top of page

169 Best Quotes From Live No Lies By John Mark Comer (2023)

1. “In this new religion of the self, what our ancestors called chastity is now called oppression if it’s externally imposed or repression if it’s internally imposed. What they called self-discipline or self-control, we call, honestly, sin. In a worldview where desire is sacrosanct, the ultimate sin is to not follow your heart. As another theologian, Cornelius Plantinga, observed, “In such a culture…the self exists to be explored, indulged, and expressed but not disciplined or restrained.”


2. “The sexual liberation revolution of the 1960's set in motion a cascade effect: the reversal of the long-standing moral consensus around promiscuity (which separated sex from marriage) worked in tandem with the advent of birth control and the legalization of abortion (which separated sex from pro-creation), which moved to the legalization of no-fault divorce (which turned a covenant into a contract and separated sex from intimacy and fidelity), then to tinder and hookup culture (which separated sex from romance and turned it into a way to "get your needs met"), From there it's moved on to the LGBTQI+ revolution (which separated sex from the male-female binary), the current transgender wave (which is an attempt to separate gender from biological sex), and the nascent polyamory movement (an attempt to move beyond two-person relationships). Amid the revolution, the questions nobody seems to even be asking are, is this making us better people? More loving people? Or even happier people? Are we thriving in a way we weren't prior to "liberation"?”


3. “Every time we sow to the flesh—or put another way, every time we give in to our flesh’s desire to sin—we plant something in the soil of our hearts, which then begins to take root, grow, and, eventually, yield the harvest of a deformed nature. . . . Thankfully, the same is true of the Spirit. Every time you sow to the Spirit and invest the resources of your mind and body into nurturing your inner man or woman’s connection to the Spirit of God, you plant something deep in the humus of your central fulcrum, which, over time, takes root and bears the fruit of a Christlike character.”


4. “As a result, Evagrius penned a short book called Talking Back: A Monastic Handbook for Combating Demons. Best subtitle ever.”


5. “Here’s my best shot at a definition of agape love: A compassionate commitment to delight in the soul of another and to will that person’s good ahead of your own, no matter the cost to yourself Love is the desire not to take but to give. It’s the settled intention of the heart to promote good in the life of another. To see the beauty inherent in another soul and help them come to see it as well.”


6. “our strongest desires are not actually our deepest desires.”


7. “Everything starts with deceptive ideas, or lies we believe (put our trust in and live by) about reality—mental maps that come from the devil, not Jesus, and lead to death, not life. But deceptive ideas get as far as they do because they appeal to our disordered desires, or our flesh. And then the world comes in to complete the three enemies’ circular loop. Our disordered desires are normalized in a sinful society, which functions as a kind of echo chamber for the flesh. A self-validating feedback loop where we’re all telling each other what we want (or what our flesh wants) to hear.”


8. “Whether you define church as a Sunday gathering around a stage, a much smaller community around a table, or, as I would recommend, a mixture of both, we can’t follow Jesus alone.” (p. 229)


9. “Saint Augustine said it well: “Free choice is sufficient for evil, but hardly for good.”22”


10. “Our war against the three enemies of the soul is not a war of guns and bombs. It’s not against other people at all. It’s a war on lies. And the problem is less that we tell lies and more that we live them; we let false narratives about reality into our bodies, and they wreak havoc in our souls.”


11. “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature…. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.”


12. “In the pre-Freud West, human flourishing was about saying yes to the right desires, the higher desires for love, and no to the lower desires, the baser, more appetite kind of desires. And you would navigate your desires by the mental maps that were handed down to you by a trusted but external authority source -ideally, Jesus himself, as his teachings come to us through the New Testament - in order to not repeat the mistakes of previous generations and to carry forward those generations' cumulative wisdom. After all, you're not the first human to ever live. Why repeat other people's mistakes?” P. 115


13. “The goal of reading Scripture is not information but spiritual formation. To take on the “mind of Christ.”22 To actually think like Jesus thinks. To fill your mind with the thoughts of God so regularly and deeply that it literally rewires your brain, and from there, your whole person.”


