This week's "thought" comes to you from Jeremy Walker, a pastor in Sussex, England. It was published in a Banner of Truth Trust publication (I lost the precise publication info when I tore it out of the magazine to file it). The title speaks for itself: "The Precious Christ."
I believe the points he makes are a true and helpful gauge for our spiritual health. In fact, the older I get the more I find Christ becoming increasingly more precious to me. Other things have lost their appeal, but not Jesus. His appeal to the believer's soul only gets stronger over time. Jeremy captures this theme in his article. I trust you will be able to affirm all of it. Enjoy.
"Christ is not precious to the disobedient. They have no sense of their need, no perception of his excellence, no appreciation of his value, no ensuing act of whole-souled dependence on him. They are adverse to the King and his kingdom. They want no part of the Saviour or his salvation. But to believers, Christ is precious indeed (I Peter 2:7). They have been granted a measure of true understanding by the Holy Spirit. Under his heavenly influence, they have become persuaded of the truth and testimony of God. So persuaded that they approve of and embrace Jesus Christ as the all-sufficient Saviour.
Christ is, then, precious to those who believe. He is precious in Himself, the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely one, the one in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily... Christ is precious because we nowhere find anyone or anything to compare to his person or work. Christ is precious because he has accounted us precious to himself, laying down his life to make us his own. He is precious to believers because he provides for all or deepest needs and truest wants, and supplies what no-one and nothing else can supply, and grants what cannot be found anywhere on earth. He is precious because he has become our salvation and secures for our souls a happy eternity in his glorious presence.
Is he precious to you?
If he is precious to you, then finding him will be a matter of the first importance. You will allow nothing to prevent you from obtaining him... you will make it your great concern to lay hold of him for salvation.
If Christ is precious to you, then trusting him will prove the defining relationship of your life... You will first and foremost consider yourself a man or woman in union with the precious Lord Jesus, and -- for better or worse -- that will govern everything else...
If Christ is precious to you, then hearing him will be your happiest moments. You will delight to hear his voice speaking in the Word of God. The declaration of the Gospel will be your chief delight...
If Christ is precious to you, then following him will be your committed course. For what is obedience but a faithful and committed following of Jesus Christ? The great question for the one to whom Christ is precious becomes not, "Is this easy?" but "Is this the way the Master went [and wants me to go]?"
If Christ is precious to us, then knowing him will be our sweetest joy. We will esteem nothing to be of greater value than a deeper, truer, fuller, more consuming knowledge of him. For this we count all other things to be loss, assessing them to be rubbish when compared with the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.
If Christ is precious to us, then prizing him as our highest treasure will surely follow. We will permit nothing else to rival him. No other person or pleasure will share his throne. We will part with all else before we part with Christ -- families, friends, comforts, riches, prospects, reputation, yes, even life itself...
If Christ is precious to us, then worshipping him will be our finest work. We will devote our best hours, our richest energies, our most focused thoughts, our most ardent feelings to this cause. We will be always in our place on the Lord's Day, meeting Christ among the saints, and knowing God in him under the power of the Holy Spirit. We will make a priority of daily moments communing with God in Christ. We will strive to ensure that our families are being introduced to him, reminded of him, pointed to him, and enamored with him.
If Christ is precious to us, then serving him will be our greatest privilege. Love silences all complaints. Delight lightens every load. If we value Christ and his smile, then our chief question will be, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" We will count it our noblest work to be about his business... exalting his name, advancing his cause, promoting his glory, strengthening his body, and extending his kingdom.
If Christ is precious to us, then remembering him will be our richest feast. Those will be love-feasts indeed at which the Beloved stands among his saints, makes himself known, and feeds us by faith upon himself.
So, if to those who believe, Christ is precious, is he so to you?
Are you proving that, demonstrating that, manifesting that -- day by day and hour by hour -- before men and angels, before God and his enemies, before the church and the world?""
Every year I head to the doctor's office for my annual physical exam. My insurance company actually requires it. Even if they didn't, it would a good and wise course of action. And although it is not required by most churches, it would also be helpful to have an annual spiritual exam to check the state of our spiritual health. And if that were the case, this would be an excellent exam to help us discern our spiritual condition. In fact, why don't you go over it again and consider the nine health points and see where you stand in relation to each one.
If you find any that are not true of you, at this present time, I would encourage you to repent, and plead the grace of God to help you take the necessary steps to remedy the deficiency. And if none of them are true of you -- to the degree he speaks of -- you may need to start at the beginning and make it your greatest concern simply to find him, and lay hold of Him for salvation -- for apart from that initial saving grace, there can be no spiritual health to begin with.
In the Bonds of Christian affection, Pastor Jeff