In HOPE

  In HOPE 8.37

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David Timms  

 


Recommended Reading

William Law, an articulate Anglican priest, wrote A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life in 1728. The book has become a classic in Christian literature but reader beware. Law's logic and driving arguments against spiritual laziness, half-heartedness, and self-justification seem harsh to ears accustomed to  a soft discipleship. Nevertheless the book had tremendous impact on John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield, the Quakers and so many others whom God has used in the last 300 years to launch revivals!

A Prayer for Today

Full-time Father, Who is ever-present, unswervingly attentive, constantly aware, and tirelessly engaged, teach me to be so with You. Forgive my convenient commitment. Lead me in the way of renewed abandonment of myself and embrace of You. Amen.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

 

"Who is the humble, or meek, or devout, or just, or faithful man?
Is it he that has several times done acts of
humility, meekness, devotion, justice, or fidelity?
No; but it is he that lives in the habitual exercise of these virtues
... to the utmost of his power."

-- William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, p.56.


Full-Time Faith

William Law spares no one. He insists that those who profess Christ as Lord have a duty to consistency. It's not enough to give occasionally, to be humble periodically, or to show devotion sporadically. Our Lord expects full-time faith.

 

In a world of tolerance, back-pedaling, soft words, and low expectations, we rarely challenge each other to deeper or greater engagement in faith. We "judge not lest we be judged." (Matt 7:1) So we ignore half-heartedness and excuse lives of convenient commitment.

 

Perhaps we've forgotten that when we declared "Christ is Lord" we agreed to surrender everything to Him -- all our possessions, our time, and our energy, not just a few dollars, a few hours, and a few acts of service.

 

Such language scares us. Our lives feel stretched to the limit already, without trying to do more. "Legalism!" we cry, as we push back. "We live under grace!" we plead, as we continue to abuse its abundance. 

 

Meanwhile, the chaos of creation and the deep brokenness all around us is exacerbated by our apathy and our part-time faith. Not that we utterly neglect doing good and being good. In fine moments we deserve a place among the finest. But until our fine moments become fine lifestyles we withhold the gospel and the kingdom from this darkened world.

 

What might happen if followers of Jesus launched their lives to new levels of loyalty? Never has there been a greater need for full-time faith. It sounds extreme. The notion of utter self-abandonment in every area of our lives sits uneasily amidst our comforts, favorite TV programs, and family plans.

 

But it reflects the call of Christ to those first disciples, and every disciple ever since.

 

Grace does abound for our weakness, fear, and failure. But the cost of our part-time commitment is paid by shallow, broken, and devastated lives -- sometimes our own.

 

May we pursue "the habitual exercise" of our faith with renewed earnest and resolve ... "to the utmost of our power."

 

In HOPE --

 

David

 

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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2008) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.