14. “In fact, for those of us who follow Jesus, we choose, of our own free will, to place ourselves under external authority-that of God himself, as mediated through Scripture, and, to a degree, our church. We do this because we believe authority is not inherently oppressive but, similar to parenting for children, a training ground for us to learn how to master our flesh and grow into people of love. Through trusted sources of authority, we get access to reality. And when authority is used well, with wisdom and compassion, we grow and mature into the kind of people who live in congruence with reality and, as a result, have the capacity to handle even more freedom.” P. 140-141


15. “Every follower of Jesus, in every culture, has to constantly ask the question, In what ways have I been assimilated into the host culture? Where have I drifted from my identity and inheritance? The temptation for us in the West is less to atheism and more to a DIY faith that's a mix of the Way of Jesus, consumerism, secular sex ethics, and radical individualism.” P. 228


16. “For millennia, followers of Jesus have immersed their minds in Scripture, not just to gather data, memorize factoids, and get the right answers on a theology test. Doctrine does matter—very much—but not to “pass the test” and get into heaven. It matters because we become like our vision of God. The goal of reading Scripture is not information but spiritual formation. To take on the “mind of Christ.”22 To actually think like Jesus thinks. To fill your mind with the thoughts of God so regularly and deeply that it literally rewires your brain, and from there, your whole person.”


17. “Doctrine does matter — very much — but not to "pass the test" and get into heaven. It matters because we become like our vision of God. The goal of reading Scripture is not information but spiritual formation. To take on the "mind of Christ. "To actually think like Jesus thinks. To fill your mind with the thoughts of God so regularly and deeply that it literally rewires your brain, and from there, your whole person.” P. 88


18. “Working theory of spiritual formation: It’s by spirit and truth that we are transformed into the image of Jesus and set free to live in line with all that is good, beautiful, and true. It’s by isolation and lies that we are deformed into the image of the devil and enslaved in a vicious cycle of disorder and death.”


19. “My convictions run deep, yes, but I’m a firm believer in antidiscrimination laws. We live in a pluralistic nation, and I respect that, even enjoy it. Let me say it again: I don’t have a political agenda here; my concern is for disciples of Jesus. My “agenda” is to strengthen your faith in Jesus’s mental maps as reality. My point is this: we’ve been taught—and at times, the church has aided and abetted secularism here—that religious ideas like good, evil, and God can’t be known; they can only be taken on faith. But for Jesus and the writers of Scripture, faith is based on knowledge. It’s a kind of deep trust in God that is grounded in reality.”


20. “Of people who refuse Jesus’s invitation to follow him into love, he said, “First they will not, in the end, they cannot.”


21. “Character is destiny.”


22. “These ideas became traditional because so many people realized they led to human flourishing. But in our post-Christian, deconstructionist zeitgeist, they've become radical yet again. We must discover ‘the joy of conviction in a culture of compromise.’" P. 234


23. “I rarely read political books, but I can’t stop thinking about Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed. In context, he’s writing about the social crisis of modern America, but honestly, I can’t think of a better one-paragraph biblical theology of the world: In this world, gratitude to the past and obligations to the future are replaced by a nearly universal pursuit of immediate gratification: culture, rather than imparting the wisdom and experience of the past so as to cultivate virtues of self-restraint and civility, becomes synonymous with hedonic titillation, visceral crudeness, and distraction, all oriented toward promoting consumption, appetite, and detachment. As a result, superficially self-maximizing, socially destructive behaviors begin to dominate society.14”


24. “Willpower is at its best when it does what it can (direct my body into spiritual practices) so the Spirit's power can do what willpower can't (overcome the three enemies of the soul.” P. 175


25. “Now our children are growing up in the fallout of deconstructionism.”


26. “What are you facing right now? Where do you need a way out? A thought pattern you just can’t break free of? A compulsion or addiction that’s killing your joy? A character flaw that leaks out in embarrassing ways, despite your best efforts to nip it in the bud?”


27. “Late in the fourth century AD, a young intellectual named Evagrius Ponticus went into the desert of Egypt to fight the devil. Like you do.”


28. “Our generation is living through three tectonic shifts in Western culture.”


29. “Most people fail in the art of living not because they are inherently bad or so without will that they cannot lead a better life; they fail because they do not wake up and see when they stand at a fork in the road and have to decide.14”


30. “Lies, that come in the form of deceptive ideas, are the devil’s primary method of enslaving human beings and entire human societies in a vicious cycle of ruin that leads us further and further east of Eden.”


31. “Neither should the body be indulged and catered to, because the more you pamper and submit to its desires, the more they grow into insatiable cravings. (A potato chip—or an orgasm—tends to make you want another one.) And that way lies being nothing more than an animal.10”


32. “Again, ideas are assumptions about reality.”


