What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you …” (John 15:7a).

In a nutshell, abiding in Christ means allowing His Word to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. In other words, our relationship to Christ is intimately connected to what we do with our Bibles! Then, of course, as Christ’s Word dwells in us and the Spirit fills us, we will begin... Continue Reading

At Home in Wakanda

We rally around superheroes like the Black Panther because we hope that they can lead us to Wakanda.

Having watched a civil-rights documentary beforehand, I found the ideologies of the two main characters to be thought-provoking. And although Black Panther has good action scenes, strong characters, a decent narrative, and helpful questions about global responsibility, the enchantment of the movie for many blacks in the theater was not, in my estimation, about the hero per se,... Continue Reading

The Difference between Guilt and Shame

Guilt and shame are the children of humanity.

Though Guilt and Shame are twins, born in the garden, only moments apart, they aren’t identical. Guilt is usually tied to an event: I did something bad. Shame is tied to a person: I am bad. Guilt is the wound. Shame is the scar. Guilt is isolated to the individual. Shame is contagious.   In Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol,... Continue Reading

Will We Have Our Own Homes in Heaven?

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

The term room is cozy and intimate. The terms house or estate suggest spaciousness. That’s Heaven: a place both spacious and intimate. Some of us enjoy coziness, being in a private space. Others enjoy a large, wide-open space. Most of us enjoy both—and the New Earth will offer both.   Perhaps you’re familiar with Christ’s promise in John 14: “In my... Continue Reading

The Joy of God’s Salvation

It is strange that joy so often seems to be missing from Christian experience and, more so, even from worship.

What we need is not ‘joy’ in some vague sense, or even a ‘joy’ that comes from ‘salvation’ in the multitude of ways this has been construed. Rather, the joy we need and the only joy that truly satisfies the human spirit is that which God alone can give, through his gracious salvation. In it... Continue Reading

The Most Underrated Spiritual Discipline

Given all the astonishing things that happen when I pray, why do I treat prayer so lightly?

Not only does God hear me when I pray, but he also strengthens me. In the midst of affliction, when I barely have the strength to call out to God, he hears me and strengthens me. He imparts real spiritual, emotional, and even physical strength to me. Prayer connects me to the infinite strength of... Continue Reading

The Comfort Found Only in the Church

When we have friendships in the church, we receive comfort and encouragement we can’t get anywhere else.

Based on this truth, the comfort we give to one another in the church isn’t the “you can do it” and “everything will be okay” comfort of the world. No, this comfort is honest about sin and its effects. It doesn’t sugarcoat or wish things away. Instead, it seeks hope and help outside of our... Continue Reading

The New View of Heaven Is Too Small

Our recent emphasis on “kingdom work” misses the real hope of the afterlife.

Heaven and earth will come together as Christ’s kingship is recognized by all creation. Moreover, we should embrace “the kingdom work” that calls us, as the revised song states. Yet, I also sense that we impoverish our hope for heaven when we turn it into an expression of our current activist emphasis upon “kingdom work.”... Continue Reading

Trusting God in the Face of Tragedy

We are called to live by faith, to trust God when we can’t see how it all works together for good.

Faith is all about trusting God when we don’t see the whole picture. When we don’t have all the answers – or any answers. When we don’t understand what God is doing. When we can’t even begin to imagine how something as horrific as this could possibly lead to the good of those who love... Continue Reading

It’s Just the Way I Am?

A Peace Treaty with Sin?

Instead of warring against the sinful passions of their own flesh, a person who believes that it’s possible to be a “carnal Christian” begins to think, “Well, I just have a temper [or insert any besetting sin here]. That’s just the way it is, and I can’t do anything about it.” In this same vein,... Continue Reading