Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

January 15, 2004

Here's a link to Steve Brown's January letter. You know I love to listen to this man, and if you don't get his daily broadcast on your local Christian radio station, well, you're missing something. Here's a quote from the letter:

As I was saying, I'm getting better and, believe it or not, I can't help it. The whole "getting better" thing sort of snuck up on me. I was doing something else and, all of a sudden, I realized that I was loving people I didn't want to love, being obedient in places where I didn't want to be obedient and showing compassion for people when I didn't have time to show compassion.

That's just a sample. The Gospel is love, of course. I'll never know how I missed it for so long. Yes, long after I'd become a Christian, and even agreeing to all the right and proper tenets of Reformation theology. This "getting better" that Steve Brown talks about is really another way of saying (in fact, Paul's way of saying) "remain in my love."

My wife (the lovely L.!) and I have been working our slow way through an Andrew Murray devotional called "The True Vine." You can find it online right here. This is another author I highly recommend, by the way. Anyway, here's an excerpt from the entry we read yesterday:

The love of the Father to the Son is not a sentiment--it is a divine life, an infinite energy, an irresistible power. It carried Christ through life and death and the grave. The Father loved Him and dwelt in Him, and did all for Him. So the love of Christ to us too is an infinite living power that will work in us all He delights to give us. The feebleness of our Christian life is that we do not take time to believe that this divine love does really delight in us, and will possess and work all in us. We do not take time to look at the Vine bearing the branch so entirely, working all in it so completely. We strive to do for ourselves what Christ alone can, what Christ, oh, so lovingly, longs to do for us.

Now this is truly a good word, is it not? That Christ longs to work in us, and through us. Making us more like Him, our hearts breaking with what breaks His heart, and rejoicing in the things that bring Him joy. This is another way of looking at our "getting better."

Murray continues:

And how to come to this faith? Turn away from the visible if you would see and possess the invisible. Take more time with Jesus, gazing on Him as the heavenly Vine, living in the love of the Father, wanting you to live in His love. Turn away from yourself and your efforts and your faith, if you would have the heart filled with Him and the certainty of His love. Abiding means going out from everything else, to occupy one place and stay there. Come away from all else, and set your heart on Jesus, and His love, that love will waken your faith and strengthen it. Occupy yourself with that love, worship it, wait for it. You may be sure it will reach out to you, and by its power take you up into itself as your abode and your home.

Father, may my face shine with the light of your love today. May my words and deeds reflect your heart. Make your living water flow from me to others today, in Jesus Christ's name. Amen.


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