Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Desolate in this world

Wesley Huff:

A number of years ago I was participating in an event at a church. It was a beautiful July evening and after my talk in the cool of the foyer as I watched the sun descend into vivid oranges and reds through the window, a man approached me. He shared with me that he didn't necessarily consider himself a believer any longer. He attended the church off and on with his wife, and although he would have identified as a Christian at one point, his fervor for the belief had diminished over the years.

"What would you recommend for me? What advice would you give to someone in my situation?" he asked.

Whether it is an idle season, or someone who is struggling to believe what they thought was previously true, it can be a legitimate challenge to maintain vibrancy regarding gospel truths on a day-to-day basis.

St. Augustine, in a writing simply called Letters (130.30), in a particular correspondence with a woman in the fifth century, gave the council that: "You must account yourself desolate in this world, however great the prosperity of your lot may be."

What Augustine meant by that statement is that to be "'desolate' in this world" is to realize that despite our possessions or circumstances, the reality is that it is all temporary. Likewise, to be "desolate in this world" is to see our dependence on God's guidance and direction and that despite our best efforts, we still fall short of both the world and His standards. Only when this truth permeates our whole life do we see how little we truly have. How little we mentally, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically possess. At that point then we can realize the beauty, necessity, and wonder of God's provision for us in the image of a man on a cross.

Paul writes to the community of believers in Rome and states that, "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).

There is no "magic answer" to starting, maintaining, or jump-starting a life of spiritual freshness. There will be days where we thrive on the validity of the Christian worldview, the truths we read in God's Word, and the presence we feel in and through particular instances. But the vibrancy of the gospel in our life is not found in pledging anew to commit to spiritual disciples (although those are certainly important). Spiritual vigor comes from a fresh realization of the impermanence of our lives and the brokenness of our hearts that tunes our souls to long for the grace and faithfulness our God whose "steadfast love never ceases, mercies [that] never come to an end; they are new every morning; [and] great is [His] faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23)

1 comment:

  1. I think he meant disciplines, rather than disciples

    But the vibrancy of the gospel in our life is not found in pledging anew to commit to spiritual

    Good reminders of ultimate things