I Can’t Love You and Tell You You’re Not a Man

I can’t love you well while lying to you.

I can’t love you well by lying about God to you.

He made you and He’s good and you’re a wonderful creation of His. And He’s made you a man. There’s beauty in that, startling beauty in this reality that the crafter of the earth chose to make you as a man.

This transgender philosophy is lying to you. Speaking broadly, the world is lying to you. Many within both are doing it from a place of misguided kindness, the sort that just goes along to get along and doesn’t want to bother anybody. (“Oh that’s how people are living now? Well, you know, to each his [er, I mean her] own.”) But kind lying is still lying, and you’re still a man. Carefully woven by a good God, you are a true and complicated and thorough man. Your feelings can never change that. And this is good.

I know there are wounds and sins and fears that run deep in your heart. I know they are a part of this. But Jesus’ grace is deeper. And that grace can address what their lies (and your own) can’t. Because true things always run deeper than false ones.

It’ll take a lot of time and even more love to put to death the deceit and the sin that are under all of this, but I have a lot of both with your name on them. I’m not going anywhere. I was rescued from abject spiritual rebellion. I was a gossip, a narcissist, a disrespectful son and a hateful brother. I sinned sexually and relationally and vocationally. But the God of the Heavens broke my heart and my knees and gave me a love I’ll never be able to earn. He saved me. So how can I not love everyone? And how can I not tell them the truth?

How can I not love you, having been loved so deeply myself by our common Creator?

Here are my affection and my commitment to you. I’m yours, friend, and I’ll give you what the world won’t.

The world can lie to you. The world just can’t love you very well.

Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.

Galatians 4:16-17

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30 Seconds On Being Born

When I was born, I was full of disobedience and selfishness and fear. I did the wrong things because I loved the wrong things. And a man can’t change what he loves all on his own. Title of chapter 1 of my biography: Conceived in sin, born sinning.

A really miraculous thing about the news of Jesus Christ is that He can change a man from the heart out. He can kill what’s in him that just won’t die, all the greed and bitterness and cowardice, and then He can raise up something new that’s still somehow familiar, still him.

A bad man must die to be made something new; but afterwards he’s still a man. Cornelius was still Cornelius after the Holy Spirit fell on him. But he was different. Being born again as Christ’s requires a death, but it doesn’t require an annihilation.

I’m different. Apart from Christ I would’ve ended life how I started it, all angry and manipulative and nervous. But this Jesus died and rose to replay that song in the believers, to bid them die and then come up new.

Christ can undo a man to then make him what he should be.

Thanks to Jesus, I got another crack at being born.

And the second one outshone the first.

A School Shooting Prayer From 100 Years Before There Were School Shootings

From Charles Spurgeon, English pastor (1834-1892):

And now that we have Your ear, we pray for this poor world in which we live. We are often horrified by it. Lord, for our own comfort, we wish that we did not know anything about it. We have said, ‘Oh, for a cabin in some wilderness.’ We hear of oppression, robbery, and murder, and men seem to be let loose against each other. Lord, have mercy on this great and wicked world. What is to be done with these billions? What can we do? At least help every child of Yours to do his utmost. May none of us contribute to the evil directly or indirectly, but may we contribute to the good that is in it.

From his book The Golden Key of Prayer.

What is to be done with this great and wicked world?

Us. We are to be done to it.

We are His body.

Help us to do our utmost. Help us to contribute to the good. Help us to pray and to work and to live and to love rightly.

Help us.

Amen and amen.

The Gospel In Adultery and Murder



Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, ‘I am pregnant.’ Then David sent to Joab, saying, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ So Joab sent Uriah to David… Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. He had written in the letter, saying, ‘Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’ So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. The men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David’s servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died… Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, ‘There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.’ Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.’ Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’

2 Samuel 11:2-6, 14-17, 12:1-10

King David, a man after God’s own heart, murdered a man to cover up sleeping with the man’s wife. 

I’ve been in 1 and 2 Samuel the last few weeks. Monday or Tuesday I had this thought: There is no special reason I know of why I couldn’t have been the man wronged by David instead of Uriah. 