33. “I have little reason to believe that people who have zero desire to live with Jesus and his community now would want to be conscripted into that forever”


34. “His basic thesis was that when we believe lies and then let those lies into our bodies, tragically, they often become a kind of upside-down shadow of the truth.”


35. “Wagstaff added that this “sense of exile, or alienation, may result for the individual who is marginalised, cast adrift, by the inability or unwillingness to conform to the tyranny of majority opinion.”


36. “Working theory of the law of returns applied to spiritual formation: sow a thought, reap an action; sow action, reap another action; sow some actions, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny, either in slavery to the flesh or freedom in the Spirit.” (p. 189)


37. “Working theory of the devil’s strategy: deceitful ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalized in a sinful society”


38. “Ideas have power only when we believe them. We hear all sorts of ideas every day, some brilliant, others ridiculous; but they have zero effect on us unless we begin to trust them as an accurate map to reality.” (p. 46)


39. “It is not so much that we tell lies as that we live them.”27”


40. “Which means to apprentice under Rabbi Jesus is more than just to enroll as a student for a daily lecture in his master class of life; it’s also to enlist as a soldier and join his fight to believe truth over lies.”


41. “the kind of minority we’re talking about here is what the historian Arnold Toynbee called a creative minority, which he described as a small but influential group of committed citizens who—motivated by love—bless the host culture, not from the center, but from the margins.27 Here’s Jon Tyson’s definition: A Christian community in a web of stubbornly loyal relationships, knotted together in a living network of persons, in a complex and challenging cultural setting, who are committed to practicing the way of Jesus together for the renewal of the world.”


42. “growing number of people are more loyal to their ideology or political party than they are to Jesus and his teachings.”


43. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Translation: Just because you’re no longer under the Mosaic covenant, don’t abuse your newfound freedom in Jesus; don’t give in to your disordered desires. Instead, give yourself over to the relational constraints of love.”


44. “stronger surface-level desires of our flesh. This is exacerbated by a culture where the widespread wisdom of the day is to follow our desires, not crucify them. But in reality, “Be true to yourself” is some of the worst advice anybody could ever give you.”


45. “As a pastor, I have front-row seats to watch the before and after of a lie’s entrance into a soul, and not to scare you, but it’s gut wrenching. I used the example of “You’ll be happier if you get a divorce” because it’s so common. I see it all the time. While every marriage is its own story, I watch so many people initiate a divorce in a desire to be happy but end up even more miserable. Many of them carry regret to their graves.”


46. “Jesus didn’t die so we don’t have to; he died to teach us how to die—how to follow him through death and into life.”


47. “If I stay in my constraints and let them do their work, if I consider that my duty to follow through on my commitments is just as ‘authentic’ as my feelings or desires, then my constraints have the potential to set me free from the tyranny of my own flesh and forge me into a person of love.” P. 142


48. “Love is the desire not to take but to give. It’s the settled intention of the heart to promote good in the life of another.”


49. “Theology becomes therapy…. The biblical interest in righteousness is replaced by a search for happiness, holiness by wholeness, truth by feeling, ethics by feeling good about one’s self. The world shrinks to the range of personal circumstances; the community of faith shrinks to a circle of personal friends. The past recedes. The Church recedes. The world recedes. All that remains is the self.25”


50. “People are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”


51. “In the beginning we have a choice, but eventually, we have a character.”


52. “Our victory isn't won by swords, spears, or predator drone strikes but with truth embodied in self-sacrificial love.” P. 247


53. “Ideology is a form of idolatry. It’s a secular attempt to find a metaphysical meaning to life, a way to usher in utopia without God.”


54. “We call it addiction; Jesus and Paul call it slavery.” P. 146


55. “the philosopher Dallas Willard defined ideas as “assumptions about reality.” They are working theories, usually based on some kind of evidence or experience, about how life actually works.”


56. “fasting is a practice by which you deny your body food in an attempt to starve your flesh. It is a psychosomatic act, in the true sense of the word, that’s built around a biblical theology of the soul as your whole person. Contrary to what many Western Christians assume, your soul isn’t the immaterial, invisible part of you (a better word for that is your spirit or your will); it’s your whole person, which includes all of your body—your brain, nervous system, and stomach. Now, just to make sure we’re clear, your body is not evil. This is where the medieval monastic movement got it wildly wrong. Your body is a gift, as is pleasure in the right time and place and way. But your body, like the rest of your soul, has been corrupted by sin. As a result, your body often works against you in your fight with the flesh, via your sex drive, fight-or-flight system, or survival instincts. Fasting is a way to turn your body into an ally in your fight with the flesh rather than an adversary.”


