Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.
Give me grace that precedes,
aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee, but may rely on thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise;
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be my awe, thy triumphs my joy.
– The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers and Devotions
Yesterday I preached from John 3:22-36 and pointed out that while John’s disciples were envious that Jesus’ popularity was growing John the Baptist was filled with surpassing joy because that was exactly what he himself had worked for! True joy is found in being occupied with Christ and it frees us from being envious/jealous/resentful toward other ministries/churches/pastors.
I share that because this morning I came across a wonderful example of this truth in action. It would seem that when F.B. Meyer was in the very zenith of his ministry in London there came to London a nineteen year old boy. And overnight that boy was world famous, throngs were going to hear him, and his name was spoken on every street by every heart. Any guesses who that “boy” might be? If you guessed Charles Spurgeon you are right!
How do you think that made F.B. Meyer feel? He says in his autobiography that it filled him with envy (no surprise there, right?). What did he do with that envy? F.B. Meyer says:
“I took it to the Lord; got down on my knees and on my face before the Lord, and I said to the Lord, ‘It’s not right, this feeling of envy that I have in my heart.’”
And then F.B. Meyer did something spectacular. He began praying for Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the boy preacher. He began asking God to give him a double portion of the Spirit from heaven, give him twice as many souls. Give him a fame that circles the world ten times, not once. And F.B. Meyer says it was not long until he began to look upon every triumph of the young Spurgeon as though it were his own. When Spurgeon would preach to thousands of people, Meyer said he’d rejoice as though he himself had done it. And when Spurgeon won throngs to the Lord it was as though Meyer had done it, he said, he so prayed for the young man and rejoiced in his glorious ministry. That is the spirit of John the Baptist! Read John 3:29! It is also the spirit of Moses in Numbers 11:26-29 and the spirit of Paul in Philippians 1:14-18.
Oh for more of this spirit in God’s church! As I said in my message yesterday morning – In a world that is under God’s wrath for rejecting God’s beloved Son there is no room for pride, envy, and competition but instead we must joyfully employ what God has given us to magnify the preeminent Savior! This new year, let’s make it our preoccupation to make Christ preeminent in all things. This new year, let’s be swallowed up in the service of Him who is the greatest for in this is true joy found!
“Lord grant that this year I may be more holy, and walk more closely than ever in all holy conversation; I earnestly desire to be filled with thy holy thoughts, to be carried out in holy affections, determined by holy aims and intentions, and governed in all my words and actions by holy principles. O that a golden thread of holiness may run through the whole web of this year.”