Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hearts Cleansed and Fixed Toward God

A paraphrase from a chapter called “The Beauty of Holiness” in Christian Meditations, by Thomas Reade (1841)
There is a beauty in holiness that vastly outshines the weak morality of unbelieving men.  The morality of a natural (unspiritual) man is little more than a bland, outward decency while his heart is completely estranged from God.  Holiness (or godliness) has a high, adoring view of God and a heart fixed toward Him.  God works by his Spirit on the inside of believers, cleansing their hearts.  All dutiful church-going is empty if there is no inward purity.  No bland, outward decency will be accepted as a substitute for holiness by Him who has said: "My son, give me your heart."
We now live in enemy country.  Our hearts must fiercely contend with enemies outside of us and traitorous enemies inside of us.  We must learn how to grow in grace and protect our new hearts from our inbred, inward corruptions while walking carefully amongst unbelieving men in a world determined to lure us away from fixing our paramount love on Jesus Christ.

If we relax our vigilance, our souls are in danger of being overpowered by indwelling corruptions and of being overpowered by the very real powers of darkness.  How earnest is the warning of Peter: "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion walks about seeking those whom he may devour: resist him steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."

Self-examination and pleas to God that He would enlighten the eyes of our hearts are powerful allies in our Christian warfare.  As Christian soldiers, we must fervently ask God to strengthen us in the inner man [we must ask Him to provide the trials necessary to establish and fortify our courage and integrtiy.]  Let’s ask God to search & discipline our wandering hearts and subdue our indwelling sin.  The lives of believers here are difficult by design filled with conflicts inside of us, conflicts from our circumstances, yet with daily consolations from God.  "See, then," says Paul, "that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore, do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
Let’s rouse God’s craftsmanship in us so that by growing from strength to strength, from glory to glory we eventually conquer our enemies, within and without, and greatly glorify God on Earth now and later shine as suns forever in His never-ending Kingdom.

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