I wasn’t, obviously. God didn’t choose to have me born in the 2nd millennium BC in the Kingdom of Israel and allow me to marry the woman who David saw and wanted and either raped or took on with her approval (the text doesn’t explicitly tell us about Bathsheba’s willingness or lack thereof). 

 But He could have. 

I could have been the man of ancient Jerusalem who married Bathsheba and had this done to me by David. I could’ve been in Uriah’s shoes. And if I had been…

David would’ve murdered me to cover up sleeping with my wife.

God would have defended me to David. 

And David and I would have been brothers in Heaven after death. 

And the Gospel is in each of those 3 things.  

  • David would’ve killed me to cover up his adulterous sin against me. 

People are not inherently good. We are not born loving God and loving others as ourselves. We may learn to be decent, we may be nice or likeable or hard working, but our hearts are inclined to evil. And even after conversion, that flesh, that old man, can rise up and cause us to do evil things. The fact that people are born evil, that we all do evil, and that we cannot simply become pure or Godly on our own are essential parts of the Gospel. The Gospel is the Good News that in Jesus by the power of the Spirit God the Father has accomplished His plan to do for people what they cannot do themselves. The fact that David was born in sin and was capable of such horrific, violent, greedy wickedness is proof that we need what the Gospel offers. 

  • God would have defended me to David.

God defends me. I am in Him through faith and a part of the people of God, and so I have a defender. Wrongs against me do not go unseen. Someone has taken account of them, each of them, and they will each be paid for, either on the Cross or in Hell. Most importantly, I have a defender against the good, just wrath of God that I myself deserve. 

This God who is righteously indignant at what David did to the man with less is the God who has rebuked Satan, crushed death, and absorbed the wrath for my sin with all the vigor and the love I see in Scripture. This God is, and will always be, my defender. 

  • David and I would have been brothers in Heaven after death.

The one wronged and the one who wronged him can be reconciled through faith in Christ. They can be brought together in unimaginably full-throated, God-centered love. As Jesus, the perfect Son of God, Himself is perfectly reconciled to Peter, the man who disowned him. Jesus was more profoundly and undeservingly wronged by all of us, since He is God for whom we were created and yet we have each deserted Him. And yet our once bloodied, shamed, beaten Lord opens His arms in forever-love to all of us who believe in Him. Despite what David would have done to me, despicably violating and dishonoring me, had I been in Uriah’s place as a believer David and I would have eventually sat as brothers at the same final banquet, clothed in the same righteousness of God. 
 
I could’ve been destroyed as the victim of this sin. God would have defended me to David, against Satan, and against His own just wrath for me. And David and I would have been reconciled in purity and Christlike love in Heaven. I see the grace of the God’s salvation in this difficult story. 

2 Samuel 11 and 12, like all of Scripture, is layered with the truths of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

The Bible tells a very good, very true story. 

1 Corinthians 5

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 5:1-5

It is uncomfortable to talk about in 2018 America, but since churches must be holy and Christians must be holy, churches can’t keep as members professed Christians who are walking in unrepentant sin.  

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul makes plain that he is not pleased that an especially ugly sexual sin is talked about and heard about among these people, this church, and that nothing has been done. “How have I been gone for just a little while and this happens? And you all know about it and haven’t dealt with it! Are you kidding me! Do you not understand what a church is or what Christians are?”

In this rebuke, he reminds us: We are not our own.

Specifically, with Paul rebuking sexual immorality (“porneia”) we see that our bodies are not our own. We are not autonomous kings. But it’as also a part of the broader point Paul makes. In general, Christians are not just free to roam the world and do as we please. We are not people unto ourselves. We are not each our own self-sustaining little Christian ecosystem. The New Testament does not describe individual, lone Christians who are merely accountable to God but to no other humans. By God’s design, I am accountable to my wife, my children, the other elders of my church, the members of that church, and the government of my land (and there are others).
The Bible does not know of an isolated Christian who answers only to God. Like Mark Dever once said, “If you only submit to God, you’re not submitting to God.”

