“We feel the weight of that mortality that often makes life a burden; yet we say, “Not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality may be swallowed up of life.””—Horatius Bonar, The Morning of Joy
“Repentance does not come by fits and starts; no, it is one continued act of our lives; for as we daily commit sin, so we need a daily repentance before God, to obtain forgiveness for those sins we commit.”—George Whitefield, A Penitent Heart
Yeah, in a world like this, finding someone that likes you and you like back is so rare. There’s the excitement that though the world is as it is, though other relationships are what they may be, you find someone who just may like you for who you are, despite all else.
The hope is that somehow you’re evading the same fate as everyone else. What you have is special, and different. Until you realize that that someone’s no different. And hopefully sooner than later you realize that you’re no different. Even what seems so rare and precious in a life like this is itself fleeting and can be so worthless.
But in restoration comes radiance. A heart disfigured, turned inward toward itself, needs to be healed and liberated. Wisdom comes from open-eyed truth, when a heart is broken away from naivete into cynicism and understands and grieves in its brokenness, even realizing that innocence and naivete is itself not to be returned to, but rather a misappropriation of truth, a lost way. In that rests an opportunity for true love.
True love knows that the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Only true love can understand this. It does not merely say, in spite of the circumstances I will still love! It says because of the circumstances, because I am true love to a world that does not know love, I will love.
We have to be taught to love, because we do not know what love is. More so, we need to be first given a perfect love, because we are unable to love even adequately, particularly because there is only one true type of love, and that is perfect love.
Finding someone you like and likes you back is rare. But finding a perfect love that gives you the love that can love perfectly? That takes an earth shattering miracle. Love would have to become incarnate and love you perfectly, entirely, and assuredly for everything that you are not.
Only then can you not only like someone who likes you back, you can even love someone who hates you, and transform them into someone who not only loves you, but loves even those who hate them.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. - St. John the Apostle, 1 John
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my heart, my soul, my all. - Isaac Watts
When [the joy of Christ] is lost sight of, selfish melancholy often fastens on us. We brood over our griefs till they engross us entirely, to the shutting out of all else. We magnify them; we spread them out and turn them over on every side in order to find out the gloomiest. We take credit to ourselves of endurance, and thus feed our pride and self-importance. We fret under them, and at the same time grow vain at being the objects of so much sympathy—at having so many eyes upon us, and so many words of comfort addressed to us.
Nothing can be more unhealthy than this state of soul, nor more unlike that in which God expects a saint to be. It shuts us into the narrow circle of self. It contracts as well as distorts our vision. It vitiates our spiritual tastes, it lowers our spiritual tone, it withers and shrivels up our spiritual being, unfitting us for all offices of calm and gentile love, nay, hindering the right discharge of plain and common duty. It is in itself a sore disease, and is the source of other diseases without number.
To meet this unhealthy tendency God seeks to draw us out of ourselves. He does so in holding up the cross for us to look upon and be healed: but he also does this by exhibiting the crown and throne.
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God. It is fearful to realize that the church is more than a matter of good-hearted fellowship, that nothing less than life or death is involved here. It is an awesome thing to realize how much God intends to make of us, a terror to know of God’s determination to “make us or break us” rather than leave us as we are.”—Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens (via benghini)
“But unless [spiritual disciplines] tend to reform our lives, and change our hearts, and are only used as so many channels of divine grace: as I told you before, so I tell you again, Christian will profit you nothing.”—George Whitefield, Regeneration
“Resolve for Christ, resolve against the devil and his works, and go on fighting the Lord’s battles against the devil and his emissaries; attack him in the strongest holds he has, fight him as men, as Christians, and you will soon find him to be a coward; resist him, and he will fly from you.”—George Whitefield, A Penitent Heart
“It’s one thing to have God as a boss, an example, a mentor; but if you want God to be your Savior, you have to replace what you’re already looking to as a savior. Everybody’s got something. What is it for you?”—Timothy Keller, King’s Cross
Yet let us not forget what the sorrow has done for us while it lasted; and what the night has been, though dark and sad.
It has been a night of grief, yet a night of blessing; a night in which there may have been many things which we could wish forgotten, yet many more which we should wish to be remembered for ever.
Often, during its gloom, we called it “wearisome,” and said. “When shall I arise and the night be gone?” (Job 7:4). Yet how much was there to reconcile us to it; nay, to fill us with praise because of it! It was then that the Lord drew near, and the world was displaced, and self was smitten, and our will conquered, and faith grew apace, and hope became brighter and more eager, and the things that are unseen were felt to be the real and the true; Jerusalem that is above was seen by us as our proper home.
“Nothing short of a thorough sound conversion will fit thee for the kingdom of heaven. It is not enough to turn from profaneness to civility; but thou must turn from civility to godliness.”—George Whitefield, Regeneration
“[Half-truths] never really bring hearers face-to-face with their real problem: that they stand naked and ashamed before a holy God and can only be acceptably clothed in his presence by being clothed, head to toe, in Christ’s righteousness.”—Michael Horton, Christless Christianity
“All the real argument about religion turns on the question of whether a man who was born upside down can tell when he comes right way up. The primary paradox of Christianity is that the ordinary condition of man is not his sane or sensible condition; that the normal itself is an abnormality.”—G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
“Nothing less can satisfy than the directest, fullest vision of incarnate glory. Self-emptied before the Infinite Majesty, and conscious of being wholly unworthy even of a servant’s place, we yet feel as if drawn irresistibly into the innermost circle and centre, satisfied with nothing less than the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”—Horatius Bonar, The Morning of Joy