January 19th, 2005


Quicken me Thou

I want someone to talk with, sit with, be with tonight. I've run out of distractions; no new ones until work in the morning, where I'll be happily occupied. The nights can be long.
"Quicken Thou me in Thy way" [Psalm 119:37]. The Psalmist confesses that he is dull, heavy, lumpy, all but dead. Perhaps, dear reader, you feel the same. We are so sluggish that the best motives cannot quicken us, apart from the Lord Himself. What! will not hell quicken me? Shall I think of sinners perishing, and yet not be awakened? Will not heaven quicken me? Can I think of the reward that awaiteth the righteous, and yet be cold? Will not death quicken me? Can I think of dying, and standing before my God, and yet be slothful in my Master's service? Will not Christ's love constrain me? Can I think of His dear wounds, can I sit at the foot of His cross, and not be stirred with fervency and zeal? It seems so! No mere consideration can quicken us to zeal, but God Himself must do it, hence the cry, "Quicken Thou me." The Psalmist breathes out his whole soul in vehement pleadings: his body and his soul unite in prayer. "Turn away mine eyes," says the body: "Quicken Thou me," cries the soul. This is a fit prayer for every day. O Lord, hear it in my case this night.

—Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (20 January, Evening: "Quicken Me")
Somehow I managed to jump ahead a day in this devotional. It was the day I needed to read, however.

It's easy to fake some kind of healthy spiritual life while doing what I do. In so many ways, I'm "soaking in it": regular prayer, Scripture, service, fellowship, worship, talk of God and theology, the business of the church. But Jesus and me? I'm phoning it in. I don't spend time with Him in the quiet places, don't even want to much of the time. I'm only in Scripture inasmuch as it's part of the job or my leadership role, or a smattering that comes from reading a devotional and kickstarting a journal entry. I can write and talk, but where am I really, honestly? Who am I really, honestly?
You know, I know that this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, do you know what I've realized? Ignorance is bliss...Mmm so, so goddamn good.

—Cypher, The Matrix
I'm Cypher. I love the Matrix; I love that steak. I'll sell out everything and everyone for it. In a thousand ways, I've already done it.

What I don't have is ignorance. Try as hard as I want (and I do), I can't convince myself the steak is real. I've taken the red pill and I can't go back. So I'm stuck.

I'm stuck and it will crush me. It will push and squeeze and slam and press until my bones are dust. And I can distract myself with steak after steak after steak, but at the end of the day, I'll still know what the Truth is. And I'll know every way I've sold it out.
...and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

—Jesus (John 8:32)
Yet, the Truth is also my only hope. My only hope. Because it's not a proposition but a Person, not a belief but a Savior. While the steak is a tempting thing, it's not the damning one. No, the damnation comes when I believe my betrayal outweighs His love, that my failure is greater than His sacrifice. That's when the deal is sealed—when I believe the steak really is the best I can get.

Who says who I am? I don't, not even on the best or worst of days. How I'm living doesn't tell me who I am; it just shows me who I believe I am. He is the only one who can say who I am. And He has.

Quicken Thou me, O Lord.
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