When one begins to read the whole of the Bible, you are going to be faced with very uncomfortable, and challenging truths.
There have been many times that I have wondered if I am not this guy pictured above.
In my continued reading of "Rare Jewels", I have come across words that I cannot simply pass by. It is not my desire to mindlessly become a reader of this text. I will listen to his point of view, and then adopt it as my own, proclaim it to be sheer nonsense, but mindlessly passing by is not in my intent.
Burroughs contends that becoming a scholar of Christ is very difficult, no different than the child who might complain of learning their ABC's. The task before us is going to be hard.
Hear it from Burroughs:
"This is where Christ begins with his scholars, and those in the lowest form must begin with this; if you mean to be Christians at all, you must buckle to this or you can never be Christian. Just as no-one can be a scholar unless he learns his ABC, so you must learn the lesson of self-denial or you can never become a scholar in Christ's school, and be learned in this mystery of contentment. That is the first lesson that Christ teaches any soul, self-denial, which brings contentment, which brings down and softens a man's heart. You know how when you strike something soft it makes no noise, but if you strike a hard thing it makes a noise; so with the hearts of men who are full of themselves, and hardened with self-love, if they receive a stroke they make a noise, but a self-denying Christian yields to God's hand, and makes no noise."
Here are the words that have stopped me in my tracks for a few days, in learning what Burroughs might desire to teach us about self-denial:
- I must learn that I am nothing.
- I deserve nothing. I am nothing, therefore I deserve nothing.
- I can do nothing.
- I am so vile that I cannot of myself receive any good.
- If God cleanses us in some measure, and puts into us some good liquor, some grace of his Spirit, yet we can make use of nothing when we have it, if God but withdraws himself.
- We are worse than nothing.
- If we perish we will be no loss.
Well...isn't that special!
Please continue reading...
Trust me, I am not applying for membership in the metal hat brigade, as illustrated above.
The great reformer, John Calvin, taught me that man's greatest vile, in the nostrils of God, is our pride. We the clay, would vain to instruct the Potter, or replace the Potter with gods of our own choosing, and are prone to go our own way, in spite of our Maker's instruction.
So first we must decide:
- Do we believe in God, or not?
- If so, then who should be running the show?
- What does God tell us about ourselves:
- In the Garden of Eden, we died.
- There was/is a physical death. We will all physically die some day.
- There was a spiritual death. We are all dead spiritually, without regeneration (the new birth).
- In the Garden of Eden, because of this death, we became separated from God. All of us are subject to his holy wrath. All of us. Unless, we grab a hold of the Savior from God's wrath, Jesus the Christ.
- Therefore, without Jesus Christ, hiding us, protecting us, justifying us, from the wrath of a infinitely, perfectly good God, then we are, and remain toast, and furthermore, potentially face eternity, screaming in torment, apart from God.
Therefore, without Christ, I am nothing. But for some reason, beyond my comprehension, God chose me, from before creation, to be snapped out of this worthlessness, this death, to become incomparably, beautifully robed in the righteousness of Christ.
So yes, I was nothing, and I have to keep beating my nature down with a holy stick, but thankfully, I have moved beyond less than nothing, to having great worth, to God, and I am hanging on to him with all my might, staying near the fountain of life, and holding to his promise to never let me go.
How about you? Are you worthless?