Thursday, October 23, 2008

"No man will keep Christ before his mind without having to make a sensible effort to turn away from the whole rabble of distracting thoughts that lie round him. In Hebrews the writer lays it down as a condition of all persevering continuance in the race set before us that we should be "looking to Jesus"; and he employs there a word which might be rendered, perhaps, "looking away" to Him. That conveys the same idea of rigid shutting out of other things in order that one supreme light may fill the eye and gladden the soul. If you do not carefully drop black curtains round the little chamber, and exclude all side lights, as well as all other objects from the field of vision, there will be no clear impression of the beloved face made upon the sensitive plate. It must be in the darkness that the image is transferred to the heart." Alexander Maclaren. D.D.
I like this illustration of a dark room being the place we transfer the image to the heart. It is pregnant with applications, and I was going to write what he said after this but decided to stop here, it leaves it open to interpretation.
Photo from internet


Anonymous said...

This post reminded me that as we must block out other light sources that obscure the impression of our beloved, we must also block out all the noise/sound that keeps us from hearing the leading of God. This McClaren quote expresses that so beautifully:

"As the flowers follow the sun, and silently hold up their petals to be tinted and enlarged by its shining, so must we, if we would know the joy of God, hold our souls, wills, hearts, and minds, still before Him, whose voice commands, whose love warns, whose truth makes fair our whole being. God speaks for the most part in such silence only. If the soul be full of tumult and jangling voices, His voice is little likely to be heard."

In this day of technology, I fear that spending time in silence (pondering. meditating, and listening for God's leading) has become a very rare thing.

Great Post!

Mel said...

Goodness gracious... I can't even begin to tell you how much fun I'm having! :) Last night I was laying in bed wide awake at 1 a.m. -- in the pitch black utter silence, I might add -- thinking about this post!

When I first read it I felt a little sorrowful because I am sadly lacking in the "dropping black curtains round the little chamber" area. So I began to ask God about it as I was laying in the pitch blackness.

Am I where You want me to be? Am I making faithful use of the minutes and resources You've trusted me with?

And He affirmed to me, again, that, yes, I am where He wants me to be--for now.

I love blogging. I love it because I love Him. He loves it that I love it. He created me to love it. He speaks to me through it, and I speak to Him through it. And it's all okay! :)


In addition to the idea of getting alone with God in a place that is free from outside distractions, the illustration of the dark room also calls to mind something else...

So many times I'll be trying to memorize something, whether it be a verse, a song, a quote, a mission statement, or something else. I'll go over it and over it dozens or hundreds of times and still be struggling with it until I'm utterly exhausted and feeling like a failure.

But something miraculous seems to happen in the "dark rooms" of my heart and mind while I'm sleeping, and the next morning I'll be able to recall with ease all of what I had been struggling to recall the day before. It really is as though the image is being transferred during those sweet hours of rest.

God bless you, Fred.

In Christ,

p.s. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Women's Health magazines. What a blessing! The first two magazines I picked up, I opened them immediately to two different articles that were exactly what I was looking for... One on diet, and one on exercise. God is SO GOOD! :)