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A Heart For God: Weaker and Weaker Still

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Weaker and Weaker Still

Journey to the Celestial City #33. In our continuing look at John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," today we find the man, Christian, having encountered an adversary, Apollyon, he must withstand a initial verbal assault. Among other things the fiend fills the believer's mind with are his past sins, how he's even entertained turning back from the Way at such an early stage. But Christian is able to navigate this abuse recalling the tender mercies of his Lord to forgive. So Apollyon raises the stakes. The fiery darts are now thrust at Christian and with tremendous frequency - "as thick as hail." Thus he's wounded in his "head, hand and foot." Is this how it's supposed to end? - this suddenly? - this painfully? But Christian "must needs grow weaker and weaker" still. And even the crush of the enemy of our souls is for our own good (ie. Job). I know it's hard to believe that especially as it seems there's no end in sight to some of the trials we face and the hurts we must endure. But still the truth remains and is alive and at work in us who are committed to Jesus: "for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10c). "And He (the Lord) said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). More to come in the next blog post. Check back soon. (To read this entire blog post series, scroll down to "Pilgrim's Progress Series" in the left sidebar.) pp 49-52

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2 Comments:

Blogger Diane L. Harris said...

As Christians, our trials either pull us away from God or drive us deeper into His embrace.

If we move closer to God through our trials, we thank Him for bringing us through the tests.

On the other hand, if we find ourselves farther away from God at the end of a test, our hearts will eventually turn back in longing for Him and He in His mercy will forgive us again and take our repentent souls back into that same loving embrace we left.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

(1) I worked for a wonderful Christian organization that for twelve of the last sixteen of my years there saw continual annual declines in customers and income. (2) In a few days from now, I will have been ill for eight years running. (3) My father "celebrates" his fiftieth year with Lyme's disease and its many effects. (3) Yesterday I spoke with a young Christian woman in a wheelchair who gave up counting her operations after her 80th. (4) A fellow church goer has Lyme's disease, fibromyalgia, disautonomia, and her joints are being destroyed, she feels, by a powerful anti-biotic the doctor insisted on giving her despite her objection (she has a chemistry background). (5) She mentioned a devout, articulate pastor she knew who saw much fruit to his labor, but for reasons unknown, committed suicide. (6) As I write, I expect the most severe economic decline in centuries lies just ahead. (7) Meanwhile, before he died Francis Shaeffer observed a four decade decline in the church in the US (and I think the west generally); the decline seems only to have continued since.

I have often been encouraged by Paul's example in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Yet I find myself again in Doubting Castle in need of Hopeful. Self-denial, cross-bearing, and following Jesus are painful daily.

Nevertheless, Hallowed be His name! I cannot ordain a better history than God has, is, and will. For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things.

7:18 PM  

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