I asked the Lord that I might grow In faith, and love, and every grace, Might more of His salvation know, And seek more earnestly His face. 'Twas He who taught me thus to pray, And He, I trust, has answered prayer; But it has been in such a way As almost drove me to despair. I hoped that in some favoured hour At once He’d answer my request; And, by His love’s constraining power, Subdue my sins, and give me rest. Yea, more, with His own hand He seemed Intent to aggravate my woe, Crossed all the fair designs I schemed, Blasted my gourds, and laid me low. "Lord, why is this?" I trembling cried, "Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?" "These inward trials I employ, From self and pride to set thee free,
Instead of this, He made me feel The hidden evils of my heart, And let the angry powers of hell Assault my soul in every part.
“‘Tis in this way”, the Lord replied, “I answer prayer for grace and faith.
And break thy schemes of earthly joy, That thou mayest seek thy all in Me.
I asked the Lord that I might grow In faith, and love, and every grace, Might more of His salvation know, And seek more earnestly His face.
'Twas He who taught me thus to pray, And He, I trust, has answered prayer; But it has been in such a way As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favoured hour At once He’d answer my request; And, by His love’s constraining power, Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Yea, more, with His own hand He seemed Intent to aggravate my woe, Crossed all the fair designs I schemed, Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
"Lord, why is this?" I trembling cried, "Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?"
"These inward trials I employ, From self and pride to set thee free,
— John Newton (via danielkeem)
Meditations on Tasting Grace
These days, simple Gospel truths have been wrecking me day by day. One day it was theoretically justification, and today it was the reality of grace within that. I had forgotten how grace tasted, how grace felt, how true grace is shown and received.
How grace is shown requires that a law be broken. There has to be a right and a wrong, a good and a bad in our world of relative truths. Our conscience must be broken by what we did wrong according to the Word of God and the fear must be felt that we deserve punishment. We deserve our financial blessings to be taken away, our friendships to be destroyed. When we violate the law of God - when we lie, envy, lust, gossip - we are not only deserving the consequences of those sins but also of death and hell.
And so - how “good” does my day feel in all that I’m doing good until at that one point, where I slip up according to the Word of God and my conscience mortifies my soul in my thoughts. Like a kid with his head down about to confess to his parents that he had been stealing money out of his mother’s purse and gambled it away to the neighborhood kid, the guilt condemns because a law has been broken. At this point, the child fears the worst - he knows he has done wrong and deserves an extreme punishment for his heinous crime. At this point, the parents could do a number of things:
1 - Tell the child that what he did wasn’t really wrong - stealing isn’t a sin. Then the consequence would that the child would grow feeling like stealing isn’t that bad - and negative consequences for society follow. (This is what our culture does by calling good evil and evil good - not acknowledging that some things defined by the Bible are sin and some are not.)
2 - Tell the child what he did was wrong, but think that it wasn’t that big of a deal because the parents have a lot of money anyway, and send the child off scot-free without a correcting word but a loving “that’s okay honey, just don’t do it again”. (This is what I feel like what most of us do when someone sins against us in the church- we try to be the “bigger man or woman” and think - okay, you might’ve sinned against me and you confessed - but its okay it doesn’t affect me because I’m spiritually mature and it didn’t hurt my feelings, so go ahead and live your life and I’ll pardon you from a place of superiority. Or if someone hurts us in the church and they don’t confess to us, we will just take the sin with an air of self-righteousness as if its okay because we’re better).
3 - Or the only way to show grace, is something that I can only think and feel about in terms of an illustration - where a parent acknowledges the weight of the sin that the child commits in terms of the damage it brings to himself and others and yet is so focused on the well-being of the child and so loves the child that he or she says “its okay, you did a really bad thing, but I love you, and I’ll help clean up the mess, and I’ll take the hit financially in my own pocket, and I’ll help you to learn how to not steal because you don’t have to - because if you just asked me, I would provide what you really really need and not what you think you need for happiness.
And that’s how grace is felt, and how grace tastes - and it tastes so good. Because we’re human, we’ve sinned, and if we believe that Jesus Christ has died for our sins and risen again to give us new life to defeat sin - we will still fall into sin every single day and need grace every day. To know this grace we need to know the Law - to know what’s right and what’s wrong - but to also know the lawgiver - and his disposition towards us in Christ.
And that’s my ramble, because today God showed me another aspect of my sin, and thus another aspect of my need for Him, and another aspect of how much I don’t deserve anything, but because of His grace I’ve been given everything because He loves and that what He started in this rough marble he’ll bring to completion to something finer than what Michaelangelo could sculpt himself ~
This is by far my absolute favorite part of the movie. Song has been on repeat for the past three days as I’ve been writing my essay :)
Lead singer Jon Foreman was asked if Switchfoot is a “Christian” band. His response is worth pondering. “To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue…
"None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music. No. Christ didn’t come and die for my songs, he came for me. Yes. My songs are a part of my life. But judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing. I am a believer. Many of these songs talk about this belief. An obligation to say this or do that does not sound like the glorious freedom that Christ died to afford me."
Good morning, Martha
In all that I’ve learned,
not a single thing earned,
not a merit for me, but for thy.
Since the very beginning,
only grace, freely given,
hath the power to make me alive.
For I once thought it best
to lean on my doing,
whether well, or poor seemed my fall.
But now that the Savior
dwelleth within me,
it is He who hath finished it all.
Since the very beginning,
it was I that you wanted,
not my doing, or gifts to exclaim.
But simply to rest,
and rest with assurance,
that Jesus know me by name.