Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Useful Thought

The following excerpt is from Martin Loyd-Jones Spiritual Depression, which as I am slowly reading is proving useful in a lot more ways than its stated purpose. The books intent is to provide practical, Biblical advice about being a happy Christian. It is striking the many ways in which we find ourselves unhappy, and Loyd-Jones urges us to take ourselves "in hand" and search out and destroy this soul depressing lies.
As I think about life in academia I find this advice useful- as I imagine it being useful to many others in nearly any other profession:
There are some people who seem to think that it is wrong for a Christian ever to use common sense. They seem to think that they must always do everything in an exclusively spiritual manner. Now that seems to me to be very unscriptural. The Christian is in no respect inferior to the unbeliever; he is always superior. The Christian can not only everything that the unbeliever does, he can do even more. That is the way to look at the Christian. He is a man who is to apply common sense to situations, and it is right and legitimate that he should do so... It does not matter at what level you conquer the devil as long as you conquer him. If you can defeat him by using common sense and ordinary wisdom, do so.

Is "common sense" simply the most general and most generally revealed revelation of God? If by common sense we mean the practical use of the mind in His image, then it certainly is so. The general and special revelation distinction which is so useful in certain areas of understanding is prohibitive in this case.
What Loyd-Jones does not develop, it is outside of the scope of his book, is the implication of what he is saying for the Christian in the workplace and public sphere. He should walk boldly, using common sense and reason to "defeat the devil," (which may simply mean do a good job, or get along with a co-worker), and appealing to the more finely revealed will of God when necessary. Some things may drive us to desperate prayer, but prayerfully we might not overly trouble ourselves when in other times common sense will suffice, and to God's glory.

1 comment:

  1. The danger is that "common sense" seems to me to so often be the vehicle by which we try to lay hands upon our salvation. In my experience the inability of common sense to solve problems has been the impetus that drove me back to a complete dependance upon God. I suppose this experience is part of only one aspect of troubles? (You mentioned a dichotomy in your last sentence) I guess in some ways I just have difficulty understanding: "It does not matter at what level you conquer the devil as long as you conquer him." On what level do we have the ability to overthrow the devil and on what level are we completely dependent on God to defeat the devil for us? This doesn't seem to reconcile to me...

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