Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Inspiring Prose

A couple of Wednesday nights ago, in our lesson discussing the discipline of meditation, I admitted to the fact that poetry holds little appeal to me. My tastes run to the prosaic, (some may say uncouth).

However, I did note that a well formed paragraph can inspire me, and I thought I would share a few with you. For example, the wonderful expression of our victory in Christ, from the pen of the apostle Paul:

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created things, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

I have long stated that this passage is my favorite from scripture. Though not in poetic form, the sentiment expressed is sublime, and serves the poetic purpose of lifting the spirit and touching the soul.

Uninspired men have the ability to enlighten and delight as well. I would like to share two examples of such words that have opened to me an understanding of some aspect of God’s will. These two examples are not supplied for any particular purpose; simply to share with you some writing that has stuck with me over the years.

The first passage is from the pen of C.S. Lewis. He wrote a book called The Screwtape Letters, which is a fictional account of a “master tempter’s” instructions to his novice charge. The inexperienced demon was assigned to personally tempt a Christian newly born into the Lord. The passage under consideration relates the danger that humility poses to their purpose, and tactics that can be used to defeat it:

“Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact? All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility. Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, ‘By jove! I’m being humble,” and almost immediately pride — pride at his own humility — will appear. If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of this attempt—and so on, through as many stages as you please. But don’t try this too long, for fear you awake his sense of humour and proportion, in which case he will merely laugh at you and go to bed.” (pg. 63).

The final passage comes from the pen of Robertson L.Whiteside in his commentary on Romans. It is a simple and helpful definition of the conscience. The entire quote it too lengthy to reproduce here, but the gist of his thought is contained in the following:

“We are getting at conscience when we think of it as that feeling of pleasure when we do what we think is right and of pain when we do what we think is wrong. It is that which backs up our moral judgment…

“But no matter how we have been taught, we can expect our conscience to urge us to do what we have judged to be right, unless it has been deadened by long indulgence in things we know to be wrong. It seems to me that a live, tender conscience is infallible. But as to moral judgment, no man can safely say that he is right on everything. Gain all the information you can so that you can form correct judgments, and give heed to the urge of conscience.” (pg. 59).

Sometimes words don’t give pause because they are pretty, but because they so clearly establish a truth or grant an insight. Thoughts such as these are worthy of Paul’s exhortation regarding meditation (cf. Philippians 4:8), and I commend these few examples, both inspired and uninspired, for your consideration.