Let us not be deceived. That which passes for “religion” can delude us into thinking that we’re closer to God than we are. It may even be that we are dead, though we have a reputation for being alive. It happened at Sardis; it can happen to us.
God invites us to acknowledge our emptiness and come back to Him. He is waiting for us to seek Him. Our self-rule has been a sad experiment. The results have been shockingly disappointing. At last, is it not time for honesty to open a new path?
When we leave God out of our calculations (philosophically, economically, or scientifically), we “boast” of something that human beings, on their own, do not actually possess: the ability to discern what is ultimately good and bring it to pass.
No other issue is of as much consequence as our reverence for God. When we find ourselves not merely interested but profoundly captivated by belief in Him, we are ready to leave behind the shadows of “life” and pass into the realm of life indeed.
When the time is exactly right, God’s purposes will be gloriously consummated and those who have obediently entrusted themselves to Him will share in His great triumph. Until then, the message to His people is always this: continue!
Self-sacrificial love is a choice, and making the choice takes more than a positive mental attitude. It takes keeping ourselves reverently and gratefully at the foot of the Cross, where our Lord chose to serve our needs with great sacrifice.
We talk as if we believed that behavior has nothing to do with self-respect. But a positive self-image doesn’t come from being stroked by the affirmations of others, or even from talking positively to ourselves. It comes from doing our duty.
We should accept our particulars, and even be grateful for them. Even if we’ve made poor choices in the past, there is good work yet to be done — work that can be done best by a person who has just our set of particulars. Warts, scars, and all.
We can’t give serious consideration to God’s greatness without being appalled by the huge chasm between His perfection and our imperfection. To be awed by God’s grandeur is to be moved to turn away from anything inconsistent with His glory.
Joy is what God wishes to restore to us in His Son. So for the Christian, the ideal life is the joyous life, whether it is attended with “happiness” or not. Indeed, it may only be through unhappiness that a person’s joy in Jesus Christ can be found.