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More Musings on the Spirit and Truth September 14, 2006

Posted by Joe in Quotes, Random Musings.
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Lar,

Amen to your 9/14 reflections, I mean, your 9/11 reflections. The threat of terrorism really should bring a seriousness to our preaching and worship. You know you are in Disneyland when preachers think and act more and more like entertainers. It’s a sad sight. When the truth is set aside or made peripheral, preachers get desperate and shallow. May the Lord have mercy on us, and bring by His Holy Spirit a joy-filled seriousness and awe.

I wanted to post a short response to your previous post concerning the necessary union of spirit and truth. I’ll start with a few quotes. First, John Piper in Desiring God writes,

“Truth without emotion produces dead orthodoxy and a church full (or half-full) of artificial admirers (like people who write generic anniversary cards for a living). On the other hand, emotion without truth produces empty frenzy and cultivates shallow people who refuse the discipline of rigorous thought. But true worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine. Strong affections for God rooted in truth are the bone and marrow of biblical worship.”

Jonathan Edwards in Religious Affections says,

“As there is no true religion where there is nothing else but affection, so there is no true religion where there is no religious affection. As on the one hand, there must be light in the understanding, as well as an affected heart…so, on the other hand, where there is a kind of light without heat, a head stored with notions and speculations with a cold and unaffected heart, there can be nothing divine in that light, that knowledge is not true spiritual knowledge of divine things. If the great things of religion are rightly understood, they will affect the heart.”

They are right on the money of course. And both of them have had powerful impacts on my own thinking (and I suppose, feeling as well). The practical out-workings of those truths, however, can be quite touchy. On that note, I think your last post on this matter was quite helpful. I think we have spoken about that truth before, but it is good to put it into words. The Word and prayer are clearly united, just as spirit and truth, and our inclination towards either surely reveals something.

I noticed this first in my own heart and life. There was time in which I could read for hours, but only pray for minutes. It wasn’t until I realized that prayer is a primary means through which the Lord stirs up our affections (when we pray rightly and are accompanied and led by the Holy Spirit). The Lord began to show me (in a variety of ways) that one of the main reasons why I needed to pray was because a lot of Word without a lot of prayer would turn me into a cold intellectual (and an arrogant one). Frankly, I don’t think the affections can be rightly stirred apart from faithful, fervent, persevering, Spirit-led prayer.

However, it is worth noting that Spirit-led prayer is Word-saturated prayer. And this is where some who lean towards petition and not towards meditation miss out. Much fervency in prayer apart from much Biblical meditation will naturally lead to a shallow fervency. If we want our affections to truly honor the Lord of glory, they must be rooted in Bible truth. And if we want our petitions to carry weight before the Lord of glory, they also must be saturated with Bible truth. The two cannot be divorced. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder!

This might sound over-simplistic (and in one respect is), but I think the best advice to people on both sides is this: work on your weakness until it becomes your strength. And when I say work, I by no means want to point to some self-reliant work, but a humble working in meditation and prayer. For those who struggle to pray, pray until you become a person of prayer. And for those who struggle with Bible reading and meditation, read and meditate (and pray!) until you love it. And I have no doubt that even though it might be a struggle, you will love it! This has been my experience with prayer. Every morning is a fight, but when I get to my knees and start petitioning, I love it and have a hard time getting up. Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. It took a great deal of diligence and discipline. It took praying even when I didn’t feel like praying. But we have already covered that. When we don’t love something we should love as Christians, I think it is wise to do it until we love it (praying the whole time for the grace!).

Alright, enough for now. I know you don’t want to give away your entire sermon, but I wouldn’t mind rolling on this some more. If the church of Jesus Christ could wed the two, what might the Lord do? The answers are breathtaking. Let’s seek it for ourselves, call others to the same, and pray for the Spirit to come and do that sweet miracle of the soul. O Lord come!

Seeking completeness with you,

Joe

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Comments»

1. Robert - November 21, 2006

Is Joe, Joe Chaney? Ive been looking for him. His website The truth about God http://www.musingsaboutgod.com/ is very good. If this is the same Joe, Please write tome at gdknos@yahoo.com
Thanks


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