movement understands that the evangelical church is one of the last resistance movements committed to a biblical morality. Because of this, the movement has adopted a strategy of isolating Christian opposition, and forcing change by political action and cultural pressure. Can we count on evangelicals to remain steadfastly biblical on this issue?

Not hardly. Scientific surveys and informal observation reveal that we have experienced a significant loss of conviction among youth and young adults. No moral revolution can succeed without shaping and changing the minds of young people and children. Inevitably, the schools have become crucial battlegrounds for the culture war. The Christian worldview has been undermined by pervasive curricula that teach moral relativism, reduce moral commandments to personal values, and promote homosexuality as a legitimate and attractive lifestyle option.

Our churches must teach the basics of biblical morality to Christians who will otherwise never know that the Bible prescribes a model for sexual relationships. Young people must be told the truth about homosexuality–and taught to esteem marriage as God’s intention for human sexual relatedness.

The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender–what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God’s gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.

but with compassion:

And yet, even as courage is required, the times call for another Christian virtue as well–compassion. The tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with homosexual desire or even involved in homosexual acts. Outside the walls of the church, homosexuals are waiting to see if the Christian church has anything more to say, after we declare that homosexuality is a sin.

Liberal churches have redefined compassion to mean that the church changes its message to meet modern demands. They argue that to tell a homosexual he is a sinner is uncompassionate and intolerant. This is like arguing that a physician is intolerant because he tells a patient she has cancer. But, in the culture of political correctness, this argument holds a powerful attraction.

Biblical Christians know that compassion requires telling the truth, and refusing to call sin something sinless. To hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception. True compassion demands speaking the truth in love–and there is the problem. Far too often, our courage is more evident than our compassion.

Go read the rest. Great stuff.