Thursday, February 17, 2011

Intentional Failure

"Some set up a wrong standard of sanctification before their eyes, and, failing to attain it, waste their lives in repeated sessions from church to church, chapel to chapel, sect to sect, in the vain hope that they will find what they want.

There were people whose whole religion seemed to consist in going about complaining of their own corruptions, and telling everyone that they could do nothing of themselves... But I never like such complaints when I see ground for suspecting, as I often do, that they are only a cloak to cover spiritual laziness, and an excuse for spiritual sloth."
-J.C. Ryle in Holiness

These are two separate descriptions from two different chapters, but the first paragraph struck me as leading to the second. If we let ourselves get lazy and slothful, we will want to withdraw from people who start to sense it (usually caused by rebuke). And then as a way of hiding it from our new friends we self-depreciate or complain about our "corruption" to mask the root cause: laziness. In other words, we setup unattainable goals out of laziness, never intending to reach them, and then "confess" our inability to hide our intentional system of failure. This was eye opening for me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


"For many years I looked at life like a case at law, a series of proofs. When you're young you prove how brave you are, or smart; then, what a good lover; then, a good father; finally, how wise or powerful. But underlying it all, I see now, there was a presumption. That I was moving on an upward path toward some elevation, where I would be justified, or even condemned. I think now that my disaster really began when I looked up one day, and the bench was empty. No judge in sight. And all that remained was the endless argument with oneself, the pointless litigation of existence before an empty bench. Which, of course, is another way of saying, despair."

- Quentin in After the Fall by Arthur Miller

Tim Keller used this in a sermon and I thought it was so powerful in showing that outward works will never grant an inward peace.