How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose and was now glad to reject! You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, You who outshine all light yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, You who surpass all honor though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves. At last my mind was free from the gnawing anxieties of ambition and gain, from wallowing in filth and scratching the itching sore of lust. I began to talk to you freely, O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.
So now, take a man that hath all the fullness of the earth; because that his soul was never made for the fullness of the earth, therefore he is said to be empty; in the midst of all his fullness, the man is an empty man, because his heart is not full of that for which he was made, and that is Christ.
Christ is the desire of nations, the joy of angels, the delight of the Father. What solace then must that soul be filled with, that has the possession of Him to all eternity!
We only cease to be the slave of one appetite because another taste has brought it into subordination. A youth may cease to idolize sensual pleasure, but it’s only because the idol of material gain has gotten the ascendancy. There is not one personal transformation in which the heart is left without an object of ultimate beauty and joy. Its desire for one particular object may be conquered, but its desire to have some object is unconquerable. The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one.
How would you finish [this] sentence? “One thing have I desired of the Lord; that will I seek after _________.” What is the greatest desire and longing of your heart? In the answer to that question lies the explanation for much of what we do – our choices, our priorities, our use of time, the way we spend money, the way we respond to pressure, whom or what we love. [King] David’s answer (see Psm. 27:4) reveals why God could say, “This man’s heart beats like mine.”
What is there that you can desire should be in a Savior that is not in Christ? Or, in what way would you desire a Savior to be otherwise than Christ is? What excellency is there lacking? What is there that is great or good; what is there that is venerable or winning; what is there that is adorable or endearing; or what can you think of that would be encouraging, which is not to be found in the person of Christ?
The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent, with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception…which kept me, the bigger part of the time, in a flood of tears and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be…emptied and annihilated, to lie in the dust and be full of Christ alone; to love Him with a holy and pure love; to trust in Him; to live upon Him; to serve and follow Him, and to be totally wrapped up in the fullness of Christ, and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity.
I began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by Him. An inward, sweet sense of these things, at times, came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. And my mind was greatly engaged to spend my time in reading and meditating on Christ, on the beauty and excellency of His person, and the lovely way of salvation by free grace in Him.
It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls.
To be in Christ is the source of the Christian’s life; to be like Christ is the sum of His excellence; to be with Christ is the fullness of His joy.
A sinner does not “decide” for Christ; the sinner “flies” to Christ in utter helplessness and despair saying – Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Saviour, or I die. No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope, his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God’s holy law. Nothing else is satisfactory. If a man says that having thought about the matter and having considered all sides he has on the whole decided for Christ, and if he has done so without any emotion or feeling, I cannot regard him as a man who has been regenerated. The convicted sinner no more “decides” for Christ than the poor drowning man “decides” to take hold of that rope that is thrown to him and suddenly provides him with the only means of escape. The term is entirely inappropriate.
I had rather be in hell with Christ, than be in heaven without Him.
The purest joy in the world is joy in Christ Jesus. When the Spirit is poured down, His people get very near and clear views of the Lord Jesus. They eat His flesh and drink His blood. They come to a personal cleaving to the Lord. They taste that the Lord is gracious. His blood and righteousness appear infinitely perfect, full and free to their soul. They sit under His shadow with great delight… They lean on the Beloved. They find infinite strength in Him for the use of their soul — grace for grace — all they can need in any hour of trial and suffering to the very end.
To know Christ in the storm of battle, to know Him in the valley of shadow, to know Him when the solar light radiates our faces or when they are darkened with disappointment and sorrow, to know the sweetness of His dealing with bruised reeds and smoking flax, to know the tenderness of His sympathy and the strength of His right hand, all this involves many varieties of experience on our part. But each of them like the facets of a diamond will reflect the prismatic beauty of His glory from a new angle.
Most men are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives. Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within His followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world He came to redeem. Fame, pleasure and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of His eternal plans. The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards (John Campbell White).
The deepest level of awareness of God is achieved only by intimate communion with the Son (Kenneth Grayston).
If we do not have some knowledge by faith of the glory of Christ here and now, it means that we have no real desire for His presence in heaven.
Knowing God without knowing our own wretchedness makes for pride. Knowing our own wretchedness without knowing God makes for despair. Knowing Jesus Christ strikes the balance because He shows us both God and our own wretchedness.
