This was the daily quote in my devotional reading recently:
“Do not try only to abstain from sin, but strive, by God’s grace, to gain the opposite grace. If thou wouldest not slip back into sin, thou must stretch forward to Christ and His holiness. It is a dull, heavy, dreary, toilsome way, just to avoid sin. Thou wouldest not simply not be impatient; thou wouldest long to be like thy Lord, who was meek and lowly of heart. Thou wouldest not only not openly murmur; thou wouldest surely long, like the beloved Apostle, to rest on Jesus’ breast, and will what He wills.”
Edward B. Pusey
I realized this is what I have been talking about with my reunion group friend. I have shared that I can usually refrain from “outward” sins. In other words, I do a pretty good job of avoiding sinful behavior. However, I still struggle with things like a poor attitude, lack of gratitude for the good things God has given me, or uncharitable thoughts. The author of this quote has it exactly right: I need to pray to not only to do what is right, but to really want to do it. I need to do good not just because it is my duty, but because it brings me joy to please God.
This reminds me of the famous love verses from 1 Corinthians, chapter 13:
” If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[ but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I obey God without love for Him and for others in my heart, it’s meaningless. I’m like the Pharisees in the Bible, and Jesus called them “white-washed tombs.” In other words, they looked good, but were dead inside. I must develop the qualities of a truly loving disciple.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 4-7
This certainly isn’t easy, and I can’t do it on my own. I need the help of the Holy Spirit. I’m praying for that. Will you join me?
For more quotes by E. B. Pusey see: