I wrote about the new “word of the year” last month, and Ravi Zacharias has posted a wonderful article on this same topic.
He came to us, sent by the Father. But was mankind ready? This time of year we begin to take an account of our life in this past year. We look back, and consider who we are, and Who He is. Those of us who are his children must consider our life of following. And this coming year, we must ask ourselves if we are ready in this year to follow the prayer of the Puritans in this prayer…To Be Fit for God. Blessings to all of you as you seek Him out because he has sought us out.
To Be Fit for God
Thou Maker and Sustainer of All Things,
Day and night are thine, heaven and earth
declare thy glory: but I, creature of thy power
and bounty, have sinned against thee by resisting
the dictates of conscience,
the demands of thy law,
the calls of thy gospel;
yet I live under the dispensation of a given hope.
deliver me from worldly dispositions, for I am
born from above and bound for glory.
May I view and long after holiness as the beauty
and dignity of the soul.
Let me never slumber, never lose my assurance, never
fail to wear armor when passing through enemy land.
fit me for every scene and circumstance; Stay my mind upon thee
and turn my trials to blessings, that they may draw out my
gratitude and praise as I see their design and effects.
Render my obedience to thy will holy, natural, and delightful.
Rectify all my principles by clear, consistent, and
influential views of divine truth.
Let me never undervalue or neglect any part of thy revealed will.
May I duly regard the doctrine and practice of the gospel,
prizing its commands as well as its promises.
Sanctify me in every relation, office, transaction and condition
of life, that if I prosper I may not be unduly
exalted, if I suffer I may not be over-sorrowful.
Balance my mind in all varying circumstances and help me to
cultivate a disposition that renders every duty a spiritual
Thus may I be content, be a glory to thee and an example to
…modernity is the era where the determinant of what is good is no longer an authority or a doctrine, but the individual himself.1
…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.2
In my last post I discussed the latest term to win the moniker “word of the year”. When emotions and personal belief can displace objective fact as our cultural standard, we have reached the point where man has decided he knows best, but with an ignorance that belies his or her arrogance.
We live in era of great technological improvement, and overwhelming modern comfort. What we dream can, in many cases, be created or achieved. Great strides forward have taken place in every imaginable area of life. And yet, modern man rises in the morning, looks in his or her mirror, and says, “Who am I, and why am I here?”
There is a vacuousness to the modern life attempting to live in a world undefined by its creator. To acknowledge that God exists is to admit weakness and defeat of our own ability to create our life on our terms. Alfred Borgmann believes
Contemporary culture is extremely conscious of itself…And yet it seems to me that contemporary culture is essentially blind to itself. It is ignorant of its essential character.3
That essential character of which man is ignorant is the inherent Imago Dei. God creates, man runs and denies, and runs some more. Seeking to distance himself from the one objective truth that would deny him self-sufficiency and self-existence.
In The Modern Self, Charles Taylor adds to this thought,
To know who you are is to be oriented in moral space, a space in which questions arise about what is good or bad…what has meaning and importance for you and what is meaningful and secondary. But in fact our identity is deeper and more many-sided than any of our possible articulations of it.4(Emphasis mine)
Taylor is right, our identity is deeper. And it is deeper because the “orientation of our moral space” is God Himself, and we are Imago Dei, made in his image. What does it mean to be made in the image of God? In his Reformed Dogmatics, theologian Geerhardus Vos writes
It means above all that he is disposed for communion with God, that all the capacities of his soul can act in a way that corresponds to their destiny only if they rest in God.
We were created for communion with God. We were created to commune with Him, and to obediently follow his law. But sin entered and the Fall separated us from Him. And yet, those who are His children are still his image bearers, and in our heart we know it.
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.(Romans 2:14-15)
The emptiness I mentioned earlier demonstrates His Presence in our lives. There is a deep yearning that modern man seeks to replace with anything or anyone else other than his own Creator.
We were given a gift by the Creator of everything to commune for eternity with him. And yet, modern man reacts with nothing but ingratitude,
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.(Romans 1:21)
How did we get to this place today, in a post truth, post modern era where God is denied, and man knows what is best? In the next post we will look at modern philosophy and liberal theology as the foundation for much of the ills of modern man.
John Calvin, in his Institutes, states the following about God:
We are called to a knowledge of God: not that knowledge which, content with empty speculation, merely flits in the brain, but that which will be sound and fruitful if we duly perceive it, and if it takes root in the heart. For the Lord manifests himself by his powers, the force of which we feel within ourselves and the benefits of which we enjoy.
We would all do well to meditate on this thought. And let it “take root in our heart”.