The Medicine we need?

Praying With Paul

 

I suppose we would all say, in our pain, that our great need is for the pain to stop. A doctor, on the other hand, may tell us that our great need is to take the (sometimes nasty) medicine that he will prescribe, because he knows that the pain will not stop otherwise. This second of three brief posts on the theme of What We Really Need also comes from Dr. D. A. Carson.

 

Dr. Carson wrote: “We quickly learn that God is more interested in our holiness than in our comfort. He more greatly delights in the integrity and purity of his church than in the material well-being of its members. He shows himself more clearly to men and women who enjoy him and obey him than to men and women whose horizons revolve around good jobs, nice houses and reasonable health. He is far more committed to building a corporate “temple” in which his Spirit dwells than he is in preserving our reputations. He is more vitally disposed to display his grace than to flatter our intelligence. He is more concerned for justice than for our ease. He is more deeply committed to stretching our faith than our popularity. He prefers that his people live in disciplined gratitude and holy joy rather than in pushy self-reliance and glitzy happiness. He wants us to pursue daily death, not self-fulfillment, for the latter leads to death, while the former leads to life.”

From Dr. D. A. Carson in ‘Praying With Paul’.

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What I really need…

Praying With Paul

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:7-11 ESV

I realize now that the childish lists I used to make each Christmas never contained anything I needed, and that, of all the things I wanted back then, few, if any, survive today. Blessed with caring parents, I barely needed even to ask for anything I really needed (love, of course, and care; food, clothes, and shelter). But I was quite sure that I could ask, if I felt a need, and trust them to answer with my best interests at heart (that’s why I never received the air rifle I asked for so often). This first of three brief posts on the theme of What We Really Need comes from Dr. D. A. Carson.

Dr. Carson wrote: “If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent us an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death, and he sent us a Savior.”

From Dr. D. A. Carson in ‘Praying With Paul’.

The measure we give….

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“For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 ESV

As a nervous child in the second grade I was terrified of my teacher’s outbursts of temper even when they weren’t aimed at me. Not all the rebukes of Scripture are aimed at all of us, all the time. But like the child I was then (and like the man I have become) I am guilty enough, often enough, to have learned that warnings (particularly the warnings of Scripture) are best never ignored. This final brief post on the theme of charity also comes from C. S. Lewis…

C. S. Lewis wrote: “For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear – fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a temptation. Sometimes our pride also hinders our charity; we are tempted to spend more than we ought on the showy forms of generosity (tipping, hospitality) and less than we ought on those who really need our help.”

From C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.

Why this waste?

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‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:40 ESV

Then, in Matthew 26, a woman is accused (by the disciples) of wasting ‘very expensive ointment’ to anoint Jesus with. Jesus saw it differently, ‘…she has done a beautiful thing …’ Perhaps the best clue to our own giving may be found if we imagine what we would do if we met Jesus in need, and doing that for the needy we meet. This second of three brief posts on the theme of charity comes from C. S. Lewis…

C. S. Lewis wrote: “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them. I am speaking now of ‘charities’ in the common way. Particular cases of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbours or employees, which God, as it were, forces upon your notice, may demand much more: even to the crippling and endangering of your own position.”

From C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.