What Holds me Back?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by turmeric, May 18, 2005.

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  1. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    I'm finding myself resistant to sanctification, it seems. Any time I read something about "valuing Christ above all things" I get nervous. I can't think of what I want instead, it's just the idea of wanting nothing else. I've been chalking it up to the pietistic Evanjellyfish background I had, but it's stuff written by John Owen that's bugging me and he's no jellyfish!
    It's hard even to describe the problem in anything but general terms, I just feel like something's holding me back, I don't know what it is. Any thoughts?
  2. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    I don't know if these words will be helpful to you, Meg, or if they relate properly to the issue that is on your heart, but I offer them for consideration and prayerful meditation:

    One of the Five Solas of the Reformation is Solus Christus -- Christ Alone. In Him alone do we find salvation for He is God Incarnate. Consistent with this principle, Reuben Salliens, Baptist minister, once articulated his motto, "The whole Christ in the whole Bible for the whole world."

    Ultimately, as Christians, we must look to Him alone as the "author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12.2) and not to others around us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "No sideways glances while we are praying."

    When David sinned in respect to Bathsheba and Uriah, and was later repentant, he said to God "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned." Obviously, he broke covenant with others around him, but he was first and foremost concerned with his relationship to God, apart from which he could do nothing ("I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" John 15.5).

    Asaph said, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever" (Ps. 73.25-26).

    Jesus said, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Mat. 10.37)

    Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2.20). And "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3.8).

    All of this does not mean that we should our father and mother, our brethren, our friends, our enemies. On the contrary, Jesus puts it all in perspective: "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Mat. 22.37-40).

    The thing is, only in loving God completely can we love others as he commands us. Only when our relationship with God is right can we have right relationships with others. Only when we are in communion with the Creator can we enjoy the creation/creatures that he has made.

    Of course, in our own strength this is impossible. But with God all those fruits of the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5) that are unattainable by ourselves are indeed possible (Mark 10.27). And we that is part of what it means to be holy even as we are called to be. Only in dying to ourselves can we live for God and love him as we ought and therefore love others too (cf. Rom. 6; Eph. 4).

    I like the words of Keith Green in this song:

    Pledge My Head to Heaven -- Keith Green
    Well, I pledge my head to heaven for the gospel,
    And I ask no man on earth to fill my needs.
    Like the sparrow up above, I am enveloped in his love,
    And I trust him like those little ones, he feeds.
    Well I pledge my wife to heaven, for the gospel,
    Though our love each passing day just seems to grow.
    As I told her when we wed, I'd surely rather be found dead,
    Than to love her more than the one who saved my soul.

    I'm your child, and I want to be in your family forever.
    I'm your child, and I'm going to follow you,
    No matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
    Well I pledge my son to heaven for the gospel.
    Though he's kicked and beaten, ridiculed and scorn.
    I will teach him to rejoice, and lift a thankful praising voice,
    And to be like him who bore the nails and crown of thorns.
    I'm your child, and I want to be in your family forever.
    I'm your child, and I'm going to follow you,
    No matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
    Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
    Well I've had the chance to gain the world, and to live just like a king,
    But without your love, it doesn't mean a thing.
    Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost,
    Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
    Well I pledge my son, I pledge my wife, I pledge my head to heaven,
    I pledge my son, I pledge my wife, I pledge my head to heaven, for the gospel.

    "And if there is one thing more that I must say to you, it is this: Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty and sadness and remains far behind yours. Were it otherwise he would never have been able to find those words." -- Rainer Maria Rilke
  3. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    It is SIN.

    Our very nature - hates God --- even in our regenerate state. Paul says this is the struggle of the normal Christian life (Romans 8.)

    Hang in there, Meg....but "go easy" on Owen, OK? Christ has already and is sanctifying you....as you know, we don't do it.

    Robin :candle:
  4. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    Another thought....

    Veer away from anything exhorting to "do" more....our dear brother, John Owen is a bit lead-footed on the Law - heads-up!

    Rather, study, listen, pursue the "knowledge of Christ" (Gospel) which is what Christ said and did --- which is in Holy Scripture. Also, a superb book on the Christian life is: "Calvin's Doctrine of the Christian Life" by Ronald Wallace. (Seriously, this is a very meaningful text - worth the $30 it costs.)

    Btw, if we trust in Christ, we already have all of Christ.....the trick is, to struggle in repentence to seek knowledge of how this is true (our minds are ever clouded by sin.) Paul explains it best in Romans 12 -- we are to "renew" our minds with the knowledge of Christ; making a "sacrifice" of our bodies (which has a lot to do with studying; putting forth efforts to consider Christ) and receiving the Word and sacrament on the Lord's Day.

    You are welcome to U2U me if in question, Meg. (You are not alone in the fight.)


    [Edited on 5-18-2005 by Robin]
  5. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    Meg sweetie, fight the good fight of faith, [​IMG] lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed...(1 Tim 1:6) In other words hang in there. Don't you listen to the lies of the flesh. You walk in newness of life. [​IMG]

    Hebrews 10:23
    Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

    2 Timothy 1:13-14
    Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
    14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

    1 Corinthians 15:1-3
    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
    2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    21Test all things; hold fast what is good.

    You would not believe how many "hold fast" verses there are. I found 11. Paul told the early church Christians to hold fast all the time. That is what you need to do sweetie. Here is another great verse from Job.

    Job 23:9-10

    9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
    When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.

    10 But He knows the way that I take;
    When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
  6. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    Thanks, Robin, Owen just reminds me sometimes of pietism (though I know he's not). I remember reading the first chapters of The Glory Of Christ, where he's explaining that if one doesn't immediately grasp what he's saying one is carnal (and I promptly had an Evanjellyfish flashback and almost threw the book out, I was rather weak on church-history at the time). When I realized he was suggesting such people were unsaved that didn't make it much better. I'm experiencing similar things reading Communion With God (a modernized version through Puritan Paperbacks). Thanks again. all!

    [Edited on 5-18-2005 by turmeric]
  7. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    You're simultaneously living Romans 6 and Romans 7. You'll be like this until death or translation....whichever comes first.
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