Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Laptops and Respectable Sins

My first post in a while.....my first post from my brand spankin' new LAPTOP, which my husband bought me this morning!

I am not a technical person. Small computers without mice scare me. Anything that costs more than I earn in several days intimidates me. I have resisted getting a laptop with the same intensity I fought flip-phones (it took me weeks to figure out my old outdated cell phone. Don't make it any more complicated than it has to be...please).

I now own a laptop.

You see, it's like this.

I like to write. I like to read the Bible and biblically-oriented books. I like to write about the Bible, biblical books, and various aspects of Spirit-led living. Unfortunately, the computer is in the (finished but chilly) basement. Apparently, I have let too many meals burn while I am deep in theological thought, intently pecking away in the basement.

I have let preschoolers run wild in the house while translating under deadline. I have overcooked burritos while Skypeing with Tyndale House. Well, Friday took the biscuit - I nearly burned the house down while hashing out Chapter 10 (extolling the virtues of nouthetic counseling vs. integrationist theory - and no; I haven't forgotten my promise to post it over here. It is forthcoming).

While systematically tearing apart the self-esteem gospel, I completely forgot about the tongue boiling (on high, mind you) upstairs in the kitchen. I had re-filled the pot about a half hour earlier (or maybe it was an hour; who knows) and returned to my subterranean office, when my husband awakened to smoke filling the house. (Thick, nasty smoke). Note to self: never leave a pot unattended while writing/translating/studying in basement. (That was the second time this week. I can't tell you how many pots of dried beans I've destroyed in my literary zeal).

Now I have a laptop. From which I can write at the kitchen table. Conveniently located near the stove, which is where the conscientious wives prepare meals for their families when their so-called minds aren't on loftier things. (I am writing a book on biblical deliverance from eating disorders. I reached 51,000 words this weekend, and feel that I can safely say that.) If anyone has any friends in the Christian publishing world, feel free to introduce us!

Speaking of books, here's a wonderful one which I'm sure I will be quoting at least once in my own manuscript: "Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins we Tolerate" by Jerry Bridges. This man is a wonderful writer, is well-respected in the evangelical world, and I can't believe this is the first book I've read by him. Our church's men's group recently studied it, and now our women's small groups are following suit. Targeted towards everyday Christians, in twelve chapters Bridges destroys the illusion that we're actually pretty decent people, and God did well to save us. Confronting such infractions as gossip, impatience, anxiety and frustration, Bridges reminds us that all sin is "cosmic treason" and is equally grave in God's eyes.

However, before we can even hope to uproot and annihilate these offensive character traits, we must learn how to apply the Gospel to ourselves in practical terms. An excerpt from Chapter 4, "The Remedy for Sin":

"...not only does the Gospel prepare me to face my sin, it also frees me up to do so. Facing our sin causes us to feel guilty. Of course we feel guilty because we are guilty. And if I believe, consciously or unconsciously, that God still counts my sin against me, my instinctive sense of self-protection forbids me to acknowledge my sin and guilt, or, at the least, I seek to minimize it. But we cannot begin to deal with a particular manifestation of sin, such as anger or self-pity, until we first openly acknowledge its presence and activity in our lives. So I need the assurance that my sin is forgiven before I can even acknowledge it, let alone begin to deal with it.

The assurance that God no longer counts my sin against me does two things. First it assures me that God is for me, not against me (see Romans 8:31). I am not alone in this battle with sin. God is not watching me from His heavenly throne saying, "When are you going to get your act together? When are you going to deal with that sin?" Rather, He is, as it were, coming alongside me saying, "We are going to work on that sin, but meanwhile I want you to know that I no longer count it against you." God is no longer my Judge; He is now my heavenly Father, who loves me with a self-generated, infinite love, even in the face of my sin. That assurance greatly encourages me and motivates me to deal with the sin."

Can I get an "amen"? This book is excellent - very convicting, yet encouraging. When dealing with the matter of sin and personal holiness, that is a fine balance to strike, yet Bridges does so seamlessly. This is a great tool to use as you pursue spiritual growth - it is thought provoking, easy to read, and does not require some of the mental gymnastics that J.I. Packer and C.S. Lewis demand.

Coming soon: Christian Counseling vs. Nouthetic Counseling

1 comment:

Marissa said...

I read that book in my WBS as well. It is a VERY convicting book. Reminds you that everything in and of you is sinful.