Tuesday, June 29

Looking Past Self to Jesus

I was struck by the sheer applicability of this 19th Century Spurgeon devotion. We, in ministry, may complain about the superabundance of self absorption even among so-called Christians, and for good reason. (We're not exempt from it ourselves!) In "fat" societies like America, it is easy to expect to be served even by God! We assume our right to be right, or to determine what is truth. But the honest believer is ever the submissive one who faithfully defers to the Lord. Submissive, not passive, I say. There's a great difference. Please take the time to read the following. Emphasis in bold print is mine along with comments interspersed.
It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.”  
Did you ever think, "I know God will forgive me, but I cannot forgive myself?" Yes, and this is a tool of Satan. For all sins are pardonable. Let us not think our sin trumps God's forgiveness, no matter that we feel horrible for them.
All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. [Beware of morbid introspection] But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. 
What victorious happiness comes over that believer who first realizes that it is not his own faith that secures Christ, but as Spurgeon so aptly puts it, it is Christ who takes hold of him! He further adds:
We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”


David Nelson Jr said...

Tremendous post dad! Everything touched on in this post is precisely what I've been dealing with the last couple of days. I make the mistake of condemning myself, and saying how I or God wouldn't, nor shouldn't, forgive me for my sins. However, I fail to realize that we were already sinners deserving death from birth, and that we cannot add to God's righteousness, nor subtract grace that may come from him according to our sins. Continually looking to Jesus is all we ever need to do. Amen

David R. Nelson said...

Great comments, Dave. Said well, but not necessarily because well written (though that is true) but more so because it is well experienced and honestly tackled. The great "accuser of the brethren," our arch-foe, Satan, does stay very busy trying to get us to sin, and that failing, to get us to neglect the beauty of pardon for sin and, therefore, extrication from the foe. But he is a defeated foe (Col. 2:13-15, esp. 15).