by Wesley Hill. Brian is reading it for an ethics class. I'm reading it so I can understand and love my neighbors well. However, it's teaching me so much more than I expected when I apply its content to my own sin-tendencies. Warning--it's wordy and kinda heady. Work through it--it's worth it.
"Engaging with God and entering the transformative life of the church does not mean we get a kind of "free pass," and unconditional love that leaves us where we are. Instead, we get a fiercely demanding love, a divine love that will never let us escape from its purifying, renovating, and ulitmately healing grip.
"And this means that our pain--the pain of having our deeply ingrained (sinful) inclinations and desires blocked and confronted by God's demand for purity in the gospel--far from being a sign of our failure to live the life God wants, may actually be the mark of our faithfulness. We groan in frustration because of our fidelity to the gospel's call. And though we may miss out in the short run on lives of personal fulfillment (by giving in to the sin), in the long run the cruelest thing that God could do would be to leave us alone with our desires, to spare us the affliction of his refining care.
"'Not only does God in Christ take people as they are: He takes them in order to transform them into what He wants them to be,' writes Andrew Walls. In light of this, is it any surprise that we (sinners) must experience such a transformation...?" p. 68
I find this very helpful to persevere and to find joy in a trial, namely that I'll be a sinner till I die. There IS a point to the struggle. And God is good to confront me in my sin, thereby bringing on the struggle. And the fact that I'm struggling should encourage me that I'm fighting that sin.
There's more good stuff where this came from. Maybe I'll post it. Maybe you'll have to buy the book.