Note to Self, Part 4: Longing for More than Everything.

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It is a good thing to jot down these notes to myself in order that I might remember that which I easily forget; BUT that doesn’t negate the fact that ultimately, not what I say to myself, but what God says about Himself, and me in relation to Himself, is the ultimate safeguard and guide. Not the ultimate, but the only: everything else is a helpful supplement only as far as they point back to the source. Psalm 119:11

As a follow-up to talking about anything that comes between yourself and drawing near to a Holy God, the one who has washed and sanctified you, I will remind you of the forms which this lust may take in your life. I am not trying to prevent you with fix-all solutions to your problems as much as a way for you to “Act the miracle” i.e., work out that which God is working in you. Striving apart from Him you cannot succeed; striving towards the goals of holiness towards which He brings you, you cannot fail.

What are the lusts?

For you as a Christian, lusts could very simply be described thus: Longing for more than everything.

Those of the flesh: the wicked, abominable, and unashamed obsession with passing physical beauty, that which most often allows itself to delight in the lowest filth above higher beauties. When you commit adultery or rape in your heart, it is extremely likely that no one will hear about it. But does that matter? Is the importance of a crime as much its outward effect, or the person against whom the crime is committed? Self will tell you, relying on what is immediate and seen, that the second glance will satisfy you. But the heart will not be satisfied with that–if you allow self the one foothold of double-taking at a girl, your heart will want to push it to the mile mark of lust. It seems so innocent! And yet the very ascendant of our Savior chose to look again. From that grew adultery, an illegitimate pregnancy that could not be covered up, which in turn could only be dealt with by murdering the husband. You know this story, but do you really? Read Psalm 51, you will understand that you cannot keep a close walk with your Father and a pleasant realization of His salvation between your eyes, if you entertain this lust. A man after God’s own heart faltered through it: think not that you will survive. Put it far, far from you. Meditate on the better reality of the once-broken, now-glorified body of your risen Savior.

Remember: every wandering thought is an affront to the Savior’s sufficiency.  More on this here.

   Lust of these eyes: making much of this world and its goods. Its latest diversions, and an inordinate desire for possessions-driven standing among men (having the right technology, right clothes, right body) rather than being absorbed in the Christ-purchased standing we have before God. Seeking acceptance in a world that should hate me. You sub- consciously allow movies, gadgets, clothing, the places you eat, or anything else become a status symbol that defines how you desire others to view you.
   And it is spiritualized. You are given absolutely everything that is necessary for life and godliness, and yet you see outward things, such as external spirituality, proficiency of gifts and talents, or popularity to draw your eyes away from this reality. They become to you as means, so that rather than run to the fountain of Grace, you try to cultivate whatever external thing you think will improve you. But no means, if it is incorrect, can be pursued without the ends themselves being altered. This is why the crucial thing is to remember that your ultimate end is Christ, not being better in whatever your favorite aspect of life may be.
    Remember, every uncaptivated thought is an affront to the Savior’s sufficiency.
   Lust of the mind: entertaining fantasies, on any number of issues or events, all which tend toward my self-advancement or pleasure, rather than thinking on He who needs no aid of the imagination to be glorious. Your imagination is a gift, as is the enormous leisure which you possess as a human in being able to think on just about anything at anytime. But oh how wasted time can be in ridiculous imaginations after something that either isn’t true, isn’t honorable, or both. Phil. 4:8. Or perhaps you travel into your memory, and set your thoughts solely on things which have been once, and you are so easily discontented with being faithful with what God has set before you to do.
   Remember: every wandering thought is an affront to the Savior’s sufficiency. Your God supplies all your needs; His grace is sufficient for you; and in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and yet you take all of this, and discard it to think on things contrary to Him? Not to say we never think about other things; we live on earth and we are intended to be engaged in our lives. But why make God out to be so much less than He really is when we dwell on the things that keep us from Him, especially during our prayers and the worship service. (I will delve more into most crucial aspect in my next and hopefully final note on the subject).
Lusts of the heart: going from object to object seeking something which will satisfy my emotions. This is where the deepest problems lie, and often is the root of the others. This is where you are most vulnerable. Your heart belongs to a King: you simply mustn’t give it away without His consent. And why would you? Is He not enough? or do you feel the need to fill in the seeming gaps in your thought life and your emotions with something that is not yours yo cherish? “The human heart is an idol factory.” and you know as well as anyone.
    A man to whom you listen often, Paul Washer, draws out a plain but curiously elusive truth from Scripture: the Bible tells us to wrestle with Spiritual darkness, to wrestle with the devil himself (Eph. 6:12, James 4:7). This entails heartfelt, deep, harsh spiritual warfare in which most of us have never troubled ourselves to engage. But the curious thing is that when he addresses the sin of “youthful lusts” he gives a simple instruction: “Flee.” Retreat. Turn tail and run (2 Tim. 2:22. Nice number sequence. He follows with some practical instruction on what to pursue which surely have a place). Even though we are to wrestle with Satan himself, the deepest expression of Christian maturity, in regard to these lusts, is a deliberate distance from them.
This seems, perhaps at first, to have application only to the first lust. But it is bears just as much on the last as well. I must cut myself short here…and with the help of another, far more insightful author, will soon take this back up.

Note to Self: Continued…

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Note To self:
You are prayed for. You have friends, family, Elders and Brothers who make it their constant business to bring your poor little, wretched soul before the Lord; more importantly, you have a faithful and just High Priest, who ever lives to make intercession for you: indeed, you have the ministry also of the Holy Spirit, who prays even with groaning that cannot be uttered. Therefore, arm yourself! Watch and pray as well, lest you fall into temptation: make much of the offices of Christ and the Spirit on your behalf, by penetrating into the veil-less temple wherein God resides in the most Holy Place. And as Christ said, “Herein my Father works, and I work…” so endeavor to so remain in that Temple all through the day in the golden cabinet of your mind, that you may indeed say that every act of life is done before the most Holy Altar, a sacrifice of continual obedience.

And what is the substance of these prayers? much will be found in that sweet passage of Colosians 1:9-14, the substance of which is Paul praying that you would both know Christ and serve Him: this is indeed the especial matter of the whole letter.
I advise you, take all the substance of your earthly bliss, and everything you hold dear. Take your longing for emotional fulfillment, your favorite music, indeed, your desire to do and live well, your desire for human attention, approval; take your bizarre and selfish attachment to your own feelings of shame, and your circular patterns of sin and misery. Take this all, I say: do not merely throw it in the fire, without at least sitting down to add up the cost. No, put it all in the balance of Living for Christ. Weigh it all against charging on to know Him as well as you may, and to love Him as much as you are able. Weigh it against the cross that He compels you to bear (keep in mind, I pray you, the full devastation of your transgressions that He bore on Himself); weigh it against counting it all as loss, to know Him.
Go further, will you not? Whatever you hold dear, (in all honesty with yourself) put it on the scale against He in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; Who is the brightness of His Father’s glory, and the express image of His person, the One who declares the God which no man has seen; the One who shaped the world, shaped your heart, supplies your next breath; the One in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily, and the One of whom so much more is said, said so much more could be said! (for if we wrote all He did and was just upon earth, all the books in the world would be all taken up.
You would have bad math, indeed, if you continually see the deathly concoctions with which you afflict yourself as somehow above the worthy of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
There is much more about which you need advising. Among the rest, I ought address to you this fearsome habit of deviating away from your first subject matter. But more later.