Day 123: Persist and resist…

…was a mantra of Greek philosopher and stoic, Epictetus. Pretty good if your goal is the endurance of pain and hardship without the display of feelings or complaint, or if your worldview espouses indifference to the vicissitudes of fortune, pain and pleasure.

One of Kitty’s and LA’s favorite authors was one of Larry’s L.A. seminary profs, John Piper, who wrote a book with a very non-stoic title, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. During my ’08-’09 apprenticeship, Larry would drill me on my love-tos over and over. I had so many curses of competence I’d become a slave to things I was good at but were draining — my biggest PA was my stop-doing list. Far from following Epic’s style of building, he challenged me my biggest problem wasn’t I desired too much — I desired much too little. “The glory of God is man fully alive,” he would remind me from St. Ireneus. Other times it would be from Toto’s favorite author:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” — C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Persist and resist are totally BTL, but only in the context of CORE/OPUS/PoP. It’s not enough to just persist in your Current State and resist anything outside of it. We’re created to Dream & Do. We’re created to persist on our Builder’s Journey. We’re created to resist settling for mediocrity.

An “and” LA and I embraced is the idea of “resist and replace.” Resistance per se is far too passive and gets our focus on the thing we don’t want to do. Tell a golfer to stop thinking about pull-hooking it in the lake to see how well that works. The most pro-active kind of resistance is the pursuit of something worthy of its replacement. In a recent article, Piper put it this way:

Christian Hedonism asserts that the most effective way to kill our own sin is by the power of a superior pleasure. No one sins out of duty. We sin because it is more pleasant or less painful than the way of righteousness. So, bondage to sin is broken by a stronger attraction — a more compelling joy. Two hundred years ago, Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847) wrote one of the most famous defenses of this truth. It was called “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.”

If you made a failed New Year’s Resolution, you know how debilitating it feels to persist and resist apart from the expulsive power of a new affection.

Sounds like a good time to rinse your worldview and principles — look for areas to upgrade to the one ‘L of a difference. Thank you, LA.

Done so.

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