"You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you.
He wants you as you are; he does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; he wants you alone… .
You can hide nothing from God.
The mask you wear before men will do you no good before him.
He wants to see you as you are, he wants to be gracious to you.”
“To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.
Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives or children or the company of earthly friends are but shadows;
but the enjoyment of God is the substance.
These are but the scattered beams; but God is the sun.
These are but the streams; but God is the fountain.
These are but drops; but God is the ocean.”
– Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh, 1979), II:244.
On Abiding in Christ
Let us all seek to “abide in Christ” more thoroughly than we have hitherto. Christ is the true spring of life in every believer’s soul, the head on which every member depends, the corner stone of all real sanctification. Whenever I see a child of God becoming less holy than he was, I know the secret of it — he is clinging less firmly to Christ than he did. Our root must be right, if our fruit is to abound.
Brethren, let us strive after close union and communion with Christ. Let us go to Him oftener, speak with Him more frequently, trust Him more wholly, look to Him more constantly, lean upon Him more entirely. This is the way to go through the wilderness without fainting, and to run the race set before us with patience. Let us live the life of faith in the Son of God. He is the vine, and we are the branches; let all our strength be drawn from Him — separate from Him we can do nothing. He is the Sun of righteousness — let us seek our comfort in Him, and not in our own frames and feelings.
The heart of most religions is good advice, good techniques, good programs, good ideas, and good support systems. These drive us deeper into ourselves, to find our inner light, inner goodness, inner voice, or inner resources.
Nothing new can be found inside of us. There is no inner rescuer deep in my soul; I just hear echoes of my own voice telling me all sorts of crazy things to numb my sense of fear, anxiety, and boredom, the origins of which I cannot truly identify.
But the heart of Christianity is Good News. It comes not as a task for us to fulfill, a mission for us to accomplish, a game plan for us to follow with the help of life coaches, but as a report that someone else has already fulfilled, accomplished, followed, and achieved everything for us.
Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life
A Puritan Prayer
To the Great I AM:
I need healing,
Good Physician, come and manifest Your power.
I need faith,
You who have given it to me,
maintain, strengthen, increase it.
Center it upon the Savior’s work,
upon the majesty of the Father,
upon the operations of the Spirit.
Work it in me now that I may never doubt You
as the truthful, mighty, faithful God.
Then I can bring my heart to You
full of love, gratitude, hope, joy.
May I lay at Your feet these fruits grown in Your garden,
love You with a passion that can never cool,
believe in You with a confidence that never staggers,
hope in You with an expectation that can never be dim,
delight in You with a rejoicing that cannot be stifled,
glorify You with the highest of my powers,
burning, blazing, glowing, radiating, as from Your own glory.
From John Stott
If we have resisted the missionary dimension of the church’s life, or dismissed it as if it were dispensable, or patronized it reluctantly with a few perfunctory prayers and grudging coins, or become preoccupied with our own narrow-minded, parochial concerns, we need to repent, that is, change our mind and attitude.
Do we profess to believe in God? He’s a missionary God.
Do we say we are committed to Christ? He’s a missionary Christ.
Do we claim to be filled with the Spirit? He’s a missionary Spirit.
Do we delight in belonging to the church? It’s a missionary society.
Do we hope to go heaven when we die? It’s a heaven filled with the fruits of the missionary enterprise.
It is not possible to avoid these things.