A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a men’s conference called Pure Life: Cleansing the Heart of Sexual Lust. One of the other speakers at the conference was Keith Palmer, associate pastor at Grace Bible Church in Granbury, TX. Keith’s message at that conference continues to minister to me as one of the most biblically-practical presentations on how to battle sexual lust.
In the message, Keith gives several strategies to help men create a battle plan for fighting lust in their hearts. One of those strategies is one I haven’t heard recommended in the past: “Load your iPod (smartphone, iPad, Kindle Fire, etc.) with Christ-exalting, Word-saturated, flesh-battling Christian hymns and songs.” With the goal of battling temptation in mind, Keith says that one of the playlists he has created is made up of songs specifically chosen to “set [his] heart right”. “A good Christian song”, he says, “burns theology into your affections.”
I have experienced the value of what Keith is suggesting and find it helpful not just as I battle lust in my heart, but anxiety, despair, and anger too. It can be a help with any temptation to sin and so I second what Keith is advocating. Also, in case you’re interested, here are some albums I would recommend for this purpose:
Do you ever pray, “Come, Lord Jesus”? Do you direct these words to heaven on those days when you think you can’t take any more of the burden of your sinful heart and the sinful world that surrounds it? If you do, do you ever fight the temptation to wonder if Jesus will ever come back? I mean, it’s been almost 2000 years since he rose from death and ascended into heaven, so it’s likely that we’ve all struggled with doubt to some degree.
I was reminded this weekend, however, that we have an advantage which believing Jews went without in the Old Testament. Consider this, the first prophecy to foretell Jesus’ coming is found just three chapters into Genesis and it’s given by God himself:
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.
Speaking to Satan, God reveals that the offspring of the woman (Jesus) will bruise Satan’s head (defeat him). How many years existed between when this prophecy was uttered and when Jesus actually came to earth? We can’t be precise on the number, but we can say with confidence that it was thousands…and definitely more than two thousand. Yet, God kept his word and so we read in Colossians 2:15 that God “disarmed the rulers and authorities (demonic rulers and authorities) and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him (that is, Jesus, the offspring of the woman).”
In his perfect timing, God sent Jesus the first time in order that he would give his life as a ransom for sinners. After thousands of years, God did what he said he was going to do. I’m sure you can imagine what the impatience of faithful Jews must have been like, having moments of doubt and unbelief that the Messiah would ever come. But we have the advantage of possessing the entire canon of Scripture and we know that Jesus did come. So, when your heart dips into doubt, let Jesus’ first coming strengthen your belief in his second coming. He who is faithful has shown that time is no threat to his plan.
Last night a group of us at Calvary Bible Church finished working through the DVD series, Battling Unbelief, by John Piper. Here is a segment that was particularly helpful for me.
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This summer on Wednesday nights our church has been going through John Piper’s DVD series, Battling Unbelief. This past week, as Piper was using the Scriptures to help us battle the unbelief of anxiety, he made a connection between Matthew 6:34 and Lamentations 3:22-23 that I think has revolutionized my fight against worry. Here are the two texts and a long quote from Piper to explain.
Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Lamentations 3:22-23 – The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
There is a perfect correspondence between the amount of trouble planned for you and the amount of mercies to sustain you in those troubles. They go perfectly. Therefore, don’t pile into any day trouble that doesn’t belong there… Count on it, there will be trouble tomorrow. And count on it, every morning there will be new mercies… Today’s mercies are designed for today’s troubles… What you have today to get through the next six hours is not enough to get through tomorrow… But what God calls you to do now is not to feel what you need to feel tomorrow. You need to trust that [grace] is going to be there tomorrow.
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