Saturday, August 21, 2010

Meditation On A Puritan Prayer – Aug 20, 2010

Compassionate Lord, Thy mercies have brought me to the dawn of another day, vain will be its gift unless I grow in grace, increase in knowledge, ripen for spiritual harvest.”

Is this how I view each day? What about you? Do I realize that a day without growth in the grace of Christ is a wasted day? Am I ripening for harvest?

Our tomatoes this year aren’t ripening well, it is good for grass to be green; it is not good for tomatoes to remain green. Am I a tomato that never ripens? Or shall I ripen out of season, long after I can be sustenance for others?

Let me this day know thee as thou art, love thee supremely, serve thee wholly, admire thee fully.”

It would indeed be something to know the Lord as He is, rather than as I and others have portrayed Him. What a surprise it will be when I see Him after the “great change” as He is – oh how foolish my perceptual follies will look! What else is there but to know Him?

Through grace let my will respond to thee, knowing that power to obey is not in me, but that thy free love alone enables me to serve thee.”

Well, I guess if we believed the above many authors, preachers, and publishers would be out of business. I guess if I believed the above my days would be less stressful, my self-strivings diminished, my focused turned from myself to Christ.

As the prayer moves forward we come to these lines:

Defend me from assailing foes, from evil circumstances, from myself. My adversaries are part and parcel of my nature; they cling to me as my very skin; I cannot escape their contact…My enemy is within the citadel; come with almighty power and cast him out, pierce him to death, and abolish in me every particle of carnal life this day."

When I have the misfortune to receive popular “Christian” emails they always portray our enemy on the outside. The country is going to hell because of others. The church is decaying because of others. Every foul and evil occurrence is because of others. Ah – how foolish we are to define ourselves by what we are opposed to; how foolish to define ourselves by our opposition to others.

Christ has delivered me from Satan and He will continue to deliver me from him. Now I need Christ to deliver me from myself, from my pride, my vanity, my ego, my selfishness, my materialism, my carnality. The enemy is within the citadel, and no amount of self-effort will deliver me from him, only Christ can do that – only Christ can deliver me from me.

Oh that Christ would abolish in me every particle of the natural life, the earth life, the life lived in earth’s gravity – oh that He would annihilate  every particle of the carnal life – this day, and the next day, and the day after that.

I am my own “fifth column”, I need not look elsewhere for the origin of it; I am the headwaters of the problem. And the outside? What about what is outside me? Well, whatever is outside me is something I can only redemptively engage as what is inside me is the Kingdom of God ruled by the Prince of Peace. We think (or at least I think) that if we can change the outside that we’ll have peace inside; nay, as Christ changes the inside, as we allow the peace of Christ to rule our hearts – the peace to which we’ve all been called – then perhaps we can minister peace to the outside; but without first being a people of peace on the inside we need not delude ourselves into thinking that we can be lasting agents of change in the outside world.

Didn’t Jesus Christ tell us in the Upper Room that He was leaving His peace with us? And yet rather than being a people of peace we are too often a people of agitation – we agitate ourselves and we agitate others. Do we not believe the words of Jesus Christ?

And so will we pray along with the Puritan who first prayed this prayer, “Come with almighty power and cast him out, pierce him to death, and abolish in me every particle of carnal life this day,”?

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