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01 March, 2013

Christian Progress - Part 8 Last Part

It is now 1:00 AM and I have to be up and running in about 4 hours and a half. I decided to put my blog out very early just so that I do not waste time.

As I am reading the questions John James is suggesting that we use to examine ourselves I am covered by a sense of sadness. Why you might say? Because this is the Christianity I have learned at His feet.

I am no better than anyone else, in fact my life is so lousy that I do not want to talk about it. Also, I am truly what you would call an unlearned, yet I have no idea why He chose to teach me in the way He taught me. I have no idea why He chose to reveal so much of Himself to me. I promise you that anyone of you who meets me in heaven, since nothing will be hidden, then you will know how much at one point I begged Him to stop revealing Himself to me because all I wanted was Him. I am telling you the truth, I actually begged Him to take this unlimited grace and pour it on someone that would be more useful to Him like my pastor. I prayed and begged because I felt those experiences would be wasted on me.

Why am I telling you all these things? Because I am trying the only way I can to make you understand how much so many of us misunderstand Christianity.  I can see the danger so many of us are in, at the same time I feel powerless because at the end of the day, the next step belongs to you. You would be wise to consider John's  questions, take them to heart. Take them to God. Don’t lie to yourself because God will be God and you would end up hurting yourself with your lies

When we go to God with our doubts and unbelief, it does not matter Satan knows them, if our hearts are open to God and we are truly seeking Him at any cost and by any roads, then Satan cannot hurt us with the information. The only time he has power to hurt you is when he knows you want God but you have your own agenda that you want Him to take into consideration and you are not willing to budge on them. Open up your heart and trust Him. Please do not make the wrong choice.

I love you all and I leave you with John’s last reading

                                                           John A James, 1853

                                ADDRESS TO THE READER
Reader, this is an unspeakably important chapter for you to ponder. You must not pass from it in haste—but linger, and muse longer and deeper. You must now take up the candle of the Lord, as I have said, and go down into the very depths of the soul, to search its hidden recesses. Nor should you trust to your own inspection and scrutiny. Like David, you should earnestly pray to God to search you, and reveal your real state to you. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. 

Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." He knew how prone we are to self-love and self-deception; how sin lies hidden in the folds of the heart's deceit, and therefore he begged the trial and scrutiny of eyes more piercing and less partial than him own. So must you. We are all liable to judge too favorably of our own case. Do, do, consider the fatal, the dreadful, the eternal consequences of a mistake on this subject.

Oh, the idea of imagining we are going on to heaven, when step by step we are advancing to hell! Is this possible? It is! And the very possibility should awaken our alarm. Is it probable? It is! And this should increase our alarm. Is it certain? It is! And this should raise still higher our anxiety. Is it common? It is! And this should carry our solicitude to the highest pitch. What did Christ say on this matter? Read with awe and trembling. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 

Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:21-23. Read, I say, this passage in which our Lord with his own hand, sounds the alarm through the whole church. Ought you not to examine? Is not there need of it? Is it not all but madness to go on without it? Mistake! What in such a matter as salvation? Mistake! What in a matter in which an error will require, as I have often said, an eternity to understand, and an eternity to deplore it!

Are you quite sure this is not your case? Take up the subject, then, and put the following questions to your soul.

Am tolerably sure that I am truly converted to God? Am tolerably sure that I am a real Christian?

If I am a true Christian, am I really an advancing one—or am I mistaking a declining state for an advancing one?

Am I mistaking a lengthened time of profession—for a genuine growth in grace?
Am I putting an increase of knowledge, and of ability to talk about religion—in place of an increase of holiness?

Does it satisfy me to grow in knowledge and lamentation of my corruptions—without mortifying them?

Am I mistaking sectarianism—for true piety? Am I mistaking attachment to some preacher—with love to the truth? Am I mistaking zeal for some favorite doctrine—with real love for the gospel?

Is my mortification of sin confined to some one corruption, which interest, ease, or reputation may require me to surrender; or is it directed against all sin?
Is my religion a mere excitement of the emotions, and my growth only a greater excitability; or is my will more and more determined for God, my conscience more tender, and my life more holy?

Inquire, I beseech you, into these things. Be determined, by God's grace, to know the real state of your soul, and to be under no mistake. Be this your prayer, "O God of truth, you who search the hearts and examine the thoughts of the children of men, you know I would not for ten thousand worlds be deceived about my spiritual state. 

You know me through and through. Make known to me what I really am in your sight. Painful as it would be to find out that I have been deceiving myself, this would be infinitely better than for me to go on in error until the mistake is past being rectified. I want to know my real state. Even if I am a Christian, and yet mistaking declension for progress, I wish to know this also. Let my spiritual insight be clear, my self-acquaintance be accurate. Do not allow me to deceive myself—as regards my spiritual progress or decline.