The Beauty of Low Self-Esteem

By Ronnie Martin: I’m just going to say it: I love me. Go ahead and say it to yourself a few times. I love me. I don’t know how it will make you feel, but I can guarantee that it won’t make you a liar. Look in the mirror. Not bad, huh? No? Well, whether you love or hate what you see, chances are you’ll keep on looking. None of us has a problem with low self-esteem. Scripture tells us we were born with the opposite issue. We all think of ourselves as a little more pretty, a little more talented, a little more worthy, and a little more deserving of just about everything in this life. Far from having naturally broken hearts, our hearts are naturally bloated with the calories of self-consumption and filled with obscene levels of self-obsession. We’ve been taught that there’s nothing more valuable than how much we value ourselves. Sometimes we like to doll it up with

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How to See God’s Hand in Your Suffering

More from this great Puritan. Jonathan Parnell posts: John Flavel, in 1678, instructs readers to see God as the author of all circumstances in life, including suffering: Set before you the sovereignty of God. Eye Him as the Being infinitely superior to you, at whose pleasure you and all your have subsist (Psalm 115:3), which is the most conclusive reason and argument for submission (Psalm 46:10). For if we, all we have proceeded from His will, how right is it that we be resigned up to it! Set the grace and goodness of God before you in all afflictive providences. O see Him passing by you in the cloudy and dark day, proclaiming His name, ‘The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious’ (Exodus 34:6). Eye the wisdom of God in all your afflictions. Behold it in the choice of the kind of your affliction, this, and not another; the time, now and not at another season; the degree, in this measure only, and

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God’s strategy to nullify human pride

“God has a strategy to exalt his Son and magnify his grace. That strategy is to choose the foolish, weak, and lowly people of the world as his own. The world esteems the intellect of professionals, the influence of the powerful, and the nobility of the upper classes. It thinks these things matter. But our boast is in Christ Jesus. He alone is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Our standing before God is wholly unrelated to our intellect, social class, or wealth. It is all of his grace. And so there can be no mistake or confusion, God chooses the lowly, the poor, the unrespectable, and the marginalized to populate his kingdom. He does this to shame and nullify human pride. This is great! Those the world esteems are nothing in the kingdom of God. And those the world despises, God exalts. He lifts them up and gives them places of honor. And unless we adopt their despised and lowly

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What Does the Cross Demonstrate?

Thabiti Anyabwile has reprinted a helpful section from Sinclair Ferguson’s Growing in Grace. Ferguson asks, “How do we find the grace of God in the cross? How has it become God’s instrument of salvation to those who have faith?” His answer is that the cross of Christ demonstrates: the love of God the justice of God the wisdom of God (HT: Justin Taylor)

The trial of Christ – Why?

From Adrian Reynolds: Have you ever stopped to think why Jesus needed to be tried by the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod? Why couldn’t he, for example, have cried out in the Garden, “I’m ready. Punish me now.” What do the trial narratives add to the theology of this moment (aside from the obvious fact that they are describing historically what happened)? I think it works on a number of levels. To display Jesus’ perfection The injustice of the trial scenes reinforce Jesus innocence and perfection. True, you would see this otherwise from the Gospel accounts themselves, but the injustice of the trials and the system makes the perfection of Christ stand out in stark relief. “He who knew no sin became sin for us, that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” To explain Jesus’ substitution This last verse (2 Cor 5.21) introduces another idea which is graphically displayed in the trial accounts – that of substitution. All

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Suffering for Christ

by C.J. Mahaney What constitutes suffering for the name of Christ? Often we recall the most severe examples of suffering—Stephen crying out to the Lord as enraged Jewish leaders hurled rocks at his body; Paul and Silas with feet shackled to a Philippian prison, still feeling the pain of their earlier beating; Jim Elliot and his four missionary friends rushed by armed Huaorani Indians. These are all graphic examples of Christians enduring great sacrifices for the advance of the gospel. Scripture teaches (even promises) that all Christians will suffer, but these graphic examples are not the norm for faithful Christians in the West today. So what does suffering for the name of Christ look like in twenty-first century America? During one panel discussion at the Together for the Gospel conference, Ligon Duncan and I interviewed our friend John Piper on this issue. —— Ligon Duncan: John, you have done a pretty extended exposition on kinds of suffering, available on the

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Evil & the Purposes of God

“The mystery of iniquity is at work in the world during this interim time, and it is not always clear how its malignant work is being checked, overridden, or woven into the glorious purposes of God. We need to remember, though, that while Judas betrayed Christ, and woe to him for doing so, it was God’s plan that Christ was thus betrayed. Evil by its very nature opposes the purposes of God, but God, in his sovereignty, can make even this evil serve his purposes.” – David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2008), 206. (HT: Of First Importance)