April 18, 2007

Do You "Prize" Christ?

We had a staff meeting yesterday morning here at the US office of Banner of Truth during which time I shared from one of the chapters that has been really impacting me lately - from Thomas Watson's "A Godly Man's Picture." I began this Puritan Paperback on my flight to Jackson, MS last week and, quite honestly, had to set it aside after I got to Watson's tenth characteristic of a godly man. "Enough, please!" my heart seemed to cry. I needed time to process #1-10 before proceeding with the rest.
Among Watson's 24 characteristics of a godly man, #7 was the one I shared with our staff yesterday. "A godly man prizes Christ," or esteems Him as "precious," or is "captivated by the beauty of Jesus." Expounding on this, Watson writes,
-- "If we are prizers of Christ, then we prefer him in our judgments before other things. We value Christ above honour and riches; the Pearl of Price lies nearest our heart.
-- "If we are prizers of Christ, we cannot live without him; things which we value we know not how to be without.... Do those prize Christ who can sit down content without him?
-- "If we are prizers of Christ, then we shall not complain at any pains to get him.... Test by this! Many say they have Christ in high veneration, but they are not industrious in the use of means to obtain him. If Christ would drop as a ripe fig into their mouth, they could be content to have him, but they will not put themselves to too much trouble to get him. Does he who will not take medicine or exercise prize his health?
-- "If we are prizers of Christ, then we take great pleasure in Christ.... He who prizes Christ makes him his greatest joy.
-- "If we are prizers of Christ, then we will part with our dearest pleasures for him.... He who esteems Christ will pull out that lust which is his right eye.... He who sets a high value on Christ will part with his pride, unjust gain and sinful fashions. He will set his feet on the neck of his sins.
-- "If we are prizers of Christ, we shall think we cannot have him at too dear a rate.... Do not let him who refuses to bear his cross say that he prizes Christ.
-- "If we are prizers of Christ, we will be willing to help others to get a part in him. That which we esteem excellent, we are desirous our friend should have a share in it.... This shows how few prize Christ, because they do not make more effort that their relations should have a part in him.
-- "If we are prizers of Christ, then we prize him in health as well as in sickness.... He who values his Saviour aright has as precious thoughts of him in a day of prosperity as in a day of adversity.... Godless persons never look for Christ except at death, when they are in danger of hell.
Do I truly prize Christ? Ugh. I want to say yes, that each of Watson's points ring true within my heart. But should I not be honest? Then may we together accept this challenge, written 341 years ago ... "As we would prove to the world that we have the impress of godliness on us, let us be prizers of Jesus Christ." Indeed, let us! Grace & peace to you. Steve.