Proverbs for Christian Blogging: The Necessity of Fixed Eyes and Guarded Hearts

It was my second concussion that was the most embarrassing.  It was a rainy Friday afternoon, when I finally had the opportunity to play football with the big boys.  (Of course, I’m not really sure that it was rainy—I was concussed, remember—but it sounds good anyways).

Here I was 4’8, 12 years old, and finally playing football with my dad and his friends on lunch break.  Being the short kid all through elementary school (and even now in adult life) I know that I’m going to be underestimated until I prove myself.  In football I would never get a pass thrown my way until I could show my ninja skills by intercepting passes on defense.

We had been playing for about 10-15 minutes and I still was getting very little action.  Then, it happened.  Nobody else must have been open.  The quarterback threw a pass my way.  I caught it and took off running like the wind (probably more of a minor breeze).  I was really gaining some yards, juking and spinning, and getting past all those older guys.  I was yards away from the touchdown, when all of a sudden I found myself at home on the couch.

What happened you ask?  Did one of the big guys catch me?  Nope.  My foe was much more gangly and solid than any of my dads co-workers.  My demise came from a steadily rusting jungle gym.  (One of those things that is pictured off to the side).  I ran smack into that thing full speed.  It knocked me out and ruined my chance at stardom and my dad’s opportunity to eat his ham sandwich during lunch break.

Here I learned what Proverbs taught years ago:

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. (Proverbs 4:25 ESV)

In other words if you are too busy juking and spinning and looking behind at the guys chasing you, then you’ll miss the rock solid jungle gym that is getting ready to smack you in the face.

Focused Blogging

I have found blogging to be similar to not running into a jungle gym.  There are a million things that can distract bloggers.  Tons of controversy.  Lots of books being written and ideas being tossed around.  Many solutions to perceived problems.  A myriad of interpretations of Scripture and application points being proffered.  It can be quite easy to get swept up in the ever changing world wide web.

Faithful bloggers will have a consistent goal (one that is grounded in the unchanging gospel) and keep their eyes on that; otherwise you’ll just be tossed to and fro by the ever changing online climate.  For me I have made it my aim to “so live and so study and so serve and so preach and so write that Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen God, be the only boast of this generation”.  That’s a tweak of a John Piper quote in Don’t Waste Your Life.

Guarding Your Heart

The means to “fixing your gaze” and “putting away crooked speech” (4:24) and “pondering the path of your feet” (4:26) is found in Proverbs 4:23.  “Keep your heart with vigilance for from it flow the springs of life.”  If my heart is not kept then it will be distracted.  I will begin chasing after the wind.  My writing will be for personal gain instead of for the majesty of Christ being proclaimed.  Therefore, I must consistently guard my heart.  If my heart can be distracted then my blogging will be distracted.

Again I find Charles Bridges instructive:

The man of God must only have one standard…He must often put aside the Church, no less than the world, that he may listen more closely to the command—Walk before me.  He must discern and crush the first motions of corruption; guarding every avenue of sin—the senses—the memory—the imagination—the touch—the taste.  He must walk by the straight rule of the Gospel; else will he not only bring discomfort upon himself, but stumbling to the Church.  A single eye, steadily fixed upon the One Object, will make the path luminous.  (From Commentary on Proverbs, 55)

It is vital that we blog with a fixed eye and a guarded heart.

Comments

  1. says

    We often learn the hard way that we need to observe the menial elements in life. Preoccupation with our own interests and goals, while ignoring others and/or precepts and/or some factor, is likely to result in an encounter with reality (the jungle gym) as in your case, Mike, or a dog as in my case. I had started for school one morning, while Grandma said to me, “Jim, don’t you take the short-cut or Bob Todd’s old dog is likely to get you.” I replied, “I won’t Grandma.” When I got to the short-cut (across the end of plowed fields, a closer, more pleasant way to go), I thought of Grandma’s advice all of minus 5 seconds (which is to say I didn’t think at all). The most useless words Grandma said to me that day were, “I told you so.” By then I knew with a terrible certainty impressed upon me by Bob’s old dog. He had torn a big plug out the back of my thigh. Some one saved me from a worse fate by yelling curses at the dog (the only time I ever knew a cussin’ to do any good).

