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January 30, 2007

A Dose of Wilberforce

I'm reading from Real Christianity by William Wilberforce (original title was a mouthful: A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity). I can't encourage you enough to get this book and read it devotionally. This is just one of many gems to be found here. If this doesn't challenge you to lay everything again at the feet of your Lord, I'm not sure what will. He says:

I understand the essential and practical characteristic of true Christians to be this: Relying on promises to repentant sinners of the acceptance through the Redeemer, they have renounced and disowned all other masters and have devoted themselves sincerely and unreservedly to God. This is the very symbol that baptism daily represents to us. It is now their determined purpose to yield themselves completely to the reasonable service of their rightful Sovereign. "They are not their own" (1 Cor. 6:19).

For true Christians, bodily and mental faculties, their naturally acquired abilities, their substance, their authority, their time, and their influence are not instruments of their own gratification; these belong and are consecrated to the honor of God and are employed in His service. This the master principle to which every other must be subordinate. Whatever may be previously have been the ruling passion; whatever their leading pursuit was before; whether sensual; or intellectual; whether of science, of taste, of fancy, or feeling—it is now of minor importance in comparison. In point of fact the passion exists only at the pleasure of its true and legitimate Master, and its owner places it entirely under His direction and control.

This is the true prerogative of Christianity, "to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). They feel its power and are resolved "to live no longer to themselves, but to him that really died for them" (2 Cor. 5:15). They know indeed of their infirmities. They know that the way in which they have entered is narrow and difficult. But they know the encouraging assurance that "they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Is. 40:31). And the great ruling principle of their future lives is to "do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor 10:31). This is the seminal principle that contains within it the basic elements of all true virtue.

May the Holy Spirit convict us of the places in our lives where these words are not true and renew in us the abandon to take everything--our thoughts, our talents, our resources, our time, our affections, our hopes, our future--captive under Christ. Only then can we expect to truly live out a biblical worldview.

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Mark Larson

Great piece. I often challenge myself as to what areas in my life I am holding back in terms of my relationship with Christ. It is a struggle, as we all have experienced, but I feel this book and other work by Wilberforce may serve as a tool for regular "check-ups" with our relationship with God.

I haven't read Wilberforce as of yet but I know a bit about his place in history and I imagine his written work can only help someone more deeply involve themselves with Christ.

Kristine Steakley

I've had this book sitting on my bookshelf for years, Catherine, and have yet to crack it open. You've inspired me! I'm moving it to the reading pile.


That was beautifully put. I really want the book now!

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