Charles Spurgeon: one of the greatest preachers of all time. He preached his first sermon when he was sixteen; he wasn’t special, or from another planet. It was just–grace.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne: Scottish preacher in the nineteenth century. He died before he was thirty; yet he cultivated the kind of life that challenges and convicts Christians one hundred and fifty years later.
David Brainerd: the man who has shaped the life of missionaries and ministers through his life and diaries for over two-hundred years. He didn’t live to age thirty either.
There are a host of others: go ahead and name your favourite. Do men and women of the Church such as these stick out to us so much –especially in contradistinction to ourselves– because they were so extraordinary? Because they had more Grace? Or a bigger God?
Or did they just take some things seriously –like time, eternity, accountability, sovereignty, seeking, desiring, resolutions– much more than we?
We hold up last year, and the pros and cons, the ups and downs, the growth, and lack thereof, before our eyes, and arbitrarily consider how we do better. But are we scrutinizing yesterday–today– in the same way? Are those ten New Year’s resolutions of which we are so fond the same as always: two or three ways in which we desire to serve Christ and love and seek Him more than before, and the rest having something to do with how we may not change? And still have our fun, entertainment, and not leave our big dreams, goals, and desires up to God, to do what ever He wills with them?
What if He put a stop to our relationship with someone?
What if– He takes our blog, or our comfortable situation, or our iPhones, what if –heaven forbid, we say– we can’t go see Cars 2?
Are we totally given over to God’s will this coming year? Granted, those things are blessings, and we can rob God of His glory either by not praising Him for them and using them for His Kingdom, or letting them clog our lives and devotions: and neither of those aspects should be forgotten.
On one occasion, while walking through the woods with a young friend, AW Tozer exclaimed “I want to love God more than any in my generation!” He had so many accolades he could have sought; but the one he was concerned about was loving God most.
Wow! is our thought when reading such a thing. But a moments thinking will reveal that there is an unbelievable cost. Are we seeking this, above other goals, to love God this year, this 2011, as much as we can?
Is our resolutions, and goal, all about seeing and savoring, the King in His beauty?
How is any such thing brought about? I could never bring myself to stare at Christianity in myself and the Church around me with a cynical outlook. If we’ve truly had a new heart placed within us, we do want to see Christ, above all other things. But we are forgetful, and so impatient, and so clogged with human notions of satisfying this God-sized desire place within us. How are we do lay hold of the realities of seeing and savoring and serving Christ in this, the new year?
We get so frustrated with our tendency to forget all the important and vital things that were said in the Sermons and expositions and biographies and devotions, and we are disappointed when our Christianity isn’t structured and systematized just like it should be to make us super sanctified and what not.
But it really is all too simple for our understanding: “The simplicity of devotion to Christ.” We are called, not to live ever in regret and fond longings for the past, nor in anticipation or dread of what is yet to come, as Wormwood and Scewtape would have us do, but we are to live, every day, to serve and adore Christ with what is set right before us. Living in Christ–in the here, in the now.
That, and all the things we know to do: seek God daily, ever endeavoring to rise day by day and before all else, and presenting our members –our bodies, our school, our work, our iPhones and iTouches, our service to one another, our blogs and Twitters and Facebooks and Gmail accounts, our driver’s licenses, our singleness, our reading, sleeping, eating, breathing– as instruments of righteousness.
God help us.
Hindsight is 20/20: Last Summer