...The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, ‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “Holiness to the Lord:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, he presents before his Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!This is what I love so much about Spurgeon. He never writes as a Doctor of the Theory of Applied Christianity, much less as having flawlessly mastered that subject. Spurgeon ever writes as a redeemed sinner who has been in the trenches and knows them well. I can listen to him without feeling obliged to prefix each statement with "Theoretically...."
Spurgeon takes a clear-eyed and unromantic view of the complex mish-mash of motivations that plague every thought-process that pushes through our consciousness, including the holiest. The flesh really is a problem. We have not yet been delivered from the body of this death (Romans 7:14-25), there still is an internal battle (Galatians 5:17), and I very much doubt that we perform any conscious action without an admixture of motivations. ("Very much doubt that we do" is a humble-sounding way of saying "have no doubt whatsoever that we don't.")
So notice that Spurgeon's solution isn't to collapse into self-absorbed inaction until we achieve purity. It is — well, it's what Spurgeon's solution always is about everything, isn't it? It is to look to Jesus.
Every good and godly and holy thing we aren't, He is — and He is that on our behalf, before God. We'll never get to be like Him by looking to ourselves until we "arrive." Instead, we grow as "we all, with unveiled face, [behold] the glory of the Lord, [and] are ...transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).
So get over yourself, get into Jesus, and get moving.
This is a quick post, and I doubt I will do much at my own blog for the next couple of days, because... my dear and only daughter is to be wed this Sunday! (A bit more about that here, item two.)
We all are joyfully looking forward to this happy experience for the Phillips family, as Rachael honors the family who loved and raised her, and honors God in the launching of a new family created in the fear of God and respect for His name and word.
Until then, we'll be doing whatever we need to, to get things ready. After that, a rehearsal, a dinner, and ultimately I get to walk my dear Rachael down the aisle, as my dear wife beams on proudly and happily, and as my Josiah and Jonathan lead the usherings and bear the One Ring (er, Two Rings), respectively — and as I witness Rachael exchange vows with Kermit, honorably in the sight of God and the assembled witnesses.
I'll be armed with a tux... and an initially-dry handkerchief or two.
Join me in praying for Rachael and Kermit, and that the name of Jesus Christ be lifted up.