  2. charley says

    Thank you Dr. Willingham for your insights. Most of us are confined to a specific area while few of us would fit the Renaissance type. Many times I’ve drawn conclusions based upon extensive research in one area. When I’ve looked at the ‘big picture’ however, I came to see that my perspective broadened, and I no longer knew what I thought i did. Years back I glanced at the writings of Quigley. I thought about his thesis and considered its plausibility. Then I looked at it in the context of history as a whole and said this couldn’t possibly be true. It must be a case of lopsightedness. He no doubt caught wind of something. But it wasn’t any kind of conspiracy in the sense of which he thought about it. It was probably mroe like a bunch of heady Edwardians in a drawing room with megalomaniac-like aspirations. Nothing serious. As for Sovereign Grace, I know it’s true, but I also know we can draw the wrong conclusions from it. It must be considered in light of everything the Bible says and not just the verses that speak immediatley to it. It’s always true, but true in a sense in which we probably can’t fathom. Jonathan Edwards was a brilliant fellow and has made a comeback in seminaries recently. His postmillennial theory probably grew out of a colonial context of great hope. We know the church is the last, best hope of the world, but I think Barth had it right when he said that Christ would return apocalyptically and that the kingdom would culminate cataclysmically. When that occurs, I do think the vision of the prophets and the words of Paul will come true—whatever has not yet been will then be—because this earth will yield to the kingdom of God. Israel looked forward to Jerusalem and we’ve been grafted into that covenant with its promise. We too, look eagerly for the New Jerusalem, a world transformed. Only together with Gentiles could the Jews know and enter into this hope fully. Upon us have come the end of the ages; the time when Christ has been made King and when the next great event is his visible return.

  3. says

    Charley: If I depended solely on Quigley, I would put some stock in what you say. However, I have other means at hand by which to check what he had to say> You ever read C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, his sci/fi trilogy, esp. Perelandra in which he names one of the conspirators in an otherwise list of fictional conspirators? You must be want to pick a bone with me, since I did not mention these issues above. The amount of works available on the conspiracy go back for two centuries, at least, and probably constitute more than a quarter of a million volumes and likely a great deal more. As to Edwards, his Humble Attempt is at the heart of the prayer and effort that inspired the Great Century of Missions. And I did not get my justification for Post Millenialism from Edwards at all, though I did welcome his contribution, once I became persuaded from my own study of the Bible. Barth would have a hard time persuading me of anything he had to say, except for his stand against Hitler and Nazism…Why? Because he did not believe in the Bible as being the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God. He was too much subject to the higher critical approaches. You could not have quoted a less appealing theologian, unless you had cited Bultmann, Brunner, and a few others whose names escape me now.

  4. charley says

    Conspiracy theories have always been around. One could go back to the Papist/Anglican endgame in England, which began at the time of Elizabeth I. Or one could begin in the Enlightenmen with the French revolution and look at every secular one thereafter. Still others may go back to the American colonial period as different groups jockeyed for power. However, I fail to see how any of it amounts to anything in the broader scheme of things, i.e., history which we know to be governed by God.

  5. charley says

    As for Karl Barth, I do think he was correct about the kingdom of God. Paul never spoke as though it would come in any sort of structural way. The kingdom of God comes as person after person is saved. So we know God has most certainly returned to his temple never again to depart!

    • Christiane says

      CHARLEY,
      what is it specifically that you believe that Karl Barth taught concerning the Kingdom of God?

      • charley says

        That it would arrive visibly and apolcalyptically at the last day, though it has already come 2000 years ago in Christ and his church.

    • says

      Charley: I am feel sure Barth very likely got somethings right, but it did not help for him to have failed to come to grips with that method of study that developed out the Enlightenment in France and England (e.g., Voltaire, Hume, et.al.) and was baptized by German Scholarship in the 1800s and baptized with piety by British and American scholars in the 1900s. One can hardly avoid the dead ends, when one lets one’s enemies set the agenda. As to the conspiracy issue, it does not work to well to simply dismiss a serious problem in a cavalier manner, when God does not as Dan. 2 suggests with the stone smiting the old image in its feet and destroying it and then becoming a great mountain and filling the whole earth. Besides, did you not read Tragedy and Hope and note the theology advocated and then note that these folks had been around with this stuff through their ancestors and predecessors for over 200 years and that the same stuff was infiltrated into the camps of those who preached the opposite, with the effect of polarization and splitting, and “Voila!” an achieved aim of ending the force of the First and Second Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions which threaten to undo those folks control over the earth..which was noted in one source in the 1800s as one told of being able to make a decision in one room and have it implemented in a nation half way around the globe…within a matter of weeks. They have come into the camp of the Lord as Satan came upon our Lord’s ground at Golgotha where is his success turned out to be his greatest defeat, and we trust it will eventually prove to be the same as the Sovereign Lord wins the whole earth and every soul upon it, beginning hopefully with this generation, and continuing for a 1000 generations and perhaps 1000s of worlds in order for their to be enough souls in Heaven for the Lord to make a humorous remark as in Rev. 7:9, to the comfort and comradery of his children and servants.

  6. charley says

    Yes, it fills the whole earth. I don’t think that implies postmillennialism, though. As for the theology, I don’t believe arminianism and calvinism should be played off against each other. A simple acknowledgement of the gospel is in order.