There is a staggering impermanence to all human achievement. From the least of us to the greatest, all our victories and accomplishments are slowly worn away by the merciless grinding of time. All I will ever do, or could ever hope to do, will one day be regarded as nothing; even my weightiest glories will be scattered by the wind. “What is your life? For you are like a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” And again, “all people are like grass, and their glory is like the flower of grass.” The greenest stalks of grass quickly wither, and its flowers are sure to fall. But Jesus’ glory is different! The victory He has obtained is permanent: “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” And the weight of His glory can never be abated or lessened; indeed, is constantly increasing. His inheritance is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading”—and kept in heaven for us who believe! Lord, help us to let go of our lives and cling to the Rock of Ages that shatters idols and fills the whole earth!
Life in this world would be easy but for one thing: we can’t see the future. Like those before us, we can interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but we have not the slightest apprehension of how to interpret the present time. None of us know what today or tomorrow will bring, so we fret. We pretend that our schemes and plans and endless worries can hold back evil and ruin. Indeed, my whole life is spent on the precipice of an impending future, not knowing whether I will continue on my earthly journey or fall, never to rise again. But Jesus knows. With Him, not only are a thousand years like a day, but each day is known to Him in every detail. Just as the hairs on my head are numbered, so are the minutes of my life. Let me approach the rest of this day—and the rest of my life–with confidence that Jesus knows it all, and is capable of delivering me from it all!
I have often attempted to act as the author of my own life and way, but all I have ever accomplished is to compose sin. And my compositions are not only damaging, they are also permanent: my sin “is written with a pen of iron; with a point of a diamond is it engraved on the tablet of [my] heart.” There is nothing I can do to erase my mistakes or re-write my errors. But Jesus is a different kind of author. He has engraved my name on the palms of His hands, and His blood has washed away even the most indelible of my sins. He has blotted my sins out of the record book and personally inscribed my name in the Book of Life. Well is He called the author and perfecter of our salvation! Lord, may the rest of my story bring honor and glory to Your name alone!
Before Jesus ascended, He assured His disciples that He was going away “to prepare a place” for them, and for us. “In my Father’s house there are many rooms.” The Scriptures give us glimpses of what that heavenly abode will be like: streets of gold like transparent glass, the river of life where everything lives, the light of God’s own countenance filling every corner of creation with fullness of joy. But the best part of heaven is that Jesus Himself will be with us. “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” So, not only is He doing all the work of preparing heaven for us, He is also the one who will take us there. He will remove all our sins, wipe away all our tears, and make us fit to dwell with Him in otherwise unapproachable light. Heaven would destroy us if not for His loving transformation of our hearts and souls that is to come. May we lose our appetite for earthly mansions and dwell on Him!
As fallen humans, we are no strangers to disease; even when we are healthy, we know that sickness and death could come at any minute. But what we often don’t see is the sickness of our souls. We don’t realize that we are “wretched, pitiable, poor, and blind;” we are oblivious of the way sin pervades and perverts our whole being. “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds.” There is no cure that can ever be devised for such a sickness; the only viable treatment plan for this most chronic of diseases is death. And Christ, knowing this as He knows all things, “took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” He died, and in His death we find our cure; our sin killed Him so that He could kill our sin. He not only gives us the diagnosis, but dies and lives again to procure the cure for us! “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Law, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear, and rules of the Lord are “sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” But what of Him who made sweetness itself, who created the sensation and provided ways for us to taste it? There is something about the taste of something sweet that has both power and joy in it; when Jonathan ate the honey, his eyes became bright and his body and soul were revived. Earthly sweetness, for all its benefits, is corrupt and carries many unfortunate consequences when overindulged in: “It is not good to eat much honey.” But the sweetness that Jesus offers comes with no such warnings. “Come, you who have no money, come buy and eat, and delight yourself in rich food!” The sweetness of Christ is sweeter than the richest fare that His creation can offer. Let us press on to taste the true riches of the heavenly banquet—and save room for dessert!
Not a single mistake, or slip of the tongue, or wayward thought unchecked. Not a single sin. Not a single neglected promise, or forgotten assurance. No, Jesus has never failed, either in general or towards His people. “He has never failed me yet.” All these years I have been put to the test, and I have come up far short! But Jesus—He has never once failed me. Not once has there been a time when He was at fault in anything. What confidence can we then place in Him! There is no risk in trusting God, because it is impossible for Him to fail. Contrariwise, I have no hope of succeeding when trusting in myself, or my surroundings, or in others; sooner or later, the fountains of the earth will fail, and I will be thirsty still. Praise God that He will never fail, and that in Him the fountains of grace flow forever and ever!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Unless our hearts are liberated by Christ, we will not be able to stand firm, or to resist submitting our hearts to a yoke of slavery. By nature and experience, we will naturally bow our heads to any and every idol that promises pleasure or security, even at the cost of our devotion. But Jesus died to set us free, and to give us the Spirit so that we can stand firm. As much as we desire slavery to our sins and lusts, Jesus can help us to resist them and find true freedom. Lord, help me detect and resist every form of slavery before I bow my head and submit my soul to another!
Even snow can be soiled. At first its purity covers the earth like a garment, but in time the pristine snow becomes earthy and dirty and defiled, just like the rest of the earth. How fleeting and impotent is the purity of snow! Not so with Jesus. When He finally cleanses a soul from sin, that cleansing is perfect and eternal. If He washes us, we will be clean indeed, and there will be nothing that can make us dirty or defiled again. Earthly sanctification should be like ever-falling snow that continually cleanses and keeps the worst at bay, but that work will cease when Jesus melts the elements and makes us as white as snow. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and wash my sins forever away!
No one else on earth can make this claim. My wife, who loves me, cannot possibly be with me all the time or in all the ways I might like her to be. My friends are all busy with families of their own, and are often unavailable when I might want to be with them. And especially at night, when I feel most alone, the sin of self-reliance too often creeps in to fill the void. But Jesus is with me always! He NEVER leaves me, but is always present and attentive to my cries. I am no orphan, but a beloved son whose Father and elder brother are never far away. Lord, give me grace to believe this truth!