Monday, February 1, 2010

Book Club ~ Heaven Taken By Storm

"...the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Matthew 11:12

The section from Chapter One that was most encouraging to me was when Watson discussed what this holy violence implies: 1) resolution of will 2) vigor of affection and 3) strength of endeavor.

Particularly when he talked about the vigor of affection. I have really struggled lately with the whole lack of affection – lack of feelings. Some days we're so on fire, we have all kinds of great feelings about the Gospel – about our "great God and Savior" and we're totally ready to be zealots (as Paul says in Titus 2). And then there are days when we're just wonderin' if we're a Christian. There's none of all. We're so down and so lookin' inside our yucky hearts and we can't find one good affection.

Ya know what? The Gospel's not inside of us. It's just not, dear saints. You can look all day're not gonna find it. You'll find all kinds of other stuff but "the one thing needful" is outside of you. And we get into this downward spiral (am I only prachin' to myself, here?) of lookin' at our heart and seein' so much rotten fruit that every time we try to look anywhere else we get overwhelmed by our hearts again and we fall back into the pit.

Here Watson says that the resolution of the will comes before any vigor of affections. The resolution of the will can conquer those downer days when there are no affections (not any good ones, at least). The affections follow upon the will. And isn't that the way it always is? We don't trust our feelings to make faith. We have faith and the feelings follow. We believe that Christ died for sinners and rose for sinners (and we believe it even on downer days) and the affections of "Christ died for SINNERS! and rose for SINNERS!" follow upon the believing of our hearts.

This was a little rambly, but it just kind-a came out of my brain onto the paper this way. All these things have been bouncin' off the walls of my mind for a while and I hope you're able to pick up the bones and chew on somethin'.

Let Watson pour your last sip of tea:

"The will proceeds upon reason; the judgment being informed of the excellency of a state of glory and will being resolved upon a voyage to that holy land, now the affections follow and they are on fire in passionate longings after heaven."


Lily said...

Thank you, Sarah, for posting this. It is encouraging to know that our assurance is not in our feelings. I'm going through "not being on fire" right now and it is encouraging to know that this is by His design and that the Holy Spirit functions to kindle the flame of Spiritual affections. This is the only thing that we can rest in.

Sarah said...

Lily, I am in my own rut of "not being on fire." I was really thankful for your comment to remind me of what I wrote :) It's not about what we're feeling but what's really true! Good reminders for weary pilgrims. Off to make cards and listen to some sermons (I know just the ones :) Thanks for your encouragement Lily!