Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kris Lundgaard 'The Enemy Within' (IV)

Quite a few poems / hymns in a row, so it is time for more Lundgaard / Owen for my encouragement and edification, and hopefully yours too. This is a cracking chapter!

No Idle Mind

We need to use the right tools in our fight against sin. Thus Rom 8:13 says "if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live" Our job is to kill the flesh; our tool is the Spirit in us.

But how do we use the tools we have? The great tools available are meditation and private prayer - which we should do in a way specifically designed to destroy the flesh: 'In this meditation and prayer we compare our hearts to the Scriptures, comparing our lives to what we find there.' (71)

But we'll never do this without keeping three things in mind:
  • Meditate on God with God - filling your mind with his glory & character & love & beauty & exellency & so on...
  • Meditate on the Word in the Word - never studying the Bible to find tit-bits, never aiming for something clever to say at home group, and never without praying for the Spirit's help, which he loves to give...
  • Meditate on yourself in the Word with God - the great strength of these times of meditation and prayer is their ability to expose our inner sinfulness at work, as the Spirit uses the Word to shine light into any inner darkness...
'Without these, prayer is not prayer. Without these purposes and longings, your prayers and meditations won't bring any glory to God, and they won't make you holy or fill you with joy.' (72)

Remember that the flesh is a wounded animal - it will not sit quietly and let you meditate on it any more than the average wounded Tiger will. You must expect it to scratch and claw, hating the light. Expect four claws in particular:
  • Aiming at your Weakness - you need to rest, you're too tired, etc... 'If you don't imbed it in your mind that prayer and meditation are indispensable, and seek God's grace every day to resist the sluggishness of your body, then you will hit the snooze button all morning rather than kneel before the throne. And if you snooze, you lose.' (74)
  • The Tyranny of the Urgent - you need to work hard to be respected in the office, and you need time with other people, etc... 'Is it likely that God would call you to do more than he gives you time to do? No one who believes God is good and wise could answer yes. So when it seems that you don't have enough time to do your work, care for your family, love your friends, and devote yourself to prayer and meditation, the problem isn't God's providence. The problem may be that you've taken on yourself more than God intended.' (74-5) What normally ends up going? That very thing most designed to damage the flesh.
  • The Duty Swap - which argues that praying with the family, or going to church is enough Christian activity, and you don't need this private soul-searching meditation. If you fall for this, you're stuffed!
  • The Big Promise - you can do that next week, just get through these exams or reports or garden projects or hard weeks with the kids, or whatever... 'This is the cheer of the perennial loser: "We'll get 'em next year!"' (75)
Is this too hard? 2Tim 1:7 "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline." Remember the reward, from 1Cor 15:58 "My dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labour in the Lord is not in vain."

Lundgaard's final reflection question is worth quoting in full:
Meditate on your self with God in his Word. Do you pray fervently and meditate on God in his Word? Do you search the Scriptures in order to know Christ? Has spiritual decay set in? Has your mind, in one way or another, shirked its duty?

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