#756: Allured Further On

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Reflections by the Pond
April 18, 2016

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21 niv

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It is perhaps more apparent in this political season than in any other in recent history that those in the corridors of power in Washington and New York should get out of town more often. Those who enjoy national-level influence, lucrative positions and a telegenic visage should occasionally leave their bastions of supremacy, change their thousand-dollar suits for some dirty work clothes, and visit for a while with the peons out here in flyover country.

For once, they should stop blithely flying over—and land.

° ° °

There is nothing inherently wrong with power or wealth; most individuals born of woman, of any economic level, wouldn't mind having a bit more of either or both. But those who dwell in that heady atmosphere, who rarely step outside its gilded portals, will inevitably acquire a skewed perception of what life is like for the common man. While they remain cloistered in their marbled halls, the power elite can repeatedly make bad decisions that harm those not of their ilk, those they claim to represent.

And when Christians cling stubbornly to the perspective and mindset of this impermanent earth, when they form their opinions and base their decisions on what seems right to them, they distance themselves from the One to whom they profess devotion.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55:8-9

Of course it makes perfect sense: We were born here, we live here; even as believers we are made more of clay than spirit. Our natural bent remains toward earth rather than heaven, toward self rather than God.

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Part of our ongoing sanctification is weaning ourselves off our dependency on the things of flesh, and nurturing a dependency on things above. We must train ourselves—not just through prayer, but through practice—to always seek the way of our Lord before we stumble forward, blindly groping our way, on fleshly reasoning.

There is a sound reason to do this: It is the way of success. The Lord always wins; He will ultimately prevail in all things.

"This is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?"

Isaiah 14:26-27

Even if His way leads to personal pain, it is for our good. No earthly intellect or reasoning can match the breadth, weight, and penetrating scope of God's sovereign will. At the same time, no earthly affection can match His boundless love for those who call upon His name. So His way will always be the best way for anyone who desires a deeper, more substantive relationship with Him.

Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

Psalms 25:4-5

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Oh how the thought of God attracts
And draws the heart from earth,
And sickens it of passing shows
And dissipating mirth!

God only is the creature's home,
Though rough and straight the road;
Yet nothing less can satisfy
The love that longs for God.

Oh utter but the Name of God
Down in Your heart of hearts,
And see how from the world at once
All tempting light departs.

How little of that road, my soul!
How little hast thou gone!
Take heart, and let the thought of God
Allure thee further on.

The perfect way is hard to flesh;
It is not hard to love;
If thou wert sick for want of God,
How swiftly wouldst thou move!

Be docile to thine unseen Guide,
Love Him as He loves thee;
Time and obedience are enough,
And thou a saint shall be.

Frederick William Faber