Blog Posts by David Mathis

Do You Pervert the Grace of God?

David Mathis

Sometimes the grace of God needs defending. Not as much from the world and the devil as from ourselves.

Those of us who love his grace most will take the greatest care, with his help, to guard it from perversion. Because God’s amazing grace has freed us to know ourselves as profoundly sinful, we will take precautions to keep ourselves from distorting the grace of God — our very life…

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We Will Be Like Him

David Mathis

It’s almost too good to be true.

The Christian doctrine of glorification is stunning, to say the least. Not only we will see Jesus in all his new-creation glory, but we will share with him in it. “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

If the Scriptures didn’t make it so plain, we wouldn’t have the gall to…

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The Seven-Year Itch and the Joy of Lifelong Marriage

David Mathis

German politician Gabriele Pauli shocked her conservative party and sent waves through news outlets worldwide when she proposed in September 2007 that marriage should only last seven years.

Described at the time as “Bavaria’s most glamorous politician,” the 50-year-old, twice-divorced, motorcycle-riding Pauli campaigned for party head, in part, with the hopes of institutionalizing what some have called “the seven-year itch.” Her plan was that marriages would automatically dissolve after seven…

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Worship Like a Hedonist

David Mathis

Let me encourage you to take a very hedonistic approach to worship this weekend, and to every corporate worship gathering.

We Christians don’t believe that human pleasure in itself is the highest good, but we should believe that finding our pleasure in God is essential in our participating in the highest good — the glory of God. As we love to celebrate here at Desiring God, God is most glorified

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Bring the Bible Home to Your Heart

David Mathis

We all want to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

Who wants to feel the failure or share in the shame of being pegged like one “who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror . . . and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:23–24)? It would seem like Bible application is an essential spiritual discipline to consciously…

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The Secret in Every Circumstance

David Mathis

Don’t be fooled by the popular locker room read on Philippians 4:13.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” — score a touchdown, hit a homerun, climb a mountain, run a marathon, win the game with a finger to the sky for the Lord. Maybe some well-meaning jock signed his name with “Phil. 4:13” in your high-school yearbook, as a little nod to Jesus, who gifted him…

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Sharpen Your Affections with Fasting

David Mathis

Fasting has fallen on hard times — at least, it seems, among our overstuffed bellies in the American church. I speak as one of the well-fed.

Sure, you’ll find your exceptions here and there. Some pockets even prize the countercultural enough to steer their vehicles into the ditch of asceticism. But they are vastly outnumbered by the rest of us veering toward the opposite shoulder. The dangers of asceticism are…

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Read, Reflect, Write (Repeat)

David Mathis

You are a writer.

Even if it’s just email. Even if it’s hardly anything of significance. Even if you’d never self-identify as a “writer,” or ever consider trying to make a living at something you’re so bad at.

But if you’re literate, chances are you’re not just reading words, but writing them as well. Now, you likely aren’t a very good writer if you don’t think of yourself as one…

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The Peril and Potential of Youth Athletics

David Mathis

Remember, it’s only a game.

That’s an important prompt in youth athletics — not just for the kids, but even more so for coaches bent on winning and parents pressing to live vicariously through their children.

Against the backdrop of our societal obsession with sports is the craziness that has become youth athletics. Once it was just a game; the goal was a good time. Now it can feel like…

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Five Benefits of Corporate Worship

David Mathis

Worshiping Jesus together may be the single most important thing we do. It plays an indispensable role in rekindling our spiritual fire, and keeping it burning. Corporate worship brings together God’s word, prayer, and fellowship, and so makes for the greatest means of God’s ongoing grace in the Christian life.

But thinking of worship as a means can be dangerous. True worship is fundamentally an experience of the heart,…

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Life’s Deepest Pains for Your Greatest Pleasure

David Mathis

This is your verse. If you believe in the God of the Bible, and you love him, all the bounty of one of his greatest promises is yours.

God’s staggering pledge of Romans 8:28 is that “all things” — not just the good, but even and especially the bad — work for your good. Life’s worst pains are for your eternal joy.

All things is a massive phrase. It’s universal,…

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Kindle the Fire in Corporate Worship

David Mathis

You were made for more than private devotions.

As nice as it can be to tuck ourselves away in some nook and cranny, all by our lonesome, and read the Scriptures we want to read, pray the prayers we prefer, play the songs we like, memorize the verses we pick, and fast from food when it’s convenient — as important as it is to pursue a regular rhythm of “private…

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When Joy Is Hard to Come By

David Mathis

You’re not alone in your struggle for joy.

