Help me to always be devoted, confident, obedient, resigned, childlike in my trust of thee, to love thee with soul, body, mind, strength, to love my fellow-man as I love myself, to be saved from unregenerate temper, hard thoughts, slanderous words, meanness, unkind manners, to master my tongue and keep the door of my lips.
Fill me with grace daily, that my life be a fountain of sweet water.
That’s the Puritan prayer we’ve been discussing for some weeks now. You can read my commentaries on always being devoted, confident, and obedient, if you’d like, by visiting the past three blogs. Today, we are moving on to “resigned.”
One has to wonder what the Puritans meant when they penned the word “resigned.” But since this prayer is clearly written by a staunch follower of Christ, I think it’s safe to look at Christ’s life and consider … to what was He resigned?
Christ lived perfectly. He not only knew The Law, He obeyed The Law without flaw for His entire thirty-some years on earth. Some days, I fail at following The Law in the first ten seconds of consciousness that begins my day. Before my feet hit the floor, I’m already accepting lies, whether those lies are told to me by my own faithlessness and sinful desires, or whether I simply believe what the Enemy hurls at my sleepy head. I cannot imagine living to be 30-something without a single sin to my name. It’s mind-boggling.
So Christ was resigned to obedience, and obedience, for the Christian, as we’ve discussed recently, not only looks like following The Ten Commandments, but also carrying out other commands in Scripture:
-putting on the fruit of the Spirit (gentleness, goodness, self-control, etc.)
-putting off greed, malice, envy, etc
-honoring the king (or in my case, the POTUS)
-going to church
I could go on for decades, it would seem.
The Christian life is not an easy life. Without the Holy Spirit, it is an impossible life.
Take church attendance, for example. Sunday’s can feel like our only day off. Monday thru Friday, we work. Sometimes, we also work on Saturday. Sunday is football, and some weeks, the game starts hours before we get home from church. The bed, I’ve noticed, is particularly comfortable the precise moment the alarm sounds on a Sunday morning. The deepest sleep of the week also occurs at that precise same moment.The children, who wake up an hour early every other day of the week, choose Sundays to sleep in – and who are we, their parents, to wake the little angels? But now that the two of us parents are awake, how about breakfast in bed and uninterrupted love making? I mean, even the dog is snoozing late ….
Oh – and church. That’s where all those sinners go that we don’t feel like loving today. There’s the pastor’s (overly) booming voice. The pianist – she’s always flubbing up. I don’t think I feel well. My throat is scratchy. Or maybe just dry. I bet half the kids there today will have a virus and they will all – every one of them – share their germy germs with my children.
As I said … I can accomplish quite a bit of sinful thoughts before my feet ever hit the ground.
Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another … (Hebrews 10:25)
How do we exhort at church?
The preacher exhorts through his sermon and reading of Scripture.
The pray-er exhorts through his prayer.
The people of God exhort with Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, sung together in harmony.
And we “do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” by simply showing up. By resigning ourselves on Saturday evening to just go to church. Forsake the wants, the comfort, the sleep, the game, the cozy love breakfast, and … just go. Yes, because it’s commanded. But also because it is food (spiritual sustenance) for living a godly life. It’s fuel for a soul to keep trusting, obeying, loving, giving, and receiving. It’s growth.
Yes, one can stay home and read the Bible and listen to a preacher online who preaches better than the local preacher. If one is a shut-in, one should. I’ve been there at times, and what a gift online services can be. But an able bodied person should be gathered with other believers in the flesh. Come as you are, and taste and see that the Lord is good. Resign yourself to the command, knowing that the command is for your good and God’s glory.
Why were the Puritans so resigned to follow Jesus?
Because they feared Him. And because the more they followed, the more they saw and experienced the blessings that came with doing so.
No time to list what those blessings might be, but if you just go to church, I’m confident that at some point, you will discover them on your own.