57. “Our war against the three enemies of the soul is not a war of guns and bombs. It's not against other people at all. It's a war on lies. And the problem is less that we tell lies and more that we live them; we let false narratives about reality into our bodies, and they wreak havoc in our souls.” P. xxii


58. “But consider this: What if Jesus knew the true nature of reality better than we do? What if his perception was even more acute than that of Steven Pinker? Or Sam Harris? Or Stephen Hawking? What if he was the most intelligent teacher to ever live and his insight into the problems (and solutions) of the human condition is the most piercing to date?”


59. “My point is simply this: our deepest desires—usually to become people of goodness and love—are often sabotaged by the stronger surface-level desires of our flesh.” (p. 122)


60. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.26 Notice again that Paul’s exhortation isn’t to not quit a hard job or to keep following your dream to start a small business. In context, the “doing good” he’s referring to is the fight against our flesh. The first application of this beautiful line is to not give up in our struggle to get free of our animal natures. Because—and here’s the most beautiful thing—“at the proper time we will reap a harvest.” Again, in context, he means the harvest of Christlike character and freedom.”


61. “You’ve got to understand that this stuff has permeated the culture. It’s become our language; we’re so in it we don’t even see that it’s one perspective, one among many possible ways of seeing. Postmodern irony’s become our environment.16”


62. “As Willard once said, “We truly live at the mercy of our ideas.”


63. “Faith…is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations.”


64. “Okay, dear reader, it’s time to start building your own monastic handbook for combating lies: What’s the thought, feeling, and/or sensation?


65. “context, Jesus had just told his followers that “if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples,” and as a result, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


66. “I identified repeating thoughts that were lies from the devil.”


67. “What starts as an act of the will eventually turns into our inner nature. What begins with a choice eventually becomes a character.” P. 156


68. “Our primary war against the devil is to fight for truth over lies”


69. “Paul’s point is that our flesh is anti-love. The flesh runs off our animal drives for self-gratification and survival,”


70. “One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”


71. “M. Scott Peck, in his groundbreaking book People of the Lie, called the devil “a real spirit”


72. “Our fight with the devil is first and foremost a fight to take back control of our minds from their captivity to lies and liberate them with the weapon of truth.”


73. “We laugh at the devil as a premodern myth, akin to Thor’s hammer or Santa Claus. We scratch our heads at the New Testament’s language of the flesh in a sensual culture where people equate feeling good with being good. And when we hear the world, we envision a spittle-spewing street preacher with a bullhorn in a public park, railing about the dangers of AC/DC and the impending rapture.”


74. “The poet Mary Oliver once said, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.”


75. “the most effective lies are the ones that are mostly true. Here’s a little free advice for those of you wanting to grow in the art of deception: spin a tale in which 95 percent of what you say is accurate; just make the 5 percent of inaccuracy the linchpin that undoes your mark. the next most effective lies are those that are true but not the whole truth. They are one side of a two-sided conversation or an oversimplification of the complex reality of life. Cue the “Yes, but…” or “Yes, and…” retorts in a debate.”


76. “As C. S. Lewis wisely said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.”34 But lest you think I’m rallying a digital militia to “take America back for God”—relax, really. That’s not where we’re heading. The devil is far too interesting and intelligent for a simple us-versus-them binary.”


77. “It's as simple as that: small, regular habits/practices/disciplines that open our minds up to the Spirit and close them of to the flesh.” P. 177


78. “truth is reality. Lies are unreality.”


79. “The best definition I know of ideology is when you take a part of the truth and make it the whole. In doing so, you imprison your own mind and heart in lies that drive you to anger and anxiety. It promises freedom but produces the opposite. It does not expand and liberate the soul but shrinks and enslaves”


80. “Self is the new God, the new spiritual authority, the new morality. But this puts a crushing weight on the self—one it was never designed to bear. It must discover itself. Become itself. Stay true to itself. Justify itself. Make itself happy. Perform and defend its fragile identity.” (p. 118)


81. “When we call something a lie, we mean it doesn’t correspond to reality.”


82. “Followers of Jesus need to come back to the reality that baptism is their primary pledge of allegiance, contempt has zero place in the heart of those who claim to apprentice under Jesus, and the litmus test of our faith is the degree to which we love our enemy.” P. 215


83. “We make our decisions, and then our decisions make us.”


