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So, conversely, complaining could be said to be a powerful witness about two beliefs hidden in our hearts:
1.) We don’t believe God’s purpose is being worked out, which means our God is not all powerful.
2.) We have taken it upon ourselves to interpret what God’s purpose is, subjected this purpose to our own judgement, and have found it wanting.
Thankful for a sobering heart check.
Fall break means more time for reading! This week I started Dr. Helen Roseveare’s book ‘Living Sacrifice’. In the preface, Dr. Roseveare expounds on what it means to be “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12) and show love for God (John 14:21). At the end, she writes thoughtfully about what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
To love the Lord my God with all my heart will involve a spiritual cost. I’ll have to give him my heart, and let Him love through it whom and how He wills, even if this seems at times to break my heart.
To love the Lord my God with all my soul will involve a volitional and emotional cost. I’ll have to give Him my will, my rights to decide and choose, and all my relationships, for Him to guide and control, even when I cannot understand His reasoning.
To love the Lord my God with all my mind will involve an intellectual cost. I mist give Him my mind, my intelligence, my reasoning powers, and trust Him to work through them, even when He may appear to act in contradiction to common sense.
To love the Lord my God with all my strength will involve a physical cost. I must give Him my body to indwell, and through which to speak, whether He chooses by health or sickness, by strength or weakness, and trust Him utterly with the outcome.
The sum of these apparent costs… could be considered as the sacrifice that I am invited to offer Him as the response of my whole being to His love for me in that one “full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” (pgs. 27-28
How counter this seems to our culture that places emphasis on seeking personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and joy, whether they be in relationships, jobs, or even the church. This is also contrary to our too highly prized personal autonomy, even where God is concerned.
Dr. Roseveare’s writing prompted me to asked some questions to examine how I view and live out the call to love with Lord my God with all:
1.) How have I loved the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength in the past?
2.) How am I loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength in the present?
3.) In what areas am I unwilling to love the Lord my God with my all? Is God calling me to sacrifice my affections to be obedient to Him?
4.) How do I see others loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength? How can I encourage them in that?
5.) Am I putting my sacrifices in perspective by meditating on the great love of the Lord my God abundantly displayed on the cross and throughout my life? Do I consider it a privilege to share in Christ’s sufferings? Do I consider the sacrifice not worth comparing to the weight of glory waiting for me?
One of my favorite quotes from my summer re-reading of ‘Story of a Pocket Bible’ by George Sargent (1857):
Call it not accident, however. Reader, in the universal government of Him who, while he guides the destinies of kingdoms and worlds, yet watches the fall of a sparrow, accident is not known.
Divine omniscience affords no comfort to the ungodly mind, but to the child of God it overflows with consolation. God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside his mind from us, has us always before his eyes; and this is precisely as we would have it, for it would be dreadful to exist for a moment beyond the observation of our heavenly Father. His thoughts are always tender, loving, wise, prudent, far-reaching, and they bring to us countless benefits: hence it is a choice delight to remember them. The Lord always did think upon his people: hence their election and the covenant of grace by which their salvation is secured; he always will think upon them: hence their final perseverance by which they shall be brought safely to their final rest. In all our wanderings the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us-we never roam beyond the Shepherd’s eye. In our sorrows he observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes him; in our toils he marks all our weariness, and writes in his book all the struggles of his faithful ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being. Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.
Dear reader, is this precious to you? then hold to it. Never be led astray by those philosophic fools who preach up an impersonal God, and talk of self-existent, self-governing matter. The Lord liveth and thinketh upon us, this is a truth far too precious for us to be lightly robbed of it. The notice of a nobleman is valued so highly that he who has it counts his fortune made; but what is it to be thought of by the King of kings! If the Lord thinketh upon us, all is well, and we may rejoice evermore.
— Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, April 30
The man who has his mouth full of arguments in prayer will soon have his mouth full of benedictions in answer to prayer.
Dear friend, do you have your mouth full right now? What of? Full of complaining? Pray to the Lord to rinse that black stuff out of your mouth, for it will little help you, and it will be bitter in your bowels one of these days.
Oh, have your mouth full of prayer, full of it, full of arguments, so that there is room for nothing else.
— Prayer and Spiritual Warfare