With remaining sin in our hearts, brokenness in our lives, and fallenness in our world, every Christian experiences seasons where we simply don’t feel the joy. And many of the “greats” in the history of the church have been some of her most downcast and depressed.

The question is not whether we will one day feel the angst of David’s heart, “Restore…

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Sing a New Song

David Mathis

We all love old music. Whether it’s centuries old or even just a few months, the tunes we enjoy most are unavoidably the ones we already know. And there’s no getting around it. Music has a strange power to capture thoughts and feelings from the past, recent or long ago, and send them streaming into our present at the sound of just a few bars.

It’s a common experience to…

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Wash in the Waters Again

David Mathis

Visible words. That was the Reformers’ term for baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

In complement to the spoken words of gospel preaching, these twin rhythms of the gathered church are dramatizations of the grace of God. These “visible words” rehearse for us the center of our faith through images and actions in the God-given pictures of washing, touching, smelling, and tasting. Alongside preaching, they reveal to us again and…

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Jesus’s Closest Companion

David Mathis

The Holy Spirit. There is “something wonderfully mysterious” about him, says pastor and theologian Sinclair Ferguson.

He is the third person of the Trinity, the “self-effacing” member. He works ever in tandem with God’s word — incarnate, spoken, and written. He is one of the Christian’s greatest sources of comfort. And too often he is one of the church’s greatest sources of controversy.

No Other Friend Like This

But before…

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Grow in Grace at the Table

David Mathis

The Lord’s Supper is an extraordinary meal. To be sure, it is simply an ordinary means of God’s grace to his church, but as eating and drinking go, it can be an unusually powerful experience.

Along with baptism, the Supper is one of Jesus’s two specially instituted sacraments for the signifying, sealing, and strengthening of his new-covenant people. Call them ordinances if you please. The true issue is not…

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Spy Wednesday

David Mathis

Wednesday went quietly. Too quietly.

With the previous three days awash in drama — Sunday’s triumphal entry, Monday’s temple cleansing, and Tuesday’s temple controversies — now Wednesday, April 1, A.D. 33, comes like the calm before the storm.

But out of sight, lurking in the shadows, evil is afoot. The church has long called it “Spy Wednesday,” as the dark conspiracy against Jesus races forward, not just from enemies outside,…

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Putting Golf in Its Place

David Mathis

It only takes a few bars of “Augusta” to confirm that spring is here. There is a promise of new life in the sound of the Masters theme song and the sight of electric green grass at Augusta National. The sun has risen in Georgia on the just and unjust and soon will come our way as well.

The game of golf has tied itself to the beauty…

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Preach the Gospel to Yourself

David Mathis

No one is more influential in your life than you are. Because no one talks to you more than you do.

So observes Paul Tripp — and in doing so, he accents our need to daily preach the gospel to ourselves.

In our sin, we constantly find our responses to life in our fallen world to be disconnected from the theology that we confess. Anger, fear, panic, discouragement stalk our…

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Six Lessons in Good Listening

David Mathis

Listening is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do, and one of the hardest.

In a sense, listening is easy — or hearing is easy. It doesn’t demand the initiative and energy required in speaking. That’s why “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The point is that hearing is easy, and faith is not an expression of our activity, but our receiving…

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Warm Yourself at the Fires of Meditation

David Mathis

We were made to meditate. God designed us with the capacity to pause and ponder. He means for us to not just hear him, but to reflect on what he says.

It is a distinctively human trait to stop and consider, to chew on something with the teeth of our minds and hearts, to roll some reality around in our thoughts and press it deeply into our feelings, to look…

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‘Divergent’ Lesson in Human Depravity

David Mathis

It’s rare to find a major motion picture that paints humanity, as a whole, to be this bad.

Not only was it human evil that nearly destroyed the world in some great war, but now it is human depravity that threatens to undo it all again. They sought to guard against this very thing when they divided society into five factions: Abnegation to counter selfishness, Erudite to stand against ignorance,…

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Remember Saint Patrick

David Mathis

Saint Patty’s Day is for the pagans.

You might say it that way, and then carefully wash your Christian hands of all the carousing and empty revelry that makes all things Irish into an excuse for a godless spring party. But you might say the same thing, and mean it not as a call to circle the wagons, but to charge the hill.

Deep beneath much of what the day…

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