84. “Human beings simply can’t live without loving relationships and meaning to both our suffering and our existence as a whole. Jesus comes to offer both.”


85. “Nobody knows where the West will go in the years to come. The smartest people can only guess. But this could be our finest hour. We could be days away from a sweeping renewal across the Western church. It’s happened before, at the moment it was least likely. It could happen again.” (p. 240)


86. “Well-respected psychologist and researcher Dr. Erich Fromm lived through both world wars and lost his Jewish faith on the other side of that trauma. After researching Nazism for years, he came to the conclusion that no one starts out evil;12 instead, people become evil “slowly over time through a long series of choices.”13 His book The Heart of Man, which is an exploration of evil and the human condition, is worth quoting at length: The longer we continue to make the wrong decisions, the more our heart hardens; the more often we make the right decision, the more our heart softens—or better perhaps, becomes alive…. Each step in life which increases my self-confidence, my integrity, my courage, my conviction also increases my capacity to choose the desirable alternative, until eventually it becomes more difficult for me to choose the undesirable rather than the desirable action. On the other hand, each act of surrender and cowardice weakens me, opens the path for more acts of surrender, and eventually freedom is lost. Between the extreme when I can no longer do a wrong act and the extreme when I have lost my freedom to right action, there are innumerable degrees of freedom of choice…. Most people fail in the art of living not because they are inherently bad or so without will that they cannot lead a better life; they fail because they do not wake up and see when they stand at a fork in the road and have to decide.14”


87. “Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it so well: Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him…. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person.19”


88. “The late Dr. Larry Hurtado, historian of early Christianity, in his wildly celebrated book Destroyer of the Gods, told the story of how a tiny Jewish sect of Jesus followers overcame the bastion of paganism and won over the Roman Empire in only a few centuries. His thesis was that it wasn’t the church’s relevance or relatability to the culture but its difference and distinctness that made it compelling to so many. The church was marked by five distinctive features, all of which made it stand out against the backdrop of the empire: The church was multiracial and multiethnic, with a high value for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The church was spread across socioeconomic lines as well, and there was a high value for caring for the poor; those with extra were expected to share with those with less. It was staunch in its active resistance to infanticide and abortion. It was resolute in its vision of marriage and sexuality as between one man and one woman for life. It was nonviolent, both on a personal level and a political level.”


89. “On earth as it is in heaven,” the devil’s is “On earth as it is in hell.”


90. “Amid the revolution, the questions nobody seems to even be asking are, Is this making us better people? More loving people? Or even happier people? Are we thriving in a way we weren’t prior to our ‘liberation’?” (p. 28)


91. “While the church is not an ethnic minority (and it’s important for me to clarify that), we are what sociologists call a cognitive minority. Meaning, as followers of Jesus, our worldview and value system and practices and social norms are increasingly at sharp odds with those of our host culture. We face constant pressure, from both the Left and the Right, to assimilate and follow the crowd.”


92. “To have faith in something is simply to live as if it’s true.”


93. “Jesus sees our primary war against the devil as a fight to believe truth over lies.”


94. “the Genesis 3 lie is the paradigmatic lie behind all lies. The deception (or really temptation) is and has always been twofold: (1) to seize autonomy from God and (2) to redefine good and evil based on the voice in our heads and the inclination of our hearts, rather than trust in the loving word of God. Here’s another way to frame it. There are three great questions in life: Who is God? (Or the gods? Or is there a God or gods?) Who are we? How do we live?”


95. “Stepping out in faith to start this nonprofit will end in disaster for my family… “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”23 Against the thought, My wife and I are a bad fit, and I would be happier if we got a divorce… “What God has joined together, let no one separate” and “Husbands, love your wives” and “be considerate as you live with your wives…heirs with you of the gracious gift of life.”24 Against the thought, I want to buy that new thing I don’t need or If I had that thing, then I would be happy… “Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ ”25”


96. “We make our decisions, and then our decisions make us. In the beginning we have a choice, but eventually, we have a character.”


97. “Working theory of the devil’s strategy: deceitful ideas that play to”


98. “As David Brooks put it in a New York Times op-ed, “Over the last half century, we’ve turned politics from a practical way to solve common problems into a cultural arena to display resentments.”


99. “It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”


100. “the key to spiritual formation is to change what we can control (our habits) to influence what we can’t control (our flesh).”


