Though it is to the eternal damage of the saints, ordinarily, when they yield to, and are overcome by temptations, yet Satan and other enemies of the saints by whom these temptations come, are always wholly disappointed in their temptations, and baffled in their design to hurt the saints, inasmuch as the temptation and the sin that comes by it, is for the saints’ good, and they receive a greater benefit in the issue, than if the temptation had not been, and yet less than if the temptation had been overcome.
–Jonathan Edwards, letter to Thomas Gillespie, Scottish pastor, 1746; in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Yale ed., 2:488-89
HT: Dane Ortlund of Strawberry- Rhubarb Theology
In a consumerist world where advertising reigns and ethical and spiritual ideas must kneel in the presence of the almighty market, we have become “insubstantial” people with “thin” selves. In other words, we are not deeply rooted in any sense.
Oftentimes, we don’t think profoundly; we don’t connect meaningfully; we don’t focus extendedly. We can all too easily flit through life, trying new experiences, inventing new selves through online media. We watch endless amounts of television, keep a constant vigil over our email accounts, and update 800 of our closest friends when we make a piece of toast, but we often cannot be bothered to read, or think, or delve into the lives of unbelievers who are everywhere around us.
We have focused on ourselves, pumping ourselves up through self-esteem exercises, redefining our sins as “tendencies” that require therapy of one kind or another, and discarding traditional marks of maturity to gratify desires we refuse to tame. In the process, we have not grown. We have shrunk.
Source: Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney, Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity (Moody Publishers, 2010) p41.