It is necessary not only to pray, but also to pray “as we ought” and to pray for what we ought. Our attempt to understand what we should pray for is deficient unless we also bring to our quest the “as we ought.” Likewise, what use to us is the “as we ought” if we do not know for what we should pray?
Behold that dear, that exalted, that condescending Friend of sinners, whom you can never please so well as by giving the fullest credit to his assurance that he is your Friend, your Redeemer, your guide through earth, your portion forever. What a mercy that you have lived to know that such a glorious person exists, is ever present with you, sees every thought of your heart, and listens with infinite delight to every sigh.
Have you ever thought about “curating” the content you consume? The world plies us with words everywhere we go. Our ever-present mobiles offer a stream of content to fill our commute. And as Christians there’s that pile of books, purchased on sale at the conference bookstall (only me?!) that we’ve started but not finished.
O that every sacrifice I offer were consumed with the fire of ardent love to Jesus. Reading, praying, studying and preaching are to me very cold exercises, if not warmed with the love of Christ. This is the quintessence of holiness, of happiness, of heaven.
Only after seeing the glory of God in Christ, his own unworthiness, and the stunning beauty of salvation will he find a message to preach that is as “a fire shut in his bones” and cause him to delight in preaching. Only from this place can he genuinely be in a position to minister to anyone.
You see, our understanding of God doesn’t begin with his identity as “Creator” or “Ruler” or even “Redeemer” because these things require creation. Our God is above creation. He’s infinite—beyond all spatial and temporal limitations. Therefore, our understanding of God must move beyond creation to his chief identity. Which is what? He’s Father. This is who he is eternally.
The humility we learn at the foot of the gospel, glorying in Christ and not ourselves, therefore turns out to be the wellspring of all evangelical health. When our eyes are opened to the love of God for us sinners, we let slip our masks. Condemned as sinners yet justified, we can begin to be honest about ourselves. Loved despite our unloveliness, we begin to love. Given peace with God, we begin to know an inner peace and joy. Shown the magnificence of God above all things, we become more resilient, trembling in wonder at God, and not man.
Crowds lined the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse of the olivewood casket as it made its way through the streets of south London. On top was a large pulpit Bible opened at Isaiah 45:22: “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” It was Thursday, February 11, 1892, and the body of Charles Haddon Spurgeon was being taken for burial.
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