In J.C. Ryle’s powerfully insightful and useful book – “Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots” – he has a chapter on Lot, and Gen. 19:6a “But he lingered.” The reference is to how slow Lot was to respond to the angel’s warning of Sodom’s immanent doom. It was but hours away. But Lot appeared to be in no hurry as urgent as the angel’s warnings were. And Ryle applies that issue to how Christians often seem to be found lingering in terms of dealing with sin, growth in Christ and preparing for Heaven. In the process, he brings up 3 areas of life where this lingering in the World and its mindset can make itself evident. And I give these to you below without additional comment. They are really worth our time to consider in the decisions of everyday life.

RYLE: I call on every reader of this paper to mark well what I am saying…If you would not settle down into a dry, dull, sleepy, lazy, barren, heavy, carnal, stupid, torpid state of soul, beware of Lot’s choice!

(a) Remember this in choosing a dwelling-place, or residence. It is not enough that the house is comfortable,—the situation good,—the air fine,—the neighbourhood pleasant,—the rent or price small,—the living cheap. There are other things yet to be considered. You must think of your immortal soul. Will the house you think of help you towards heaven or hell?—Is the Gospel preached within an easy distance?—Is Christ crucified within reach of your door?—Is there a real man of God near, who will watch over your soul? I charge you, if you love life, not to overlook this. Beware of Lot’s choice.

(b) Remember this in choosing a calling, a place, or profession in life. It is not enough that the salary is high,—the wages good,—the work light,—the advantages numerous,—the prospects of getting on most favourable. Think of your soul, your immortal soul. Will it be fed or starved? Will it be prospered or drawn back? Will you have your Sundays free, and be able to have one day in the week for your spiritual business? I beseech you, by the mercies of God, to take heed what you do. Make no rash decision. Look at the place in every light,—the light of God as well as the light of the world. Gold may be bought too dear. Beware of Lot’s choice.

(c) Remember this in choosing a husband or wife, if you are unmarried. It is not enough that your eye is pleased,—that your tastes are met,—that your mind finds congeniality,—that there is amiability and affection,—that there is a comfortable home for life. There needs something more than this. There is a life yet to come. Think of your soul, your immortal soul. Will it be helped upwards or dragged downwards by the union you are planning?—Will it be made more heavenly, or more earthly,—drawn nearer to Christ, or to the world?—Will its religion grow in vigour, or will it decay?—I pray you, by all your hopes of glory, allow this to enter into your calculations. “Think,” as old Baxter said, and “think, and think again,” before you commit yourself. “Be not unequally yoked.” (2 Cor. 6:14.) Matrimony is nowhere named among the means of conversion. Remember Lot’s choice.

Ryle, J. C. Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots. William Hunt and Company, 1889, pp. 221–23.

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