Thursday, June 09, 2011

Songs for the Journey

Right now we are going through Psalms 120-134, the Psalms labeled, "Songs of Ascents". These are Psalms used by Old Testament believers as they journeyed towards Jerusalem, the special place where God and his people dwelt together. 

We, too, are on a journey, making our way to our final home when we will dwell with God and his people forever. These wonderful Psalms instruct and inspire us along the journey.

Click on this graphic to enjoy a "Wordle" word cloud of Psalms 120-134:
Wordle: Pilgrim Songs

Make Every Effort

Great post from Kevin DeYoung on the place of effort in the Christian life. It is so important to enjoy and rely on grace but not think that this means we are to be simply passive. Here are some excerpts:

Make Every Effort

Count the letters carefully: effort is not a four letter word. Even those who believe in blood-bought, Christ-wrought, undeserved, sovereign, gospel grace do not despise effort in the Christian life. How can we? 2 Peter 1:5 tells us to “make every effort.”
Of course, anyone familiar with this passage will remember that the effort enjoined by Peter is God-graced effort. Verse 3 says we have divine power through “knowledge of him.” Verse 4 says we can become “partakers of the divine nature” through “his precious and very great promises.” Verse 5 harnesses these twin turbines of Spirit energy when it says “For this very reason, make every effort.” In other words, Peter holds up a pattern of godliness–increasing faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. This pattern relies on gospel power. And the gospel-powered pattern requires effort....
Christians work–they work to kill sin and they work to live in the Spirit. They have rest in the gospel, but never rest in their battle against the flesh and the devil. As J.C. Ryle put it, the child of God has two great marks about him: he is known for his inner warfare and his inner peace....
But let us not misunderstand what it means to be gospel-centered. As gospel Christians, we are not afraid of striving, fighting, and working. These are good Bible words. The gospel that frees us from self-justification also frees us for obedience. In fact, 1 Corinthians 6 and Galatians 5 and 1 John and Revelation 21 and a dozen other passages make clear that when we have no obedience to show for our gospel profession, our conduct shows we have not understood the gospel....
When it comes to growth in godliness, trusting does not put an end to trying.
Read the whole thing here: Make Every Effort