What do we do when we feel the cultural current pulling us downstream? A strong Christian fights – not systems, not institutions, and definitely not our neighbors. We fight the internal battle, the turn of our hearts downstream. We fix our eyes on truth, and we paddle against the current. Hard. And little by little, we win. Puritan author Thomas Brooks helps us get there with a few bits of timeless advice.
We Christians can sometimes feel alone in our churches. Amidst the energy and vitality of worship, as the Holy Spirit moves the body to praise and revere God, it’s easy to become isolated in our fears and uncertainties. Doctrinal and stylistic differences can widen the gaps even further. Unconfessed sin can push us adrift, out into a sea of separation.
That may be exactly where our enemy wants us.
Predators seek out the isolated, the unprotected. A single target loses the benefit of the group’s combined strength. The greatest exodus in our churches may not be in waves of division but in one believer, then another, removed from the body, one by one.
Thomas Brooks understands this is a difficult reality. And so he offers several remedies against this device of Satan, to help us see that we are not alone. We can derive hope from recognizing the body of Christ all around us, across the street and across the world.
Thomas Brooks warns us that Satan wants us to infer an entitlement to laziness. He tempts us to believe that because Christ has won the victory for us there are no battles left to fight. But common sense and Scripture soundly refute such notions. Allow Brooks to explain his remedies against idleness and banish the enemy from this playground once and for all.
It is with Christianity as it is with any personal pursuit: consistent application over time produces results. But this application is not easy. It is this difficulty Satan uses to drive a wedge between us and our devotion to Christ. Thomas Brooks offers these remedies to encourage us onward in our pursuit of spiritual maturity and holiness.
What we gain through Christ will always be greater than any loss we incur because of him. Let us be willing to bear any and every such earthly jewel or trinket that we might hold onto the pearl of great price.
Thomas Brooks’ point here is that Satan can present the world as so enticing and alluring that Christians may forsake their devotion to God to run after its riches and pleasures. There is much in the world that is beautiful, that brings joy and pleasure, that creates more emotional and even spiritual excitement than religious duty. The enemy can easily use these truths to his advantage. Brooks provides eight remedies to counter Satan’s schemes that use the allure of the world to distract Christians from devotion to Christ. His first four remedies each explain a particular negative quality of material gain.
We Christians must be salt and light to the world. We must be in and not of the world as we proclaim the gospel. But we also must discern when it is time to walk away from certain people for whom our message is nothing but bitterness and gall.
Thomas Brooks helps us recognize when the influence of wicked people is too great for us to bear and will become a temptation to sin.