Thursday, January 25, 2007

"O for closer walk with God"

All this blogging about the personal spiritual experiences of my early Christian life remind me of some of the joys of those days. There is always the danger, I think, of becoming complacent with the Christian life. Back then, everything was so new, so fresh, so exciting. I know some of my excitement back then was immaturity, but, nevertheless, there is something to be said for youthful zeal and the excitement of a young Christian for God and His word. You know what I mean?

I think it was A.W. Tozer who said something about the excitement and zeal of a young Christian before some self-appointed theological watchdog gets to him to talk him out of his zeal. O, my Reformed brothers and sisters! Don’t make it your business to put out someone else’s fire! Fan the Spirit’s flames; don’t put them out!

Maybe some of us need to catch fire. There’s something wrong if all our reading and learning only puts out the fire of God’s Spirit in our souls. The best thing is to have both knowledge and fire. But if I have to choose between the two, I’d rather be deficient in knowledge with a soul on fire, than full of correct theology with a heart as cold and hard as ice.

Anyway, along these same lines, I thought of a hymn by William Cowper (1731-1800) that we used to sing in church back in the day. I don’t hear it anymore, but it still speaks to me:
O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame;
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul’s refreshing view
Of Jesus and His word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their mem’ry still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O Holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
“A closer walk with God”—is that your desire? Remember, knowledge of infallible, inerrant, authoritative and sufficient Scripture is only a means to an end—
“A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb.”
The goal is to know God.

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