And because Christians are not their own, because Christians are called to be pure and holy, Paul calls on this church to be a church. It must do what churches are to do in the face of flagrant sin from one of their members. 

Notice how strongly Paul felt about putting the man out. He passed judgment even without being there in body, and he wanted this done in the name and power of Jesus Christ. This is not just a helpful suggestion a church is just free to take or leave. Being a part of a church who takes seriously confronting our sin and helping us repent of it is a part of obedient, healthy Christianity. Churches must hold the believers in their midst accountable for unrepentant sin.

It’s also important to know that is not just someone who sins. If that were the case, we would all be put out (1 John 1:8-10). No, this man was walking in sin with no repentance, no turning, no sorrow over his evil actions. He didn’t act like what what he was doing was sin, and he showed no desire to change. So in response to that, Paul is commanding these people who are the church to put him out. 

To put him of the people.  

There is no concept in the New Testament of a church being a place. It is always a people. Paul does not write to Corinth Church; he writes to the church at Corinth. The church is the people; the address is simply where they meet. Churches are people. Not buildings, not geographical areas. If the people disappear, there is no longer a church. If the building grows the church building has merely grown.  

And God has commanded churches to do certain things, including to proclaim the Gospel, the Word of God, and to teach Christians how to live in obedience to Jesus.  Part of what they are commanded to do is to hold their members accountable for their sins. Hesitancy to be plugged in to a local church is a sign of profound spiritual immaturity. Refusing to be accountable and open up your life to fellow Christians is to be content with spiritual adolescence. If you have no one who can confront you on your sin, you are not living mature, healthy Christianity.

It’s also important to see that Paul does not command the Corinthian Christians who make up this church to go out into the city of Corinth and find sinners and tell them they can’t come to the services. Nor does he say to put out admitted unbelievers. In 5:9-13 he actually says not to do that. Instead it’s this man who is in their midst bearing the name of Christian who he says cannot stay in their midst. In v. 12 he says that there’s an inside and an outside, and that it’s the inside they are to judge.

Since Paul says there is an “out,” it follows that there is an “in.” Our church recognizes the “inside,” the “midst” who Paul wants this sort of a man put out of, by having membership. This is where we prayerfully covenant with someone we have good reason to believe is a true Christian who wants to be a functioning part of the body that is Velocity Church. Like wedding vows and wedding rings, we believe it’s an appropriate application of a Biblical concept. In this case the concept is that the church is a group of Christian people, and that a person must be removed from that group if they refuse to repent.  Paul wants this man puts out of the midst of this church, and since churches are people, not buildings, I don’t think he’s primarily interested in the address. It may involve that, but I believe his main focus is to get this man out of the midst of the people, the people who are this church. He wants this man removed from the midst of this people.

You can see Jesus referencing someone who is apparently a professing believer in the midst of a church being treated as one who is not any longer in the body in Matthew 18:15-20. And in 1 Corinthians 5 and Matthew 18 (and the pastoral epistles and elsewhere) we see these depictions of God’s will for the church to publicly say, “This one who was our brother will not repent despite our best efforts, and so he can no longer be treated like a brother.”

And when done right, this putting out is an act of love. And to not do it is unloving. 

One reason that you know that this discipline is loving in that Paul tells the church they ought to have mourned. This is not self-righteous. Church discipline should never be self-righteous or gossipy or snarky. Always remember, discipline is discipleship. It is teaching. It is applying some pain or pressure in order to save someone from greater pain or greater pressure. Paul wants this man’s flesh destroyed that his spirit might be saved. It is unloving to not deal with sin in an area in which you have authority. So it is unloving for the members of Velocity to not deal with sin in Velocity. It is unloving for parents to not deal with sin in their homes. It is unloving for husbands not to deal with sin in their wives. And it is unloving for you not to deal with sin your own heart. 

Another reason you know that this church discipline is supposed to be loving is Paul is hoping that this leads to the man being restored. Paul wants this man removed from the fellowship of these people as a part of the discipline of God that will hopefully restore him to fellowship with them. Paul has committed or handed this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit might be saved.

