For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Malachi 4:2

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Galatians 6:14
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Let the motto upon your whole ministry be - "Christ is All!" - Mather

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ecstasy And Delight In Christ!

John Flavel wrote:
Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer's soul and they promote sanctification. We were not meant to live without spiritual exhilaration, and the Christian who goes for a long time without the experience of heart-warming will soon find himself tempted to have his emotions satisfied from earthly things and not, as he ought, from the Spirit of God. The soul is so constituted that it craves fulfillment from things outside itself and will embrace earthly joys for satisfaction when it cannot reach spiritual ones. The believer is in spiritual danger if he allows himself to go for any length of time without tasting the love of Christ and savoring the felt comforts of a Savior's presence. When Christ ceases to fill the heart with satisfaction, our souls will go in silent search of other lovers. By the enjoyment of the love of Christ in the heart of a believer, we mean an experience of the "love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us" (Rom. 5:5). Because the Lord has made himself accessible to us in the means of grace, it is our duty and privilege to seek this experience from Him in these means till we are made the joyful partakers of it.

Flavel not only wrote about this experience of the love of Christ, but he enjoyed its reality as well. Charles Spurgeon told this story about him:
In the life of Mr. Flavel, who was one of the most temperate of the Puritans, and one not at all given to anything like fanaticism, there is an event mentioned which once occurred to him. He said that being once on a journey alone on horseback, the thought of the love of Christ came upon him with great power, and as he rode gently along the road, the thought seemed to increase in force and strength, till at last he forgot all about earth and even where he was. Somehow or other his horse stood still, but he did not notice it; and when he came to himself, through some passer-by observing him, he found that he had bled very copiously during the time, and getting off his horse he washed his face at the brook, and he said, "I did verily think as I stood there, that if I was not in heaven I could hardly hope to be more blessed in heaven than I was then." He mounted his horse and rode on to a place of entertainment where he was to pass the night. Supper was brought in, but left untasted on the table. He sat all night long without sleep, enjoying the presence of Christ, and he says, "I was more rested that night than with any sleep I ever had, and I heard and saw in my soul, by faith, such things as I had never known before."

Oh Father may we, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, know the height and the width and the length and the depth of the love of Christ which passes knowledge and be filled with all Your fullness . . . please grant us powerful, glorious, and beautiful ecstasy, delight, and joy in You! For Jesus' sake!

HT: Between Two Worlds


RH said...

while the initial quote is great, the second story is bothersome - I do not find these sorts of stories helpful – it full well may be a glimpse of greater fellowship, but it seems more like a drug experience or w/drawal from the world rather than being on-mission for the Lord – (and I personally am much more of a thinker than a doer)

either I’m missing X entirely in some major areas (which is possible), or these sorts of experiences are meant for private rumination, not to be lifted up to the congregation – i find it leads me only to spiritual depression that I do not have them myself, and not, as many preachers intend, to run headlong toward X in hope of receiving something similar

it sounds to me much more like the drugs in Walker Percy’s "Love in the Ruins" or even Huxley’s ‘soma’ in "Brave New World" (both of which simply lead to detachment). and it certainly seems that X’s experiences of joy do not lead him to disconnect like that

Joseph Randall said...

Thanks for the concerns RH. Maybe Flavel was having an experience akin to Paul's third heaven experience?