Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Continuing the last post.

In an effort to focus my mind on Him, and to allow the Lord's people to speak to me (even as they 'sleep'), I have been re-reading Thomas a Kempis' The Imitation of Christ as part of my devotional reading. It has been exactly what I have needed. Sometimes I try to dive into certain books, only to have them bounce off my chest and never make it into my heart because the time was wrong to read them. I love those happy occasions when the Lord's people launch words of wisdom that penetrate like an arrow right into my heart, piercing and then, somehow healing in their wakes as they shoot through. The last book I read that had that effect was Burroughs' book on Contentment, which changed my life.

An excerpt that has pierced me:

O, how swiftly passes the glory of the world! Would that their life had been in agreement with that which they knew. Then they would have studied and read well. How many perish through empty learning in this world, and care little for the service of God. And because they choose rather to be great than humble they fade away amidst their own speculations. He is truly great who has great love. He is truly great who is small in his own eyes and holds as nothing every peak of honor. he is truly wise who holds all earthly things as trash, that he may make Christ his gain. And he is truly learned who does the will of God, and abandons his own will.

I've had chances to go forward in the things that mean something to this world system. I give God the glory that I have been able to resist these temptations, or that they have been removed from me by various circumstances. God knows my weakness to find my worth in things that have nothing to do with the fact that He is coming, and that I need to be found in obedience to Him when He does, that I need to give account for every moment of my life. Perhaps I am even going to learn this lesson again. Perhaps I will learn all about medical illustration and still have to find a job as a dental assistant or something. If I look upon this whole experience as a trial sent of God (and not merely a gracious gift of His), I can do well in this. Help me, O Lord Almighty, to be found in your service!

Recently I was reading in Luke 4 concerning the temptation of Christ in the desert. The last temptation was the greatest one, for it touched upon the very thing that Christ wanted most: to have the world in subjection to Him-- yet, what a cost! and what a cheat, for it would actually have been in subjection to Satan! Matthew Henry writes that the pinnacle of the Temple was the highest position-- and it is in the highest positions we attain that there is the greatest temptation. Satan exalts us to cast us down, but Christ casts down to exalt. Help me, Christ, to go with you in being cast down, that I may be raised by none but Your hand at the Last Day!

I have printed out this verse to keep by my drawing board:

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

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