It drives me: a desire.
I expressed it here, at 2012’s beginning, in the “One Word” I chose for the year: CLOSER. I long to live and walk in closer communion with my Savior.
“I can’t!” I claimed, back in this post. My fleshly efforts alone lead only to eventual frustration. Still, scripture commands me to “draw near to God,” and there “abide.” And my desire to do so burns on.
What to do?
I am rereading The Practice of the Presence of God because its focus character, Brother Lawrence, seems truly to have attained this blessing. I’m studying His example, paying closer attention to all he said there, and considering the context of His life.
I see repeated patterns in his words. One is about “can’t” — and what to do about it.
And the idea arises that I can make an acronym of C-L-O-S-E-R, each letter beginning a key word about the drawing nearer process. At least the C has lots of possibilities…
Can you think of any as you read his practical insights?…
When an occasion of practicing some virtue offered, he addressed God, saying, “Lord, I cannot do this unless Thou enable me; and then he received strength more than sufficient.
When he had failed in his duty, he only confessed His fault, saying to God, “I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss.” After this he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.
[He said] that we ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in our affairs, just as they happen. That God had never failed to grant it, as he had often experienced.
“When I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, ‘I am used to so doing; I shall never do otherwise if I am left to myself.’ If I fail not, then I give God thanks, acknowledging that the strength comes from Him. “
After he had not thought of God for a good while, he did not disquiet himself for it; but after having acknowledged his wretchedness to God, he returned to Him with so much the greater trust in Him as he had found himself wretched through forgetting Him.
[He said] that the trust we put in God honors Him much and draws down great graces.
That we may beg His assistance for… rightly performing [what] we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have done.
That, without being discouraged on account of our sins, we should pray for His grace with a perfect confidence, as relying upon the infinite merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. That God never failed in offering His grace at each action.
When he began his business, he said… “O my God, since Thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech Thee to grant me the grace to continue in Thy presence; and to this end… prosper me with Thy assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my affections.
…My common practice… I have done very imperfectly, yet I have found great advantages by it. These, I well know, are to be imputed to the mere mercy and goodness of God, because we can do nothing without Him, and I still less than any.
And Jesus says, “Without me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5), and…
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Mat 7:7; Luk 11:9)
And Galatians 3:3 says, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being perfected in the flesh?”
COUNTING REASONS TO PRAISE HIM
(FROM PSALM 90)
- 234 – Because He has been our available dwelling place throughout all generations
- 235 – Because He has been God from before the mountains were brought forth or ever He formed the earth
- 236 – Because from everlasting to everlasting He is God
- 237 – Because He transcends times, because although our lives are imprisoned in a mere blink of it, yet it nothing to Him. A thousand years to Him are but yesterday past, or a past watch of the night.
- 238 – Because He has total power over human life, turning, returning it back to dust
- 239 – Because nevertheless His infinite love invests us with (incomprehensibly) great worth. (“For God so loved…” “I have loved thee with an everlasting love…”
(From Psalm 98)
- 240 – Because He has done marvelous things — often in the past, right up to the present
- 241 – Because His strong right hand and arm gain Him the victory
- 242 – Because He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations
- 243 – Because the ends of the earth have seen His salvation
- 244 – Because He is coming again to judge the earth
- 245 – Because He will judge the whole world with righteousness and equity
(From Isaiah 1)
- 246 – Because He is the ultimate heart-broken parent Who grieves over His children’s turning away from Him
- 247 – Because He it is Who nourishes His children
- 248 – Because it is He who brings them up
- 249 – Because it grieves Him to see them make themselves sick and fainthearted, wounded and bruised and covered with putrefying sores
- 250 – Because it grieves Him to see His children’s rebellion bring collective destruction, invasion, seige, and overthrow
- 251 – Because He is the only reason they are not totally destroyed
- 252 – Because He hates empty material sacrifices
- 253 – Because He cannot bear “iniquity and the sacred meeting” wrapped up together
- 254 – Because, even thought our sins are as scarlet, srimson, He can make them white as snow, as white wool
- 255 – Because He hates injustice, bribing, cheating
- 256 – Because He hates oppression of the weak
- 257 – Because He promises the good of the land to the willing and obedient
- 258 – Because He promises those who stubbornly refuse and rebel that they will be sword-devoured
- 259 – Because He will rid Himself of His adversaries
- 260 – Because He will Himself overcome/take vengeance on His enemies
- 261 – Because His hand will be against the wrongdoers
- 262 – Because He will purge away the dross and take away alloy
- 263 – Because He will restore right judges and good counselors
- 264 – Because those who forsake Him will be consumed
- 265 – Because they will be ashamed, embarrassed, over their idols
- 266 – Because the strong rebellious against Him will be made weak as tinder before a spark