Thursday, January 12

Seeing the Limits of This-World Pursuits

(Continued from the last post)
I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.” (Psalm 119:96)

We’ve All Seen Limitations
“I have seen a limit to all perfection, . . .” The best things for which men seek all their lives, are at best still only fleeting and limited. They may pursue great wealth or knowledge or possessions. So some say, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I add, they still die! Much money is spent in advertising products that makes us look better or younger, diet and exercise programs to help us live longer and feel better, clothing to improve our looks, or put us into the “in” crowd or perhaps fit in with the styles at work. We all know (certainly in America) how very important these external things are for the average person.

But there is a limit isn’t there? Money and knowledge do not guarantee happiness. The health and diet crazed cannot be assured beyond doubt that they will not suffer from devastating disease or keel over from a heart attack. It still can happen even though exercise is a profitable thing to do. Indeed, as Paul tells Timothy, “bodily exercise does profit a little, but godliness profits unto all things” (1 Timothy 4:8). There are limits that no man can know. But experience has taught us all that we cannot depend upon these things. “You’ve got to stop and smell the roses.” Truly. And many overlook this bit of wisdom in the endless pursuit of things or health? Have we seem the limit to all perfection?

Pursue True Contentment
Thomas Manton writes that even the best of attainments will be lacking for they cannot truly make us happy. In the midst of those things we are still empty. “Carnal affections must be mortified [put to death] before they can be satisfied. Grace must do that for you; it is godliness that brings contentment to the heart of man” (1 Tim. 6:6). Contrary to popular belief “the way to contentment is not to increase our substance, but to limit our desires.”

Further, the pursuit of “perfection” cannot make us more acceptable to God. Isn’t this after all the rub? Is this not wherein the battle lies? We fight within ourselves over whom we will please. Truly it is said of the wicked, that “God is not in all his thoughts” (Ps. 10:4, KJV). Of how many Christians might this also be said at least to some degree? Do true believers see the limits of great pursuits? What bling does God desire of us? “The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4). Remember, says Manton, “God loves his people for the grace he puts into them, not for the outward gifts he bestows upon them.” It is grace that makes us acceptable and beautiful to God, HIS grace.

I’ll stop here. More to come on this subject . . . 

No comments: