Why is it that for days, months, even years I might have shifted pieces of paper around, thinking ‘I need to keep hold of that’, and then suddenly I have the gumption and resolve to just chuck them? I have put in my recycling bin this morning half a hundredweight (that is an exaggeration, actually, as I’ve just looked that up and it would be around 25 kg… maybe a kilo, then) of paper.
It includes resources for a youth group that I ran over ten years ago: some worksheets for school that for some reason I had brought home (let’s not get INTO the amount of paper I have at work!) and other miscellaneous items. This could explain why I currently go through printer ink at a rate of knots.
There must come a time in our hearts when we say: No, this stronghold has got to go. This grip of sin on my life. Allowing the Holy Spirit, like a diligent and at times ruthless gardener, to root up the junk. We get used to it, it’s part of the landscape, we can’t imagine what the world would look like without it. Yet just as in a good garden every inch is being used to good effect, so also in our hearts wherever weeds are trailing over the ground, snaking up fences and shrubs, and letting loose their pods and seeds, no good thing can grow.
Father, I’m ready to allow new things to be planted in me today. Actions that I thought I’d never do: words I thought I’d never have the wisdom or the authority or the love to say. Wisdom cries out in the streets. Help me to hear her voice. Wise behaviour and the anointing of the Holy Spirit is worth much more than many hundreds of pounds. Worth more than a hundred casual friendships, more than a thousand evenings misspent whiling the time away.
Yesterday after including the link to CCEL, I started reading a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, and have decided that I still spend too much of my time reading unhelpful material. He is not an easy read, and I skim through parts of it, but occasionally a sentence jumps out, or a scripture. In particular, the Bible verses in Jonathan Edwards seem to come from a new perspective, and invariably when I read them meditatively the Holy Spirit illuminates them wonderfully for daily living. And the very angle he takes is convicting: the title of the sermon being Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer which is listed in the link here from a collection of his Selected Sermons. He argues that hypocrites in great measure leave off the practice of secret prayer. Here he contrasts how a hypocrite prays, with how a true convert approaches prayer:
A true convert is sensible that his grace is very imperfect; and he is very far from having all that he desires. Instead of that, by conversion are begotten in him new desires which he never had before. He now finds in him holy appetites, an hungering and thirsting after righteousness, a longing after more acquaintance and communion with God. So that he hath business enough still at the throne of grace; yea, his business there, instead of being diminished, is, since his conversion, rather increased.
In Zechariah 3:10 it says that the Lord will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication. Furnish me today, Father, with what I need to come before Your throne of grace. If we could see what happens when we pray, we would pray all the time, as we ought!