Thursday, July 11, 2013

Loose grip and purposeful valuing

This is solid instruction by J. C Ryle that we can use to admonish ourselves with as well as gauge our spiritual temperature with. I think that this insight is particularly applicable to us North American consumerist Christians. In Holiness, we found written:
Last, but not least, a holy man will follow after spiritual mindedness. He will endeavour to set his affections entirely on things above, and to hold things on earth with a very loose hand. He will not neglect the business of the life that now is; but the first place in his mind and thoughts will be given to the life to come. He will aim to live like one whose treasure is in heaven, and to pass through this world like a stranger and pilgrim travelling to his home. To commune with God in prayer, in the Bible, and in the assembly of His people - these things will be the holy man’s chiefest enjoyments. He will value every thing and place and company, just in proportion as it draws him nearer to God.
Two things from this quote I find particularly helpful are the concepts represented by the image of holding things with a loose hand and the idea of valuing things in proportion to their drawing-near-to-God power.

A holy man is not a monk or an ascetic who has cloistered himself or herself in a monastery and given up all earthly goods. A holy person is not a hermit who has forsaken society. A holy person has not dropped all the good gifts of God that are profuse in our culture. Rather, they hold them loosely, neither tossing them aside nor tightening their grips on them.

Furthermore, the value one should put on earthy goods and things of this world is proportionate to their ability to help you draw near to God or hinder your pursuit of communion. For me, that means I should put less value on entertainment than I do; TV does not affect me positively when it comes to my affections for God. Conversations with godly friends should increase in value in my estimation because these discussions result in raised affections for Christ.

What are you holding on to a little too tightly? What do value a little too highly?

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