1998-07-13 - Value What God Values
Originally Published 1997-05-05
Psalm 42:1 As a deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for Thee, O God.
In reading a preface to a book by Richard Baxter, where the author is trying to captivate the true character of the man who penned the book I was about to begin reading, the following was said,
Holiness was Baxter's distinguishing characteristic. It hallowed all that was great in his talents, and softened all that was irascible in his temper. Those who cannot relish the beauty of his holiness, can neither appreciate nor understand his genius; for it is power governed by holiness, and panting for perfection. Or, if any thing else had equal influence over Baxter, it was eternity, as the home of peace and purity, as the goal of being and blessedness. Orme has mightily helped on the appreciation and emphasis of Baxter's holiness, by calling his character, unearthly.
Now, maybe I hang out with the wrong crowd, but I cannot think of one person I know whose life is so consumed with unearthliness that I could honestly say of, "There is one who pants after perfection." In fact, the opposite is true. I think most people are consumed with self, pleasure, ease, and a bull stock market. I believe that many good Christians are more concerned with a thrilling basketball game or a satisfying meal than they are with that which would thrill and satisfy the soul.
Spiritual complacency, it seems, is at an all time high.
We all know that to set our minds on that which is earthy is a classic Christian "sell out." And yet we ourselves fall into our own earthy traps. It takes work to focus our thoughts and efforts on that which is spiritual. It is easy to clog our time and thoughts with temporal pursuits. No one is ever going to write in a preface to our works about how holy we were, as they have with Richard Baxter. But our audience is much more profound than simple earthly readers. The preface (or really the summary) of our lives will be written by God Himself when we come before His throne. If we value what God values our desires will be as His desires and that will lead us more and more into holiness. One day, by the grace of God, may we be able to say with David that our souls thirst for God.
Bread of the world, in mercy broken! Wine of the soul, in mercy shed! By whom the words of life were spoken, And in whose death, our sins are dead!
Look on the heart, by sorrow broken, Look on the tears, by sinners shed; And be thy feast to us the token, That by thy grace our souls are fed! --Herbert
Soli Deo Gloria,