I recently received an email from someone who asked this question. After I wrote him back he said my words were encouraging to him and that I should share them with others. So here you go:
As you might expect, a godly woman who loves the Lord would be the first quality I would encourage you to look for in a wife. I would encourage you to read 1 Peter 3:3-4 and see that God’s word encourages women to pursue “the imperishable beauty.” Physical attraction is not essential for a marriage to work. Will you love this woman if she has a terrible accident and disfigures her body or face? Or is your love conditional on your physical attraction? Do you want to be with her till you die (till death do us part) or are you going to be interested in a younger more physically attracted woman when you wife gets old, wrinkly, saggy skin, etc…? These questions may seem obvious but that is my point. If you think about it long enough you realize how shallow a marriage would be if physical attraction was the most important thing for you to look for.
So is it important at all?
What is God’s will for your summer? Is it God’s will for you to go on the Campus Outreach Summer Beach Project?
Is it God’s will for you to be at GW or transfer or drop out and stop accumulating ridiculous amounts of debt?
How about your major? Are you sure you have declared the right major? Should you change your major?
What is God’s will for you with your career? Should you go to some kind of grad school or law school first?
Is it God’s will for you to get married? And if so, to whom? Etc…
When you think about these decisions you have to make in your life don’t you see your need for guidance? Whether it is from a trusted friend or family member, a consultant or expert in a particular field, or a pastor, counselor, or mentor. We all seek out guidance all the time.
But how can we guidance from God? What are some basic truths from God’s word about guidance?
Truth # 1: God Made Decisions
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33)
Lot casting is a lot like drawing straws or flipping a coin. And this verse says every little detail is from God’s plan.
Some will argue that gospel-centered interpretations are nothing more than eisegesis. They say we should not put Christ into Old Testament texts when He is not there. The problem is that Jesus sure did think He was there. Jesus taught that all the Scriptures were about Himself. Why then do so many have a hard time seeing the continuity of the testaments? Probably one of the biggest reasons is that they are losing the forest for the trees.
Most would agree that faithful exegesis of a text includes paying close attention to grammar, syntax, genre, and historical background. After carefully observing all these things we try to understand the author’s original intent. Unfortunately, most exegesis is only done in the context of the larger passage or biblical book. This is like studying a tree and then a cluster of tress in a huge forest. Those observations need to be done, but they only tell you a small part of the big picture. What is so desperately needed is that we “use the tools of biblical theology” so that “we can consider the point of the text in light of where the text falls in redemptive-history.” What we should quickly begin to see once we have stepped back far enough to get the big picture of Scripture is that “every literary genre and form within Scripture is linked directly to Scripture’s basic covenantal form and function.” Failure to see the big covenantal structure of Scripture will result in a failure to see the rest of the smaller passages (the trees) in the cannon (the forest) as “expounding and applying the meaning of Christ as the fulfillment.”
Why did Jesus command the gospel to be preached? Why was the gospel the central focus of Jesus’ and the apostle’s ministry? One reason is because God in His providence has ordained that the gospel is the means by which lost persons become saved and believers grow in their faith. John Stott sums this point up well in his book Between Two Worlds:
If we can see the big picture of the forest and learn who to interpret the trees in light of the forest, then it would help explain why preaching the gospel is in fact preaching the whole counsel of God.
“Our concern is not to preach Christ to the exclusion of the ‘whole counsel of God’ but rather to view the whole counsel of God, with all its teachings, laws, prophecies, and visions, in the light of Jesus Christ.”
Preaching the gospel every week and making it the center of all the Scriptures does not mean you will only preach sermons on the events of Christ’s death and resurrection. This would be failing to understand what it means to preach Christ from all of Scripture. The church does need sermons that deal with Christian living, social justice, and hundreds of other important ethical issues and doctrines.
The point being made here is that in order for them to understand how those issues fit into the big picture they need to hear them preached in light of what who Christ is and what He has done. Many pastors and theologians have called this the confusion of “law and gospel.” The irony of confusing law and gospel is not only that it is unbiblical, but it also fails to produce the fruit that the preacher hopes his sermons will bear. As Graeme Goldsworthy so eloquently puts it, “to say we should be or do and not link it with a clear exposition of what God has done about our failure to be or do perfectly as he wills is to reject the grace of God and to lead people to lust after self-help and self-improvement in a way that, to call a spade a spade, is godless.”
Any book that helps us better understand what the Bible teaches about God is providing the world a great resource for the most important issue in all of life. This is exactly what Robert Letham has done. He has written a great resource that helps readers better understand God in his book “The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship.
Letham divides the book into four major parts. The first part only focuses on the biblical support for the trinity. Continue reading
Avoid as much as reasonably possible.
– 2 Timothy 2:22 “FLEE youthful passions and pursue righteousness”
– Ephesians 5:2 “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality”
– Sometimes it will be unavoidable, but there is much we can avoid.
– What television shows, websites, or movies should you avoid? Maybe avoid them all together?
NO!!! Tell yourself NO within the first 5 seconds.
– James 4:7 “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”
– “Take EVERY thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5)
– Say it out loud if you must. Be tough and remember we are at war against our flesh.
– Literally within 3-5 SECONDS, do not let it linger any longer. (In reality 5 secs is probably too long)
– “Be killing sin or it will be killing you” (John Owen)