What is Most Savory to Your Soul - Christ or the World?
It brings me great sadness to report that a person whom I once considered a dear brother has gone apostate from the faith. With joy we used to go together to the house of the Lord, yet he has now chosen a life of corruption over Christ. After many admonishments from brothers he has shown no interest in parting with his idolatrous lifestyle and even attempts to justify it with religion, citing that the Bible does not really mean what it says. At this point I can only mourn and pray that God grant him repentance.
But to this it makes me all the more earnest to contend for what we have, for the rich blessings we have in Christ:
Earnestly contend for heaven, dear Christian, for Christ is too precious to part with on ANY terms. By God's grace stand resolved to make war on all that stands between you and heaven. Use the talents Christ has given you to make religion your main business, to spend and be spent for Him. And by the renewing work of the Spirit, do not neglect to take up arms against the rebellion in your heart because some among us in the pews ... would have heaven but also have their sins, for they do not mean to part with them. They would have heaven's rewards and yet hope God would leave them alone in this life. They would co-mingle with the saints of God and outwardly put on heavenly garments but whose hearts are full of hypocrisy, deceiving others and themselves. This issues forth from the heart of a swine and not of a saint ... for he would choose to wallow in the hog's dung of his carnal pleasures, rather than dwell in heavenly mansions with Christ. Without having uttered a word, the lives of men tell us what they think and say in their hearts.
Be plain-hearted for our God is not to be jested with. Our callings are holy callings and not something to draw our sin out of.
Instead of taking heaven by violence, the hypocrite presses against it. These deluded souls exercise all the power in their possession to strenuously drive on toward hell. They will not be persuaded with reason or with God's word and choose instead to remain in blindness and bondage to the Devil who has taken them captive to do his will. Amazingly, they prefer this to the glorious liberty that they might have in Christ. These prefer the temporary and ephemeral pleasures of sins deceit to the eternal pleasures they would have in Christ, in which there is no greater riches. It is most unreasonable to prefer sin and misery over the beauty and matchless worth of Christ. Though sin may taste sweet for a moment, even to the worldly, it ends with a mouth of gravel. Though walking the narrow way may mean that one carries fewer goods with them in this life, we can still find comfort in the things we lack because these too are supplied by Christ. He gives and takes away, and so we should find solace in that, for He intends their removal for our ultimate good.
But when the Spirit does a true work of grace in a person he/she is both persuaded to renounce worldly lusts and the pride of their own righteousness, and this so that they may cast away all and have no obstacles as they run to Christ. Heaven, and not earth, is most savory to their soul. Their hearts are both possessed and overcome with the beauty and excellence of Christ. They wish to tire themselves out in their pursuit of Him as they love Him more than life itself. Why do they do this? Is it because they naturally overcame the darkness in their own hearts? No, because God calls them by name unto Himself (Acts 2: 39b, 47; 1 Cor 1:24). He gives rest to them and takes their burdens for His own. To these he promises that in no wise will he ever cast them out and no other can pluck them out of His hands.
Lord I pray that you would open the eyes of my unbelieving friends that they would be fully persuaded that the Scripture speaks certain truth ... that it is reality and not fiction