From the Cutting Room Floor

Sermon preparation involves some tough decisions. Not everything that could be said needs to be said, and so there are many valuable insights and discoveries that have to be set aside. Their value is great, but their place in the sermon might be a little forced, or their inclusion may come across indulgent. These get cut.

Easter’s message was no different. I was speaking on the blight of spiritual blindness and my research led me to one of my favorite sources, Charles Spurgeon. Preaching on the same text that I used, he said,  “Now, I am sure it is the duty of every Christian, as well as his privilege, to walk in the conscious enjoyment of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I chose not to quote him here, because I am in danger of overfishing that pond. But how nicely put, and how elusive!

Spurgeon again, “at this hour Jesus is very near to us, sympathizing with all our griefs. He bears and endures with us still, though now exalted in glory’s throne in heaven. If he be here, we ought to know him. If he be close to his people every day and in all their affliction is afflicted, we ought to perceive him. Oh! what strange blindness is this, that Christ should be near, our own well-beloved Redeemer, and yet we should not be able to detect his presence!”[1] A strange blindness indeed! And costly too. How much have we missed because we are so tone deaf to his presence, so blind to his company?

Traditionally, Lent is a season in which believers deny themselves pleasures in an effort to sympathize with Jesus’ sufferings. This year, I participated by putting some restraints on my iPad usage. I was finding myself turning to it when I had an idle moment. It is a phenomenal device that offers so many intriguing pursuits, but I feared that the ‘ambient noise’ was deafening me. I wanted more space to think, more margin to experience Christ. It worked! It has been so beneficial that I am persisting in my discipline even now that the season is over.

What does your experience look like? Do you find Jesus’ presence drowned out by the ‘ambient noise’ of life? How would your walk look different if you made space for Christ?

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1998). Vol. 12: Spurgeon’s Sermons: Volume 12 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Spurgeon’s Sermons. Albany, OR: Ages Software.

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