In this episode
- Don’t forget to become a Theodio Premier Subscriber. Offer ends when 2020 comes to a close.
- The relevant audiobook segment
- My notes from the blog
- Episode post: Christianity is difficult, and you haven’t really tried it
- G.K. Chesterton: What’s Wrong with the World
- Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo and marque: Jeff Lyons at Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
Welcome to the Theodio Podcast. I’m your host, Dan Kassis
We’re walking though the book Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks, one section at a time. Along with a segment of our original audio production of the book, we provide commentary and fresh insight, bringing this work of classic theology to life for you.
In our last episode we borrowed the title of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s autobiography, The Cost of Discipleship. Satan discourages us from the Christian life by showing us what we may have to give up or endure to follow Jesus.
This time we’re going to discuss a not very well kept secret: Christianity is difficult. It’s true. As we learned last week, there can be a cost to following Christ. But as Brooks teaches us this time, our enemy tries to ward us off from godly devotion because it isn’t worth the effort.
That’s the key: effort. We need to talk about not just what we do as Christians, but why. Unfortunately, in my opinion, we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time focusing solely on the what.
The what without the why
Christian book stores (those that still exist, anyway) are filled with volumes on how to live the Christian life. Depending on your age, sex, and interests, there’s probably a title waiting for you to purchase.
We Christians spend millions of dollars a year on workshops, seminars, and retreats, hoping our next experience will bring the breakthrough we long for. We chase the elusive spark of inspiration and understanding that will ultimately guide us into spiritual maturity.
It feels like the last couple of decades have been a parade of one spiritual development gimmick after another. The Purpose-Driven Life. The Prayer of Jabez. Jesus Calling. Each book became a movement laden with ancillary products and events. Where are they now? Why didn’t they last?
Those books and study guides often end up forgotten on our shelves. Once we fill in the blanks and wrap up the final meeting, we sometimes realize we aren’t much further along than when we began. This is where some of us may be tempted to think this Christianity thing may not be what we were promised.
Maybe we have our why wrong
G.K Chesterton was a marvelous British humorist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a lot like Thomas Brooks, able to pack a lot of meaning into a brief turn of phrase. Chesterton remarked in an essay titled What’s Wrong with the World about this tendency toward disillusionment. He wrote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
In other words, it’s not that spiritual life isn’t hard. It is! But perhaps we’re making it hard for the wrong reason. We’re forgetting the motivation for the effort. We humans are willing to do lots of difficult things when we know we do them for the right reasons.
Short of that proper motivation, Satan can sneak in and undermine us. Through discouragement, he can leave us standing still on the road, wondering where we’re going and why we even started the trip.
Thomas Brooks offers these remedies to encourage us onward in our pursuit of spiritual maturity and holiness. For the right reasons. With the correct motivation. Knowing that Jesus has already finished the race for us and is cheering us onward.
And remember, following this segment of Precious Remedies, I’ll offer my own thoughts and illustrations from the blog.
Let’s listen now.
There’s your motivation, believers. We have God’s smiles, his approval, his assurance, his satisfaction with us, now. Even in the wilderness. All in Christ.
What a great place to end this episode.
Next time we’re going to look at another facet of this same subject that will help us see how subtle and crafty Satan is. So, we have God’s smiles and approval. That means we can slack off now and then, right? No big deal. God’s got our backs.
As usual, it’s not that simple. Thomas Brooks will explain.
A reminder: Your chance to become a Theodio Premier Subscriber lasts until the end of 2020. Visit the homepage at Theodio.com and click on “Join Us” in the header to learn more.
Thanks for listening. We hope you’ll be with us again.