A Steadfast Mind (2)

And there are three parts of this steadfastness of the mind:

(1) full purpose of cleaving to God in all things;

(2) a daily renovation and quickening of the heart unto a discharge of this purpose;

(3) resolutions against all dalliances or parleys about negligence in that discharge…

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin

A Steadfast Mind

The steadfastness of our minds abiding in their duty is the cause of all our unmovableness and fruitfulness in obedience; and so Peter tells us that those who are by any means led away or enticed “fall from their own steadfastness” (2 Pet. 3:17). And the great blame that is laid upon backsliders is that they are not steadfast: “Their heart was not steadfast” (Ps. 78:37). For if the soul be safe, unless the mind be drawn off from its duty, the soundness and steadfastness of the mind is its great preservative.

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin

Idols

Idols are non-gods and as such are much more congenial to us than God, for we not only have the pleasure of making them, using our wonderful imaginations and skills in creative ways, but also of controlling them. They are gods with all the God taken out so that we can continue to be our own gods… It is no wonder that idol-making and idol-worshiping have always been the most popular religious game in town.

And because it is so satisfying to us, it is difficult to see why there is anything so very wrong with it.

– Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Place, p. 254

A Bitter Thing

“Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and a bitter [thing], that you have forsaken the Lord your God” (Jer. 2:19). Every sin is a forsaking of the Lord our God. If the heart know not, if it consider not, that it is an evil thing and a bitter [thing] – evil in itself, bitter in its effects, fruit, and event – it will never be secured against it.

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin

Lucid Silence

The best thing for me is lucid silence that does not even imagine it speaks to anybody. A silence in which I see no interlocutor, frame no message for anyone, formulate no word either for man or paper. There will still be plenty to say when the time comes to write, and what is written will be simpler and more fruitful.

– Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas, p. 258

Solitude as Vocation

It is clear to me that solitude is my vocation, not as a flight from the world but as my place in the world, because for me to find solitude is only to separate myself from all the forces that destroy me and destroy history, in order to be united with the Life and Peace that build the City of God in history and rescue the children of God from hell.

– Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas, pp. 257-58

Speech is Like Salt

Speech is like salt: too little, and we do not taste the flavour of the food; too much, and we are left with the unpleasant taste of the salt. Like salt, our lives and speech are to bring out the ‘flavour’ of Jesus Christ. Too much of ourselves – too much of our talk – will likewise leave an unpleasant taste.

– Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, p. 60

How Worldliness Begins

A love for the world begins in the soul… It begins with a dull conscience and a listless soul. Sin does not grieve him like it once did. Passion for the Savior begins to cool. Affections grow dim. Excitement lessens for participating in the local church. Eagerness to evangelize starts to wane. Growth in godliness slows to a crawl.

– C. J. Mahaney, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, p. 20

To Belong to No One But God

Standing on rock. Present. The reality of the present and of solitude divorced from past and future. To be collected and gathered up in clarity and silence and to belong to God and to be nobody else’s business…

To belong to God I have to belong to myself. I have to be alone – at least interiorly alone. This means the constant renewal of a decision. I cannot belong to people. None of me belongs to anybody but God. Absolute loneliness of the imagination, the memory, the will…

Now my whole life is this – to keep unencumbered. The wind owns the fields where I walk and I own nothing and am owned by nothing and I shall never even be forgotten because no one will ever discover me.

– Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas, p. 253