Seeing and greeting from afar, acknowledging today, and desiring a better one.
Harboring bitterness against people is actually, confessing their sin to myself, over and over again. Anger is akin to confessing their sin to God, dissatisfied that he hasn’t done something and placing myself in his position as judge. Gossip is confessing their sin to someone else.
— Paul Tripp, “Instruments in The Redeemer’s Hands”
The Cross also exposes me before the eyes of other people, informing them of the depth of my depravity. If I wanted others to think highly of me, I would conceal the fact that a shameful slaughter of the perfect son of God was required that I might be saved.
But when I stand at the foot of the Cross and am seen by others under the light of that Cross, I am left uncomfortably exposed before their eyes. Indeed, the most humiliating gossip that could ever be whispered about me is blared from Golgotha’s hill; and my self-righteous reputation is left in ruins in the wake of its revelations.
With the worst facts about me thus exposed to the view of others, I find myself feeling that I truly have nothing left to hide.
Thankfully, the more exposed I see that I am by the Cross, the more I find myself opening up to others about ongoing issues of sin in my life. (Why would anyone be shocked to hear of my struggles with past and present sin when the Cross already told them I am a desperately sinful person?)
And the more open I am in confessing my sins to fellow-Christians, the more I enjoy the healing of the Lord in response to their grace-filled counsel and prayer. Experiencing richer levels of Christ’s love in companionship with such saints, I give thanks for the gospel’s role in forcing my hand toward self-disclosure and the freedom that follows.
— Milton Vincent, “The Gospel Primer”
What is it then between us? What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us? Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not, I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine, I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it, I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me, In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me, In my walks home late at night or as I lay in my bed they came upon me, I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution…
— Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”
There are several pointers in the text that help us discover what this means in practice. One is in verse 7: “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.” Abiding in Christ involves letting his words abide in us. Notice how these two things come together: the word abiding in you and effectual prayer. Here is the first and decisive line of battle in your ministry. You must, you must resist everything that would pull you away from rigorous study of God’s Word and daily hours of prayerful meditation to let that Word sink in and abide. The inwardly abiding word is a truth of Scripture believed, cherished, and rolled back and forth in the imagination until its implications spill over into daily life as love and joy and peace and righteousness. The Word will not abide within us if we are in a hurry. We deceive ourselves when we are so busy doing good things that we snatch a text and a prayer on the run and think that we will be mighty men of God and bear spiritual fruit.
— John Piper commenting on John 15.7
In a perfect Friendship this Appreciative love is, I think, often so great and so firmly based that each member of the circle feels, in his secret heart, humbled before the rest. Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among his betters. He is lucky beyond desert to be in such company. Especially when the whole group is together; each bringing out all that is best, wisest, or funniest in all the others. Those are the golden sessions; when four or five of us after a hard day’s walk have come to our inn; when our slippers are on, our feet spread out toward the blaze and our drinks are at our elbows; when the whole world, and something beyond the world, opens itself to our minds as we talk; and no one has any claim on or any responsibility for another, but all are freemen and equals as if we had first met an hour ago, while at the same time an Affection mellowed by the years enfolds us. Life — natural life — has no better gift to give. Who could have deserved it?
— C.S. Lewis, “The Four Loves” on the incredible gift of friendship