And it is loving for the rest of the church. Paul does not want sin spreading throughout a church. He says that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Unchecked, unsorrowful sin among a church’s people is church suicide. His encouragement in v. 7-8 is that we, as a church, really are unleavened. People who are Christ’s really have been made, in at least one sense righteous. They have been clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. 

And so they are to live like it. 

Clean out the old leaven, so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8

Christ has fundamentally changed the people who make up a church. If this crazy church at Corinth, with all her folly and sin, really was unleavened, then believe me when I say all of Jesus’ churches are! Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Jesus died as a bloody sacrifice for sin. But He did not spill His blood to cleanse addresses. He is not coming back for a Bride made up of church buildings (or church logos or church web sites or cool church names). Jesus shed His innocent blood for people, and those people make up a family called His Church. He has planted little instances, little seedlings of that family throughout the world, and He has cleansed them, and so commands them to live like it.

So how do we worship with sincerity and truth? What does worshiping in sincerity and truth, as opposed to hypocrisy and immorality, look like? I think Paul’s answer to this Corinthian church would be that it is an honest commitment to the Word of Word of God, that it is true heartfelt obedience to Jesus Christ and what He says is good. He would want them to hate sin and what it does (like he clearly does), and to love God and what He’s done (like he does). 

Paul is not here advocating for churches to retreat from sexually immoral (or otherwise wicked) unbelievers. Paul makes a clear line of demarcation, a huge distinction, between people of the world and people who bear the name of Christian. If someone claims to be a part of the brotherhood, then these principles begin to apply, because Christians need to be holy and churches need to be holy. That impulse to purge the world or totally hide from the world misunderstands what the church is. She is not a people meant to stay holy by running from the world, but a people made holy so she can run to the world. She is not a helpless baby meant to be quarantined from the world’s sick; she is a nurse with the only cure that can save them. True, she can’t become sick herself or she’ll be of no use to the dying, but she is meant to go out and offer the cure, not to run from them and hide herself.

But it is those who claim the Name of Christ who cannot be left to unrepentant sin as though everything is fine. We shouldn’t have confidence in our salvation if we are in sin and don’t desire to change. Paul makes clear that there is such a thing as a so-called Christian. V. 11 says, “But actually I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler, not even to eat with such a one.” And why? Love for the man, love for the church. So that he can be restored to God via being broken (v. 5), and because a little leaven leavens the whole lump (v. 6).  

God loves this man, He loves this church, and for those reasons this man must be put out of their midst.

True love seeks the well-being of the beloved. It wants the one it loves to be whole and healthy and happy. There is no way that you can really love someone, or some group of people, and turn a blind eye to sin. Sin kills. It destroys. It separates from God and it violates others (and even self). If we love our brothers and sisters, we must graciously confront them in their sin. If we love the church, we must remove those who claim Christ but won’t repent. 

Churches: If we love Jesus, if we love the church, if we love each other, we will not tolerate unrepentant sin.   

This Man Deserves It


For all his fornications, he is guilty.  For his selfish manipulations and lusts, every teenage violation of his future wife, he is unquestionably guilty. 

For all of his anger, his petty hatreds and grudges (which he so often carries deep under his skin, where he thinks no one can see), he is guilty.  The thoughts he sometimes has about people, the nastiness he wages against his fellow humans right there inside his skull, is appalling.  

For the thousands and thousands of lies he has told, too.  Big ones as a child and a young man, lies so ridiculous they’d be laughable if lying weren’t a sin against the God who always tells the truth.  And, as he’s gotten older, subtler ones.  Exaggerations, and little expressions on the face which were calculated to get a response but made to look like genuine emotion.    

And, oh, the pride.  Deep, poisonous, nearly constant pride.  Always believing he is more worthy of his needs being met than another.  Always making allowances for himself that he would never make for someone else.  The quiet belief he nurses in his heart that the reason the fallen brother or sister has tumbled is that he or she wasn’t quite enough like him.  The self-centered, self-focused, self-righteous clamoring for his own reputation, his own pleasure, his own validation without half as much, a tenth as much regard for the well-being of others.  Oh, believe me, this one is proud.  