When you know the truth about what happens to you after you die, and you believe it, and you are satisfied with all that God will be for you in the ages to come, that truth makes you free indeed. Free from the short, shallow, suicidal pleasures of sin, and free for the sacrifices of mission and ministry that cause people to give glory to our Father in heaven.
Following Jesus doesn’t just entail sacrificial abandonment of our lives; it requires supreme affection from our hearts.
We must seek to know something of heart-felt, experimental communion with Him. Never, never let us forget, that “union” is one thing, and “communion” another. Thousands, I fear, who know what “union” with Christ is, know nothing of “communion.”
Affection is the real secret of a good memory in religion. No worldly man can think much about Christ, unless Christ is pressed upon his notice, because he has no affection for Him. The true Christian has thoughts about Christ every day that he lives, for this one simple reason, that he loves Him.
The heart of a true Christian longs for that blessed day when he will see his Master face-to-face and go out no more. He longs to have done with sinning and repenting, and believing, and to begin that endless life when he shall see as he has been seen, and sin no more. He has found it sweet to live by faith, and he feels it will be sweeter still to live by sight. He has found it pleasant to hear of Christ, and talk of Christ, and read of Christ. How much more pleasant will it be to see Christ with his own eyes, and never to leave Him anymore!
Without Christ life is as the twilight with dark night ahead; with Christ, it is the dawn of morning with the light and warmth of a full day ahead.
It only stands to reason among those who are truly saved that they will spend the duration of their existence with the desire to grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is a clear indication that we not only love our Savior, but find Him so magnificent that we wish to continually explore new elements of His perfections. Expanding our relationship with Him through biblical awareness and personal experience is at the heart of knowing Christ, is at the heart of a genuine relationship with Him.
You must keep all earthy treasures out of your heart, and let Christ be your treasure, and let Him have your heart.
To the graceless neck the yoke of Christ is intolerable, but to the saved sinner it is light and easy.
Oh, to think of heaven without Christ! It is the same thing as thinking of hell. Heaven without Christ! It is day without the sun, existing without life, feasting without food, seeing without light. It involves a contradiction in terms. Heaven without Christ! Absurd. It is the sea without water, the earth without its fields, the heavens without their stars. There cannot be a heaven without Christ. He is the sum total of bliss, the fountain from which heaven flows, the element of which heaven is composed. Christ is heaven and heaven is Christ.
I must confess that I never realize Christ’s preciousness so much as when I feel myself still to be, apart from Him, an undeserving, hell-deserving sinner.
Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him. No, I must know Him myself. It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. It will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Savior, my mind will be full to the brim – I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. It will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more.
We are programmed for failure if we’re looking for ultimate answers in a non-ultimate realm, a realm that’s partial, fragmented, incomplete. We end up worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. We can do that as believers. The total answer is a Person, Jesus Christ. It’s part of God’s program to make us dissatisfied with what the temporal realm offers, so that we might seek life in Him.
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best, stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal light. My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health, bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem, bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might receive welcome, closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that I might for ever live.
Better the storm with Christ than smooth waters without Him.
He is the first and last, the beginning and the end!
He is the keeper of creation and the creator of all!
He is the architect of the universe and the manager of all times!
He always was, He always is and He always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated and never undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings peace!
The world can’t understand him, the armies can’t defeat Him, the schools can’t explain Him and the leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him, the Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him and the people couldn’t hold Him!
Nero couldn’t crush Him, Hitler couldn’t silence Him and the New Age can’t replace Him!
He is light, love, longevity and Lord!
He is goodness, kindness, gentleness and God!
He is holy, righteous, mighty, powerful and pure!
His ways are right, His word is eternal, His will is unchanging and His mind is on me!
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, my guide and my peace!
He is my joy, my comfort, my Lord and He rules my life!
I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light and His goal for me is abundant life!
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and the sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come!
He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me, never forget me and never overlook me!
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face death, He carries me home!
He is God!
He is faithful.
I am His and He is mine!
God is in control, I am on His side and that means all is well with my soul.
Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.
When Christ gives you soul-rest, there is rest for your conscience because He removes its sin-caused guilt. His soul-rest also includes rest for your mind because He reveals Himself as the truth of God. He ministers rest for your heart since it no longer has to frantically search for a haven of rest. There is rest in Him for your fears since your soul is in His loving, omnipotent hands for all eternity. Christ also provides rest for your sense of purpose now that you have Him to worship, love, and serve.