I must first experience the comfort of the gospel before I can practice the duties of God.
The gospel must be the “comfort food” for my stress… the binge-eating pizza for my soul… the crutch for my emotional needs.
And this comfort “binge-eating without end” of Christ himself must precede any and all holy duties.
More than preceding the duties (as if it’s a step that is accomplished and then moved on from)… it is indeed the ongoing fuel and desire for all holy duties.
As the Puritan Walter Marshall said many years ago:
We may require a strong healthy person first to work, and then to expect meat, drink, and wages; but a fainting, famished person must first have food, or a reviving cordial, to strengthen his heart, before he can work. Both Scripture and experience show that this is the method whereby God bringeth His people from sin to holiness. Though some of them are brought under terrors for a while, that sin may be the more embittered, and the salvation of Christ rendered more precious and acceptable to them, yet such are again delivered from their terrors by the comfort of God’s salvation, that they may be fitted for holiness. And generally a holy life beginneth with comfort, and is maintained by it.
This is counter-intuitive to my self-kingdom mind.
I’m “saved by grace” but now I feel that I must “do my part” to grow. To be sanctified.
My old nature still buys that lie.
And I get so exhausted.
Oh Father, give me faith again to see that Christ alone is my sanctification. Let me receive by faith again what is already here… the fullness of Christ.
Christ in me. Christ my life. His life freely living in me.
I receive again what has already been freely given.