It is with Christianity as it is with any personal pursuit: consistent application over time produces results. But this application is not easy. It is this difficulty Satan uses to drive a wedge between us and our devotion to Christ. Thomas Brooks offers these remedies to encourage us onward in our pursuit of spiritual maturity and holiness.
What we gain through Christ will always be greater than any loss we incur because of him. Let us be willing to bear any and every such earthly jewel or trinket that we might hold onto the pearl of great price.
Thomas Brooks began his explanation of this first device against Christians’ devotion to God by illustrating four negative qualities of wealth. Its weakness, meaninglessness, unreliability, and danger make it a terrible substitute for the riches of our inheritance in Christ. The length of Brooks’ writings on this device made necessary our dividing it into two posts.
As he closes this segment, he writes: “I have been the longer upon the remedies that may help us against this dangerous device of Satan, because he does usually more hurt to the souls of men by this device than he does by all other devices.”
For an entire book dedicated to learning how to defeat our greatest enemy, this is a sobering statement. We would do well to pay special attention to the advice of this wise teacher here.
We continue through this first device against Christian devotion with Brooks’ final four remedies. This second half illustrates how the promise of better things in Christ, based on God’s eternal promises to us, can help us look beyond temporal pleasures.
Thomas Brooks’ point here is that Satan can present the world as so enticing and alluring that Christians may forsake their devotion to God to run after its riches and pleasures. There is much in the world that is beautiful, that brings joy and pleasure, that creates more emotional and even spiritual excitement than religious duty. The enemy can easily use these truths to his advantage. Brooks provides eight remedies to counter Satan’s schemes that use the allure of the world to distract Christians from devotion to Christ. His first four remedies each explain a particular negative quality of material gain.
We Christians must be salt and light to the world. We must be in and not of the world as we proclaim the gospel. But we also must discern when it is time to walk away from certain people for whom our message is nothing but bitterness and gall.
Thomas Brooks helps us recognize when the influence of wicked people is too great for us to bear and will become a temptation to sin.
Adherence to biblical doctrine can never be assumed. God in his Word calls us not only to obey his commands, but to keep them. We must hold tightly to them, preserve them, and teach them. The Bible is sacred. It is our sacred duty to assent to this.
Thomas Brooks provides seven remedies by which we may hold fast God’s word and resist Satan’s efforts to undermine it with doctrinal error.
The conclusion of our last post: Satan will tempt us to fix our eyes and thoughts on the apparent care-free life of those who ignore God’s commands. But choosing the difficulties of pursuing holiness is better than the fleeting happiness of sinfulness. If that doesn’t work, as Thomas Brooks explains in his ninth device, Satan will then cause us to focus on the hardships and suffering that life in Christ often bring.