101. “chronological snobbery,”21 the innate human bias to think we’re smarter than people who came before us and therefore new ideas are naturally better or more truthful than old ones.”


102. “Rethink everything you think you know about what will lead you to the good life, and put your trust in me.”


103. “C.S. Lewis, once said, "The main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark, prison we are all born in" and warned of the danger of, "coming to love the prison.”


104. “For hundreds of years, the church would fast twice a week: Wednesdays and Fridays. That was just what you did if you were a Christian. In the fourth century, when the church developed the practice of Lent, it was originally a fast similar to Islam’s Ramadan. As a lead-up to Easter, followers of Jesus would wake and go without food until sunset. For forty days. Every year. Please note: go without food.”


105. “More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.”18 Very few practices have the capacity to humble us as does fasting. When you begin fasting, it’s common to feel sad, even anxious, or just plain hangry. With regular practice, these feelings (mostly) go away and are replaced by joy, contentment, a sense of intimacy with God, and spiritual power. But it takes a while to wean your soul off its addiction to the Western gods of pleasure, instant gratification, and sensory appetites. The first thing it normally does is reveal where you are still in bondage.”


106. “Many people think that eternal life refers to a quantity of life after death, but for the New Testament writers, it also meant a quality of life that starts now for the apprentice of Jesus, grows in scope over a lifetime of apprenticeship, and then continues into eternity.” P. 147


107. “My point is this: lies distort our souls and drive us into ruin.”


108. “Working theory of the devil’s strategy: deceitful ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalized in a sinful society Working theory of the law of returns applied to spiritual formation: sow a thought, reap an action; sow action, reap another action; sow some actions, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny, either in slavery to the flesh or freedom in the Spirit.”


109. “His original role seems to have been the spiritual formation of human beings through testing.”


110. “As Renee DiResta, technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, summarised postmodern ethics: “If you made it trend, you make it true.”


111. “With every decision we make to complain, criticize, play the victim, focus on the negative, and so on, we become more and more the kind of person who is by nature negative, grouchy, unhappy, and unpleasant to be around, until eventually we lose the very capacity to live happily, gratefully, and full of wonder at our lives in God’s good world.”


112. “And in this sweeping craze, so many people have been taken captive to ideology, which is a form of idolatry. A growing number of people are more loyal to their ideology or political party than they are to Jesus and his teachings. I feel this tug in my own heart, and we must resist it. It takes us into territory outside the kingdom of God and demagnetizes our moral compass, pointing us in a direction that does not lead to life and peace.”


113. “fasting is a practice by which you deny your body food in an attempt to starve your flesh. It is a psychosomatic act, in the true sense of the word, that’s built around a biblical theology of the soul as your whole person.”


114. ‘On earth as it is in heaven,"


115. “Followers of Jesus need to come back to the reality that baptism is their primary pledge of allegiance,40 contempt has zero place in the heart of those who claim to apprentice under Jesus, and the litmus test of our faith is the degree to which we love our enemy.”


116. “freedom is very easy to abuse. And when we abuse freedom, we negate love. Notice Paul’s next line: Rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.4”


117. “we can’t follow Jesus alone. Jesus did not have a disciple (singular); he had disciples (plural). The call to follow Jesus was—and still is—a call to join his community of the Way. And by following Jesus together, not alone, we are able to (1) discern Jesus’s truth from the devil’s lies, (2) help one another override our flesh by the Spirit, and (3) form a robust community of deep relationships that functions as a counterculture to the world.”


118. “To say yes to Jesus's invitation is to say no to a thousand other things. As the monks used to say, ‘Every choice is a renunciation.’ To say yes to Jesus is to say no to living by my own definition of good and evil, to spending my time and money however I want, to the hyperindividualism, antiauthoritarianism, and full-tilt hedonistic pursuit of our day. It's a thousand tiny deaths that all lead up to one massive life. It's not a futile grasping for control, but the freedom of yielding to Love.


119. “Not all desires are created equal. Or at least, not all are equally beneficial. Some of our desires are higher or nobler and lead to life and freedom and peace; others are lower or more animalistic and lead to death and slavery and fear.”


120. “If you live into this lie long enough, tragically, what was false starts to become true.” (p. 35)


121. “In the past, it was the responsibility of all people to restrain the desires of their flesh; today, it’s the right of all people to follow the desires of their authentic selves.” P. 117


122. “Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters. —Edmund Burke, in A Letter from Mr. Burke, to a Member of the National Assembly”


123. “We prefer to think of ourselves as rational individualists rather than the emotional, relational, and easily manipulated social creatures we actually are.”


