20 Truths from Trevin Wax’s ‘This Is Our Time

About a year ago Trevin Wax, the director of Bibles and Reference at LifeWay Christian Resources and general editor of the Gospel Project, wrote This Is Our Time. Trevin is also a teaching pastor at Third Baptist Church and a visiting professor at Wheaton College. Below are 20 truths from Trevin’s book.

1. Christians who shine the light of the gospel on the myths of our world do not simply say, “This is right and this is wrong,” but “This is better.” The gospel tells a better story. Yes, the gospel exposes the lies we believe and promote in society, but once our eyes adjust to its brightness, we discover how the gospel also answers our deeper longings in ways that surprise us. Evangelism is not just convincing people the gospel is true but also that it is better. (12)

2. It’s not what you’re looking at on your phone but that you’re always looking at your phone. It’s not what you might access on your phone that is most influential; it’s what your phone accesses in you. It’s not enough to ask, “What am I doing on my phone?” Instead, we’ve got to ask, “What is my phone doing to me?” The primary myth the smartphone tells you every day is that you are the center of the universe. If your phone is your world, and if the settings and apps are tailored to you and your interests, then with you at all times is a world that revolves around you. (20)

3. The church can bring you into contact with people who wouldn’t make it into your tailored news feed. A good church will cultivate relationships that are solid enough for people to say, “I love you, and you’re wrong.” If your church isn’t like that, then work at making your congregation a place where we break free from our prisons of online coddling so we can learn truer and deeper ways of love and grace. (40)

4. Faithfulness in a world of entertainment doesn’t start with the desire to be better interpreters of the world’s stories; it starts with the desire to better know God’s story. . . . Unless you inhabit the strange world of the Bible, with God’s Word on your lips and his stories planted in your heart, you will not be faithful in a world of entertainment. Faithfully engaging the world’s entertainment doesn’t start with cinema but with Scripture. (62)

5. When believers tell me they have no problem with explicit content because they have a high tolerance for viewing violence or nudity, I tell them that’s like bragging about having deadened senses. Desensitization is not a sign of spiritual progress but of sensual dullness. Do not confuse the ability to be unfazed by depictions of sin with spiritual maturity. (63)

6. As a Christian, saved by grace through faith, I am not authentic when I sin. I’m sinning against my newfound identity. I am being inauthentic when I choose to disobey God, when I give in to temptation. I’m rejecting the identity God has spoken over me. True authenticity is not accepting my own self-expression but accepting the self-expression of God through Jesus Christ. (85)

7. When your entire world is tailored to meet your needs and fulfill your desires, you cannot help but start to see the church the same way. You see your pastors as the people you pay to keep you happy. You see the programs as a way of serving your own needs. In other words, you import your consumer mindset into the church, and suddenly church is all about you and what you need, not about Jesus and what he has done, or about the Spirit of God and how he can empower you to serve others. Instead of the Kingdom Dream changing you, you let your American Dream change your church. (109–110)

8. The main reason we should not feel “at home” in a political party is because we already belong to a political society. It’s called the church. It transcends national borders and breaks down worldly barriers. There, we don’t vote for a president; we bow before a King. As the people of God, we should always feel in the world but not of the world, in America but not of America, in a political party but not of a political party. Embracing that tension is not weakness but faithfulness. (125)

9. If you want to put down roots somewhere, put them in the soil of the church. After all, the gates of hell are shaking not because of an election but because of Easter. (135)

10. The Eastern myth of marriage (that it is primarily a contract) and the Western myth of marriage (that it is primarily an expression of love) do not get at the heart of marriage. You don’t endure in a marriage for fifty years simply by gritting your teeth; nor do you endure by “feeling” like you’re in love the whole time. There has to be something more. And faithfulness in our time must display the richness of marriage at its finest. (149)