“Prayer is the link that connects earth with Heaven! Live near to God, and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities!
When you gaze upon the sun–it makes everything else dark. When you taste honey–it makes everything else tasteless. Likewise, when your soul feeds on Jesus–it takes away the sweetness of all earthly things–pride, pleasure, fleshly lusts, all lose their sweetness.
‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!’ (Hebrews 12:2). Keep a continued gaze! So will the world be crucified to you–and you unto the world!”
– Robert Murray M’Cheyne
“Sex is given for our good. But God gave sex to be the servant of God and never the slave of lust. God intends for love to express itself in the commitment of marriage, and only then for intimacy to unite us in the joys of sexual love.”
– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.143
“The prophet Jonah, in the digestive tract of a great fish beneath the Mediterranean Sea, made this observation: ‘Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could have been their’ (Jonah 2:8).
An idol is something more than a grotesque statue with big lips and a ruby in its navel. It’s a God-substitute. It’s something–anything–that we value higher than God. In order to cling to such an idol, we make a trade.
Our sexual behavior reveals who or what rules our lives (see Romans 1:18-29). Sexual sin is idolatry because it puts our desires in the place of God.
Those who turn from God to embrace a God-substitute suffer terrible loss. Why? Because they were made to find joy in God, not the substitute. They swap God’s present and future blessing for something they can immediately see, taste, or feel. But that something never satisfies.
– Randy Alcorn, The Purity Principle, p.12
“Bring your lust to the gospel. Not for relief, but for further conviction of your guilt. Look on Him whom you have pierced, and let it trouble you. Say to your soul, ‘What have I done? What love, what mercy, what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this how I pay back the Father for His love? Is this how I thank the Son for His blood? Is this how I respond to the Holy Spirit for His grace? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, and the Holy Spirit has chosen to dwell in? How can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before Him? Do I count fellowship with Him of so little value that, for this vile lust’s sake, I have hard;y left Him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great a salvation?
‘What shall I say to the Lord? His love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation – I have despised all of them! I have considered them as nothing, that I might habour lust in my heart. Have I seen God as my Father, that I might provoke Him to His face? Was my soul washed that there might be room for new defilements? Shall I seek to disappoint the purpose of the death of Christ? Shall I grieve the Holy Spirit, Who has sealed me unto the day of redemption?’ Allow your conscience to consider these things every day. See if you conscience can resist the way in which these considerations aggravate guilt. If this does not cause your conscience to sink and melt, I fear that your case is very dangerous.”
– John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, p.78-79
“We must hate all sin, as sin, and not just that which troubles us. Love for Christ, because He went to the cross, and hate the sin that sent Him there, is the solid foundation of true spiritual mortification. To seek mortification only because a sin troubles us proceeds from self-love. Why do you with all diligence and earnestness seek to mortify this sin? Because it troubles you and takes away your peace, and fills your heart with sorrow, trouble, and fear, and because you do not have rest through it? Yes, but, friend, you have neglected prayer and reading! You have been vain and loose in your conversation with other things. These are just as sinful as the one that troubles you. Jesus Christ bled for them also. Why do you not set yourself against them? If you hate sin as sin, and every evil way, you would be watchful against everything that grieves and disquiets the Spirit of God.”
– John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, p.50-51
One of my favorite rappers, shai linne, performing one of my favorite songs, describing the most significant event in history.
Here’s another version of it on Vimeo: The Cross (3 Hours) from The Lamp Lounge on Vimeo.
“The first thing in mortification is the weakening of the habit of sin or lust, so that it shall not, with that violence, earnestness and frequency, rise up and conceive, provoke, entice, and disquiet as it naturally has a tendency to do (James 1:14-15). This is called ‘crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires’ (Galatians 5:24). We seek to take away that about it which gives it strength and power. We aim at the killing of the body of death ‘day by day’ (see 2 Corinthians 4:16).
When a man is nailed to a cross, he at first struggles, strives, and cries out with great strength and might; but as his blood and spirits waste, his strivings are faint and seldom, his cries hoarse, and scarce to be heard. So when a man first determines to conquer a lust or sin, and to deal with it in earnest, it struggles with great violence to break loose; it cries with earnestness and impatience to be satisfied and relieved. By mortification, the blood and spirits of it are let out, it moves seldom and faintly, cries sparingly, and is scarce heard in the heart; it may sometimes have a dying pang that makes an appearance of great vigor and strength, but it is quickly over, especially if it kept from considerable success.
– John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, p.34-35
“‘But how does the Spirit give us victory?’ By our living in the Spirit and walking after the Spirit. As we abound in the graces of the Spirit and walk according to them, the fruits of the Spirit restrict the fruits of the flesh, because the works of the flesh are contrary to the works of the Spirit. This renewing of us by the Holy Spirit, as it is called (Titus 3:5), is one great way of mortification. He causes us to grow, thrive, flourish, and abound in the graces which are contrary, opposite, and destructive to all the works of the flesh, and contrary to the thriving of indwelling sin itself.
By the effective destruction of the root and habit of sin, to weaken, destroy, and take it away. He is called a ‘Spirit of judgment and of burning’ (Isa. 4:4), in really consuming and destroying our lusts. He takes away the stony heart by an almighty work. He begins this work, as to its kind, and then carries it on by degrees. He is the fire that burns up the very root of lust.
He brings the cross of Christ into the heart of a sinner by faith, and gives communion with Christ in His death, and fellowship in His sufferings.”
– John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, p.18
“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife. The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies, but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of the earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”
– John Piper, A Hunger For God, p.14