June 26, 2012

the drawback to our destiny

Every Christian who is growing closer to God sees their sins more clearly, and it can disappoint them in their life-long walk toward holiness. 

I know I've felt this way before; so sinful that I wonder how God could possibly love ME, and that His grace could really be enough to cover all MY sins. I think in the worst possible way --- selfishly. Yet even during this thought process I am reminded ever so gently of that beautiful devotional by Charles H. Spurgeon, 'Looking Unto Jesus' (from June 28, which, by the way, is in only two days!)

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.
    “My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness:
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

I've posted this before --- it's my favorite devotional probably because it's the one that I need to hear the most. It's so easy to make prayer to God an idol, or reading His Word, or giving money to church. It's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be seen by others and recognized for the good things you do. Good deeds may start out as genuinely wanting to give God all the glory, but it doesn't take long in this era of "self" theology to get caught up in just about anything BUT Jesus.
    Life as a Christian ought to not only start with the Savior, but remain so the whole course, and of course eventually end there. And then the new life, we being made perfect at last for an eternity with Christ the Lord, finally begins.

I'll admit it, I'm in the rut mentioned above; I know Christ ought to be number one, and I do try to make Him so, but I have a secret attachment to the things of the world. Alright, I'll be perfectly honest and admit a couple of them.
    Music. I have a weakness for the better Disney songs like Out There from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or exciting pieces written for PS2 games I love to play like Guide You Home which is sung by Gabriel Mann and Rebecca Kneubuhl. I claim my favorite song is In Christ Alone, and it is, but why is it that when I have my mp3 in hand, I'm tempted to listen to anything except that song?
    Another thing in my life which so easily entangles me is entertainment --- or rather more specifically, movies. Movies and TV and suchlike are designed to draw people in. I, for example, cannot walk into Best Buy, Sam's Club, or even Walmart without being distracted by the screens. And I have a deep-seated love for stories anyway, so it's even harder to resist Doctor Who or Lord of the Rings when my family is playing them, or really any films or shows. One of my favorite movies is Fireproof, but then why is it that I hardly ever watch it or suggest it to friends, while I do both of these concerning just about every other movie I see?
    I know why.
    The devil doesn't want me to proclaim the truth of the words 'In Christ Alone' by listening to that precious song and singing every lyric without shame in the grocery store for anyone to hear. The devil doesn't want people to know that Christ is the One who heals marriages, as Fireproof shows so clearly. No matter what the case, the devil really does work SO HARD to tempt us to turn our eyes anywhere but upon Jesus.

So, let it be our constant, undying prayer --- not just for our own souls, but for all the saints, all of the brethren of Christ --- that we would put Him first and fulfill our true destiny which is and always was meant to be giving Him the glory, forever and ever.

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