Mr. Standfast

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

September 02, 2004

All Flesh is Grass

The voice said, "Cry out!" And he said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is grass, and its loveliness is like the flower of the field." Isaiah 40:6

I mentioned a couple of posts ago about the "withering work of the Holy Spirit," which is the subject of a chapter in Charles Spurgeon's book, Holy Spirit Power. Spurgeon's writing always seems very solid and inspiring to me, as it has to many others over the years. Spurgeon says that Isaiah 40:6 is not simply about mortality, as it has so often been understood, but about that aspect of our sanctification that involves the dying to self, the withering and fading of the prideful inclinations of the flesh.

The Spirit blows on the flesh, and what seems vigorous becomes weak. What was fair to look at was smitten with decay, and the true nature of the flesh is discovered. Its deceit is laid bare, its power is destroyed. There is space for the dispensation of the ever-abiding Word and for the rule of the Great Shepherd whose words are spirit and life.
I've been coming across quite a bit of this sort of thing lately, so I suppose it's something God wants me to focus on. For example, there was this quote from Henri Nouwen in my Gmail inbox:
When we have been deeply hurt by another person, it is nearly impossible not to have hostile thoughts, feelings of anger or hatred, and even a desire to take revenge. All of this often happens spontaneously, without much inner control. We simply find ourselves brooding about what we are going to say or do to pay back the person who has hurt us. To choose blessings instead of curses in such a situation asks for an enormous leap of faith. It calls for a willingness to go beyond all our urges to get even and to choose a life-giving response.

Sometimes this seems impossible. Still, whenever we move beyond our wounded selves and claim our God-given selves, we give life not just to ourselves but also to the ones who have offended us.
That's just something to think about. In the next few days I'll be passing along more quotations like this--things that either I or the Lovely L have come across in our readings.


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