For the cowardice, the meanness, the vengefulness, this man is irrefutably guilty. No one, not even God Himself can deny that, on his own standing, this Wade Thomas Jr, born at Good Samaritan Hospital in the Year of Our Lord 1985 (and having sinned every year since) is guilty as (and of) sin. 

There is no excuse.  No justification.  He had no valid reason for lust and brazen manipulation and gossip and deceit, he has no just cause for his anger and bitterness and idolatry of heart.  His head is in his hands because he knows this.  There is no defense he can mount.  There is no mitigating factor that will justify his willful, ignorant, faithless, rebellious wickedness.  

None.  He is guilty. 

Ahem.  

And now let this one speak.  

For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.  For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.  Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:13-21

Death is the sentence.  The serpent knew it in the Garden, though of course he lied (he always does).  Sin brings death, the only thing it can bring.  And so death is the sentence for Wade.  Shameful, inglorious, painful and God-forsaken death.  God gave life, sin brings death.  So Wade is owed it.  He merits it.  In at least one sense, he has asked for it.  

The executioner is ready.  The crowd is assembled.  

But the guilty man is not the one to die.  

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:13-14


Every guilt the serpent lays on this man is valid.  He sinned.  He did.  He did rage at his brethren and sin sexually and deceive people and play out his proud hypocrisy in the most sinister of ways.  If he isn’t the chief of sinners, he is certainly a lieutenant.  But here is where the serpent plays into his own undoing:  Since he is the father of lies, he rarely expects the full, undiluted, 80-proof truth.  When God says He loved this man, He really meant it.  And when He pledged from love, right there in that sin-stained Garden, that a son of man would crush this ancient liar’s head, He wasn’t just talking to talk.  

This love from God didn’t hinge on Wade’s faithfulness.  It preceded his faithfulness.  Beyond that, it superceded his unfaithfulness.  This God slew the dragon by being slain, and He gave pardon by taking on punishment.  He undid the sin and death Wade wrought by becoming sin and then dying. 

This God made Wade, gave Him a Law, watched him break it, and then bore the punishment Himself.  He is exactly who He has always claimed to be:  Good, holy, loving, and just.  And the truth will always undo a liar.  And, as the saying goes, it is also quite likely to set free.  

And so while Wade is, in at least one sense, guilty, the charge will not stand.  You cannot punish two men for his crimes.  The debt is real, but it is no longer his.  

The criminal’s cross has already been stained with man’s blood.  And the tomb has already had the body laid in it.  Sin brings death, and death it has brought.  Wade deserves to die, but in this great exchange called the Gospel, he gets to live.  By the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, he has been given unshakeable, eternal life.  

And the guarantee of that gift is that his Jesus Himself did not stay dead.  Look over there, on that hill.  

Like the charges against this guilty man, both cross and tomb are by now quite empty.  

My Worst Enemy


I won’t waste your time:  My worst enemy is my own sin.  

I am always tempted to look at what others have done to me, or are currently doing to me, or how I’m being shortchanged in a certain way as my biggest problem.  It makes sense to a shortsighted, self-centered mind.  

“The thing that’s really screwing up my life is that I’m not getting __________.”  

“Man, if I didn’t have to deal with _________ anymore…”

But the reality that my own sin is far more deadly, and robs me of far more joy and peace, than any other single thing.  My own sin kills far more of my peace, my friendships, my ministry than any single other person or circumstance.  
My idolatry is deadly, as I value pleasure and creature comforts more than communion with God.  “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13-14)

My anger and unforgiveness are deadly, as I hold a grudge in my heart against someone rather than trusting the Lord to deal with it.  “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’  To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:18-21)

My pride is deadly, as I think that such and such a thing would never happen to me, because I don’t make bad choices like so and so.  “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:  ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus:  God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner!  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’” (Luke 18:9-14)

These things are far more toxic to me than any gosippy coworker, any politician, any cultural trend, any career threat, any backbiting relative.  The sin in my heart poses a far greater threat to my joy than any external force that might come against me. 

But thankfully my worst enemy is the very thing my Savior and His Spirit offer, day by day, to free me from.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:13