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25 Quotes from Live No Lies by John Mark Comer
John Mark Comer's new book on fighting the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Live No Lies is the new (New York Times Bestselling) book from John Mark Comer. This isn’t a review of the book, just 25 of my favorite quotes. This is an important book that is well worth picking up and could probably be the source of hours of good discussion.
“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
“If Jesus's anthem is
‘On earth as it is in heaven,"
the devil's is
‘On earth as it is in hell.’” P. 11
“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
He’s doing so [fighting the devil] via practices from his way, or what have come to be called spiritual disciplines. He's all alone with God in the desert - in what has come to be called silence and solitude.
He's in prayer.
His mind and mouth are full of Scripture.
And this is how we, as apprentices of Jesus, fight the devil.
Not via some emotional or spiritual frenzy. We simply stand in quiet confidence in God's truth via the practices of Jesus.
You could say it this way: spiritual disciplines are spiritual warfare.
It's through the practices of Jesus that we present our minds and bodies before God and open our souls to his Spirit and truth. P. 83-84
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“We call it addiction; Jesus and Paul call it slavery.” P. 146
“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
“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
“It's our daily, seemingly insignificant decisions that eventually sculpt our characters and harden them into stone or free them to flourishing.” P. 153
“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
“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
“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
“Fasting is a way to turn your body into an ally in your fight with the flesh rather than an adversary.” P. 178
“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
“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
“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
“[The Church is] not a community of comfort but of calling.” P. 231
“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
“Our victory isn't won by swords, spears, or predator drone strikes but with truth embodied in self-sacrificial love.” P. 247
“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.
It's saying to Jesus, Whatever, wherever, whenever, I'm yours.” P. 249
“It's true it will cost us to follow Jesus, but it will cost us even more to not follow him.” P. 252
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