Blessed are those who mourn
Yesterday was a day that contained an above average amount of mourning. I was feeling discouraged about how slow is the process of sanctification in my own life and in the lives of others I care about. Here’s something I wrote yesterday for the Methods of Biblical Change class I’m taking
At the risk of sounding like a drug user, I must say that taking this class has had an odd effect on my consciousness. It seems as though I am actually hearing more of the thoughts of my heart now. In the past many of these thoughts were like background noise of which I was little aware. This has been a very unsettling experience because these thoughts are grossly selfish.
So I found it very encouraging to read in chapter 5 of God’s jealous grace. “We’re not battling by ourselves—God battles for us!…He loves you too much to make room for other lovers. He will oppose your proud and self-absorbed living, not because he is against you, but because he loves you.” I am so thankful that not only does the flesh war against the Spirit, but the Spirit also wars against the flesh, and He is tireless and unrelenting. As I have become more aware of the workings of my flesh, so I have also become more aware of the Spirit inclining me against these selfish thoughts and idolatrous desires. I feel more double-minded than ever, but this reminder of jealous grace keeps me from being discouraged. God will, progressively, give me the grace to live up to the demands of his jealousy. At the end of the chapter Paul Tripp refers in passing to the Holy Spirit as “the Warrior Spirit”. That phrase has found its way into my prayers as I have given thanks to God for the gift of his Spirit working within me.
Despite my profession of encouragement at the end of the paper, I still went through the rest of the day feeling more sick and tired of myself than thankful for the Spirit’s work in me. At lunch with Pastor Jason I wryly said something like, “I get so weary of this self-analytical internal monologue. Sometimes I think the meaning of life is just ‘Shut up and sing'”.
Maybe I was right about that. I went home later in the afternoon, took a 20 minute nap on the couch (that helped a lot) and then I did begin singing from the psalter at the dinner table. That changed everything. The rest of the day and evening was very blessed.
Then this morning I got up and read in Isaiah 61 that Jesus is the one who comforts all those who mourn in Zion and He does it by giving them a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Blessed are those who, after mourning their sins, go to Jesus and find comfort and are clothed with praise. Such people are the ones who will repair ruined cities and undo the devastation of many generations.