124. “Solitude is not a private therapeutic place.” Rather, “solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.”


125. “We sin because we believe a lie about what will make us happy.”


126. “Freedom without self-mastery is a disaster waiting to happen.”


127. “When people die, we honor and celebrate the best parts of their character. Love, sacrifice, loyalty to family and friends, humility, joy, compassion. All of which required their denial of fleshly desires. So while our culture celebrates the gospel of self-actualization, the type of self you actualize into is still paramount.”


128. “... ideads are spiritual entities that enslave our souls. Ideas - Not tyrants.”


129. “Contrary to popular artistic imaginings, the devil is not in hell; he’s here, on earth. If Jesus’s anthem is ‘On earth as it is in heaven,’ the devil’s is ‘On earth as it is in hell.'”


130. “Satan and the Problem of Evil is the best case I’ve ever read against the ever-popular “God is in control” mantra. In his section on philosophy he wrote this about spiritual formation: Self-determining freedom ultimately gives way either to a higher form of freedom—the freedom to be creatures whose love defines them—or the lowest form of bondage—the inability to participate in love. We either become beings who are irrevocably open or irrevocably closed to God’s love. The former is eternal life; the latter is eternal death.16”


131. “It's true it will cost us to follow Jesus, but it will cost us even more to not follow him.” P. 252


132. “[The Church is] not a community of comfort but of calling.” P. 231


133. “Translation: Just because you're no longer under the Mosaic covenant, don't abuse your newfound freedom in Jesus; don't give in to your disordered desires. Instead, give yourself over to the relational constraints of love.”


134. “We make our decisions, and then our decisions make us.” (p. 157)


135. “This simple mechanism—of mind to thought to action to habit to character to either slavery or eternal life—is at the very heart of apprenticeship to Jesus.” P. 153


136. “My point is simply this: our deepest desires—usually to become people of goodness and love—are often sabotaged by the stronger surface-level desires of our flesh. This is exacerbated by a culture where the widespread wisdom of the day is to follow our desires, not crucify them. But in reality, “Be true to yourself” is some of the worst advice anybody could ever give you.”


137. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.26 Notice again that Paul’s exhortation isn’t to not quit a hard job or to keep following your dream to start a small business. In context, the “doing good” he’s referring to is the fight against our flesh.”


138. “that knowledge—or even truth itself—is a form of oppression.”


139. “You become what you give your mind to.”


140. “Of course, things aren’t really getting better; there’s a mountain of data to argue they are getting worse. And a short tour of Twitter will reveal that many people are simply freaking out.”


141. “Willpower is at its best when it does what it can (direct my body into spiritual practices) so the Spirit’s power can do what willpower can’t (overcome the three enemies of the soul).” (p. 175)


142. “Your body is a gift, as is pleasure in the right time and place and way. But your body, like the rest of your soul, has been corrupted by sin. As a result, your body often works against you in your fight with the flesh, via your sex drive, fight-or-flight system, or survival instincts. Fasting is a way to turn your body into an ally in your fight with the flesh rather than an adversary.”


143. “The daily decision to rejoice—to cultivate a way of seeing our lives in God’s good world, not through the lens of our phones, news apps, or flesh, but through gratitude, celebration, and unhurried delight—will over time form us into joyful, thankful people who deeply enjoy life with God and others. What starts as an act of the will eventually turns into our inner nature. What begins with a choice eventually becomes a character.”


144. “There is no neutral”


145. “deception is tied to temptation, temptation to slavery to sin, and it’s the truth that will set you free.”


146. “the Genesis 3 lie is the paradigmatic lie behind all lies. The deception (or really temptation) is and has always been twofold: (1) to seize autonomy from God and (2) to redefine good and evil based on the voice in our heads and the inclination of our hearts, rather than trust in the loving word of God.”


147. “want to love my children well, be present as a father, and intentionally unfold them into their full potential, but I also want to close the door, watch TV, and let them sort out their own annoying problems. I want to live deeply grateful and content with what I have, as well as practice radical generosity, but I also want to buy a new jacket I don’t need and upgrade my perfectly good car.”


