Sanctification

154 posts

Introducing “To Be Like Jesus” by Brian G. Hedges

“SOME BOOKS FOCUS on what Christ has done for us, and others on what Christ does in us. Rare, however, are books that teach us how Christ works in us on the basis of what he had already accomplished for us. Brian Hedges has written one of these rare books, laid out in short devotions crafted to stimulate faith that bears fruit through love. This is a book not only to read, but to practice in the pursuit of holiness.” —Dr. Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan THE CHRISTIAN LIFE is a journey of spiritual and moral transformation into the glorious image and likeness of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This journey is lifelong. […]

The Trivial Life: Exploration of the Heart

One aspect of guarding your heart is having an awareness of what’s going on inside. Often, we can see what’s coming at us, but we fail to see how we are processing life internally and dishing it back out. Self-awareness in our culture is called emotional intelligence or EQ. It’s the ability to know yourself and how you relate to others. It’s an awareness of how you come across. Do you realize how you come across? Ask someone close to you, “How do others view me?” (Husbands, I dare you to ask your wife.) Some people are said to have low EQ, like the father who criticizes his kids for being on electronics way too much while he can’t even […]

The Trivial Life: Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23 gives us this instruction: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV). To guard and keep your heart means to protect what comes in and goes out. You have to constantly be on guard and keep your heart with all vigilance because it’s the command center for all your words, actions, and desires. John Flavel, an old Puritan pastor, used the example of guarding your heart like a besieged garrison with enemies on the outside and treacherous citizens on the inside. The imagery is dated, but the idea is good, so let me run with it in a modern equivalent. Before I was a follower of Christ, I had an unguarded and […]

New Heart, Old Struggles

For the past twenty plus years I have been a pastor. For the past twenty plus years I have been in and out of counseling. Counselors love me because I’m the classic blame shifter who is easy to spot. “What brings you in today?” My wife has issues. “Why do you think you struggle with anxiety?” Because my seven kids are driving me crazy. “Why are you so filled with fear and anger?” Because my congregation keeps picking on me. It’s like I’m still a child in a grown man’s body. The problem is still out there and not inside of me. When will I learn? Deep inside my regenerated heart, something is still off. Conversion doesn’t eliminate the battle […]

The Heart and the Trivial Life

More often than not, if we are honest, most of our time is spent in the direction of self rather than the direction of others. And, if we are really honest, most of our days are spent pampering ourselves rather than serving others. Something is seriously out of whack. The Heart is the Problem The heart is mentioned over 900 times in the Bible and 77 times alone in the book of Proverbs. Often when the Bible talks about your heart, it refers to the core of who you are. It’s your thoughts, motives, emotions, personality, and the spiritual part of your makeup. Your heart is basically who you are. One of the more well-known verses on the heart is […]

Your Life: Trivial or Weighty?

Why does your life (and mine) often trend toward that which is trivial? Because the default mode of the human heart is bent toward triviality. Unless intentional action is taken, you are always going to lean in the direction of pursuing that which is trivial. Just as your computer settings will operate under their default mode unless directed by you to do otherwise, so will your life. It’s not hard to pursue triviality because you have naturally done it your whole life. But what if there were some kind of work-around, intentional reset or deliberate action on your part to move away from triviality, to a life of meaning and purpose? What if you could push back against the default […]

Life in the New Creation & The Imitation of Christ

Continued from Beholding and Becoming Life in the New Creation Paul describes the change believers have experienced as a new creation. In Ephesians 2:10, he says that we are the workmanship—the masterpieces!—of God “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Similarly, Paul reminds his readers that when they “learned Christ,” they were taught to “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:20–24).26 A parallel passage in Colossians 3 says the new man, “is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (v.10). And 2 Corinthians 5:17 exults that, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” […]

Beholding and Becoming

Continued from Restoration: New Man, New Creation The question this book aims to answer is how do we become like Jesus? How does the restoration of the image of God within our hearts take place? In the following chapters we will explore how Scripture gloriously answers this question. For now, let’s consider a passage that compellingly describes the transforming power of gazing at God’s glory revealed in Jesus. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory […]

Restoration: New Man, New Creation

Continued from Redemption: The Gracious Rescue In contrast to Adam, the first man, Jesus came as the second Adam, the true image-bearer of God. Paul, looking forward to the final resurrection, says: Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the […]

Redemption: The Gracious Rescue

Continued from The Fall: Shattered Mirrors The good news is that God is reforging the shards! When he is finished, no trace of the breakage will remain. For God has formed a rescue plan. Not willing to abandon his creation to evil, God has purposed to redeem and restore the world by setting a new people apart for himself. Although hints of this plan are given even before the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden (Gen. 3:15), God’s redemptive mission truly began to take shape when he called Abraham.13 God promised to give Abraham two things: A son (and descendants) through whom the world would be blessed (Gen. 12:1–3), and a special land that would belong to his heirs […]