By the way, the book is required reading for Brad Buser’s Cross-Cultural Church Planting class here at The Master’s College. Fascinating, horrifying, soul-piercing. Almost drags you out of your chair and toward the mission field. Think: living Ephesians 6:12 without the armor. Not what this post is about, but “Currently Reading” ought to have some context.
Time for cut-and-paste from the personal (as opposed to online) journal. Because I want to post something, but I’m not finding the time. I didn’t write this personal journal entry to be posted, but here it is – actually from Monday 3/15, not Thursday 3/18.
Judges 3. Yahweh allowed some nations to remain in the promised land alongside Israel, “for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of Yahweh” (3:4). Another purpose was “that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly” (v. 2). So Israel was tested by her covenant Husband by His allowing these other idolatrous and pagan nations to walk alongside her, flaunting their wares and their gods and enticing Israel to come after them. And she did, and so proved that though she may have been ‘faithful’ to Yahweh if He had left no other nations or gods alongside of her to tempt her, she most likely would not have been. Her prostituting-heart only needed to be tempted. Had she not been tempted, the seeds of spiritual harlotry would still have been present. And so He tested her. And so today He tests me. Whether or not I will be ‘in the world’ is not a question. Whether I will be not ‘of the world’ is quite questionable day-by-day. The hope-giving truth, however, is that I now have a new heart within me, a soft ‘heart of flesh’ instead of the old ‘heart of stone.’ This Israel did not have. The Law was written on tablets of stone, yet after those days God had promised that “I will write the Law on their hearts.” So though the old man is still in me, and therefore the world is in me, yet I must not be ‘of the world.’ Indeed, if Christ have full reign in me, I will not be. But all the while, I wander through this world as a sojourner, being tested moment-by-moment by the enticement of the natives, the citizens of this land. They wink at me, reveling in the daytime as in the night, and call to me as I pass by, “Join us, Friend! Ease your cross-burden, and come, sit a while. You may pick up where you left off after a season of rest. Why must you push on with such vigor toward such a far-off destination? Why act as if you are no citizen here? Come, Friend. We will drink our fill until morning, for even a soldier cannot do battle without rest.” But their ways are a snare; they go down to the Pit. And this is my testing today. O Father, my tongue is parched; the burden of self-denial is no feathery burden; my feet long for a resting. Yet I am bound for the Promised Land. So I set my face today, my countenance grows stiff and resolute, and the promises of Your grace dare me to be so bold as to follow my Commander. This is no bed of roses. This is no pleasure cruise. Yet nor is the rest I seek, for it is infinitely more pleasurable, immeasurably more sweet, irresistibly more tranquil and calm and still. And oh, there will be a “riot of joy”* when I arrive there!
Now that I’ve gone and pasted the 3-day old journal entry, it feels rather strange… perhaps it’s because so much of journaling is written prayer… and personal prayer ought to be with the door closed, the blinds drawn, and with the left knee not even knowing why the right knee is kneeling. Maybe I won’t post such personal entries again… And isn’t pride a prostitute bar-none? Never resting… “Hey Gunner, that was a nice journal entry. Why don’t you cut and paste that onto xanga?”
“…that saved a wretch like me…”
* Amy Carmichael, “Greater Joy,” in Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael (Ft. Washington, Pa.: Christian Literature Crusade, 1999), 21.