148. “Anxious to avoid a repeat of history, Edmund Burke laid out the logic behind the American architecture in a letter from 1791:


149. “in a book like Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, now says that the Portlandesque bumper-sticker view of evolution as a linear progression from monkey to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens to (naturally) progressive secular humanist is untrue. Many scientists now think that all sorts of hominin species were on the earth at the same time. (Fun fact: the average person of European ancestry is 2 percent Neanderthal.4) Harari makes the case that the”


150. “One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the”


151. ‘On earth as it is in hell.’” P. 11


152. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


153. “We can't control what we desire, but we can control what habits we give our minds and bodies to and, in doing so, index our hearts away from the flesh and toward the Spirit. This is under our power and therefore a form of responsibility before God and our fellow humans.” P. 184


154. “Ideology is a form of idolatry. It's a secular attempt to find a metaphysical meaning to life, a way to usher in utopia without God. The best definition I know of ideology is when you take a part of the truth and make it the whole. In doing so, you imprison your own mind and heart in lies that drive you to anger and anxiety. It promises freedom but produces the opposite. It does not expand and liberate the soul but shrinks and enslaves it.” P. 36


155. “secularism and its emphasis on individualism, denial of God, and deconstruction of the traditional family is just as (if not more) destructive to indigenous cultures than nineteenth-century imperialism ever was.33 My friend (and cultural analyst) Mark Sayers called it “Western supremacy.” Imposing whiteness on the world is rightly shunned. But to some, imposing westernness (especially Western ideas about sexuality or gender) on the world is not only okay; it’s virtuous.”


156. “Fasting is a way to turn your body into an ally in your fight with the flesh rather than an adversary.” P. 178


157. “All healthy, free people self-edit this inner mix of desires. The wise recognize that pleasure is not the same thing as happiness. Pleasure is about dopamine; happiness is about serotonin. Pleasure is about the next hit to feel good in the moment; happiness is about contentment over the long haul, a sense that my life is rich and satisfying as it is. Pleasure is about want; happiness is about freedom from want.”


158. “degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts.”


159. “Nobody believed he was real…. That was his power. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”


160. “sow a thought, and reap a deed; sow a deed, and reap another deed; sow some deeds, and reap a habit; sow some habits, and reap a character; sow a character, and reap two thoughts. The new thoughts then pursue careers of their own.11”


161. “Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion and Russian democracy advocate who now lives in exile in Croatia, opined, “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”


162. “It's our daily, seemingly insignificant decisions that eventually sculpt our characters and harden them into stone or free them to flourishing.” P. 153


163. “It’s by Spirit and truth that we’re transformed into the image of Jesus, but the reciprocal is also true. It’s by isolation and lies that we’re deformed into the image of the devil.”


164. “Therefore, we must run every habit, every thought, every relationship-everything-through this simple grid:


165. “One way to think about temptation is to see all temptation as the appeal to believe a lie, to believe an illusion about reality.”


166. “This is why Jesus comes as a human and a teacher. As a human being, he is able to offer spirit, or relational presence.”


167. “Post-Christian culture is an attempt to move beyond the Christian vision while still retaining much of its scaffolding. It’s a reaction against Christianity—the West’s rebellious teenager moment. We’re the stereotypical adolescent, kicking against our parents’ authority and railing against all their flaws while still living in their house and eating all their food.”


168. “No matter what we sow, the law of returns applies. Good or evil, love or hate, justice or tyranny, grapes or thorns, a gracious compliment or a peevish complaint—whatever we invest, we tend to get it back with interest. Lovers are loved; haters, hated. Forgivers usually get forgiven; those who live by the sword die by the sword. “God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.”


169. “It turns out that sin makes people the same. When we give in to our flesh, we devolve to a remarkably unoriginal baseline. Desire. Use. Repeat.” P. 145


170. “the practices of Jesus are how we fight the world, the flesh, and the devil.”

36 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

950 Beautiful Cherry Blossom Quotes (2023)

1. “Ah, if in this world there were no such thing as cherry blossoms, perhaps then in springtime our hearts would be at peace. ” — Ariwara no Narihira 2. “Cherry blossoms: fleeting treasures.” – Unkno

200 Inspirational Rowing Quotes and Sayings (2023)

1. “Impossible” is not a word! 2. “I’ve never heard anyone profess indifference to a boat race. Why should you row a boat race? Why endure long months of pain in preparation for a violent half hour or

800 Inspirational Untamed Glennon Doyle Quotes (2023)

1. “Judgment is self-abandonment.” 2. “The only thing that was every wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me.” 3. The epitome of womanhood is to lose one’s self completely.

bottom of page