Sunday, September 07, 2008

Glimpses of Self

"It is a good day to me when Thou givest me a glimpse of myself." This is one of my favorite quotes from the book The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotionals, by Arthur Bennett. God has given me many glimpses of myself in the past several weeks, and I'm learning a lot about myself. These lessons are very good, and very painful at the same time.

I'm just learning that my insides aren't as clean as I thought.
That my love isn't as pure as I thought.
That my mind is more deceitful than I thought.
That my motivations are more selfish than I thought.
And that God is incredibly more gracious and faithful than I thought or expected.

These are good lessons. Any time I see the depth of my own depravity and sinfulness I'm grateful. It hurts, because, once again, it shows how far away from God I really am, and how much farther away I have the capacity to go. But it is always good, because God's grace is what shows me my sin and draws me back to Him.

This week I began reading through Song of Solomon in the Amplified Bible. I love to read this version every once in a while because it reminds me that Scriptre has depth as well as breadth, and it challenges me to dig and press on and pursue a greater knowledge of Christ and His Word.

As I've read through Song of Solomon this time, I actually paid attention to the footnotes, which are, in fact, questions as opposed to notes. They challenge me to examine my heart and my relationship with Christ. I've included the questions below, along with the corresponding excerpts from Songs.

Tell me, O You whom my soul loves, where You pasture Your flocks... Songs 1:7
Does my spirit crave the Divine Shepherd, even in the presence of the best that the wold can offer me?

I can feel His left hand under my head and His right hand embraces me! Songs 2:6
Do I have a constant sense of my Shepherd's presence, regardless of my surroundings?

Arise, My love, My fair one, and come away. Songs 2:13
Do I take time to meet my Good Shepherd each day, letting Him tell me of His love, and cheering His heart with my interest in Him?

Let Me see your face, let Me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely. Songs 2:14
Do I realize that my voice lifted in praise and song is sweet to Him, or do I withhold it?

Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom. Songs 2:15
What is my greatest concern, the thing about which most of all I want Christ's help? When He asks to hear my voice, what do I tell him?

Come away with me from Lebanon, my [promised] bride, come with me from Lebanon. Depart from... the lion's dens, from the mountains of the leopards. Songs 3:8
Do I heed Christ when He bids me to come way from the lions' den of temptation and dwell with Him?

Oh, I pray that the [cold] north wind and the [soft] south wind may blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out [in abundance for You in whom my soul delights]. Songs 4:16
Am I willing to have the north wind of adversity blow upon me, if it will better fit me for Christ's presence and companionship?

[But weary from a day in the vineyards, I had already south my rest] I had put off my garments-- how could I [again] put them on? Songs 5:3
In my weariness from earthly cares, do I hesitate to answer when the Divine Shepherd knocks at my door, and so turn Him from me?

His voice and speech are exceedingly sweet; yes, He is altogether lovely [the whole of him delights and is precious]. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, o daughters of Jerusalem. Songs 5:16
Is my Savior unquestioningly the One altogether lovely, the One above all others most precious to me? Can I tell how and why Christ is more to me than any human being or than all earthly possessions?


AmberDenae said...

Beautifully stated! Thank you, I needed to read that.

So often, I get caught up in the little things that seem to be of utmost importance that I neglect to heed, listen, and simply spend time with Him.

Thanks for reminding me. You have incredible insight!

Hope you're doing well! ;)

Footprints in the sand said...

Thank you for writing...
this echoes of corner time.
May God never let us be content to stay the same as we are, but to be changed daily into His image...