Monday, August 15, 2011

Confessions of Spiritual Giants

It's good to know sometimes that some things never change. And it's good to know sometimes that people you think of as spiritual giants have chinks in their armor just like I do. Not that any spiritual pressure is relieved when they fall, but that they wrote about the struggles they had, and it makes me feel like less of a worm to have those same struggles. I don't want you to read more into this than you should, so here is what I am referring to:

As some of you know, for my devotional time in the morning, I often read The Life and Diary of David Brainerd. Brainerd was a missionary to the American Indians who was immensely passionate about making much of Jesus, but died at 29 years old in the home of Jonathan Edwards of TB. If you aren't familiar with his story and passion, let me commend it to you. So this morning I read where he wrote on January 3, 1744

"...I find that I do not , and it seems that I cannot, lead a Christian life when I am abroad, and cannot spend much time in devotion, Christian conversation, and meditation as I should do. Those weeks that I am obliged now to be away from home, in order to learn the Indian tongue, are mostly spent in perplexity and barrenness, without much sweet relish of divine things; and I feel myself a stranger at the throne of grace, for want of more frequent and continued retirement. When I return home, and give myself to meditation, prayer, and fasting, a new scene opens to my mind, and my soul longs for mortification, self-denial, humility, and divorcement from all the things of the world..."

I have this same problem! And I always feel like such a failure, because I can't seem to do what I ought to outside of my routine. Vacations, conferences, mission trips, trips to see family, and the list could go on. Isn't my relationship with God more than a habit?! As Brainerd said on the day before this entry: "It is nothing but the power of God that keeps me from all manner of wickedness. I see I am nothing, and can do nothing without help from above. OH, FOR DIVINE GRACE!"

I am thankful (and you should be too) that our acceptance is not based upon our performance. And I still feel the obligation and the desire to continue fighting for the exercise of the disciplines and intimacy with God when I am out of my routine, but it comforts me some that the men of God of bygone generations whom I respect much, struggled like me...

"For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" -Romans 7:19, 24-25

1 comment:

  1. That was helpful to me. I read the words from Romans 7 and feel in my spirit the same struggles. May God give us a passion to know and honor Him, and especially in the non-routine stretches of life. May we "practice His presence" moment-by-moment and thank Him when He lovingly corrects us.