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Monday, December 23, 2013

The Longing That Satisfies

By Ronald Bryant

     Christian character is not developed theoretically. Nor can it be developed merely by the force of human will. The Christian graces are the heartbeat of Christian character. The two are inseparably connected. Both are learned and developed in the deep recesses of the heart, in daily-life, and only in the context of vital life-union with Christ. Communion with God is the environment of spiritual life, and is thus the very nature of life in Christ.
     Discipleship is the manner and method of Christian devotion. The demands of the Christian faith are specific and unalterable, and they are essential to daily life and to the hope of eternal life.
     Christ begins with each Christian at the point of their new birth. He guides, protects, strengthens, and encourages their spiritual growth. That growth ever moves toward the possession of a greater knowledge of God and an ever increasing desire to know Him. Spirituality, in Christ's program, develops steadily within the heart and life of each genuine disciple, as they yield to and honor Him. The various stages of development come in order, with no stage being skipped. Steady growth takes place as each disciple is instructed in the "grace and knowledge" of Christ. God expects each Christian to grow spiritually – to conform to the image of Christ.
     The greatest and noblest desire is to be conformed to the image of Christ.
     The deep sincere desire to be like Christ is life-altering. Under the sway of love for Christ, the ruling desire of one’s heart is to catch and hold His mood and manner, to be attuned to Him in every thought, word, and deed. Such a desire is a blessing, not a burden. To possess this desire, or rather, to be possessed of this longing, is the greatest satisfaction.
     Devotion to Christ is life-altering. It is the rhythm of life, and the labor of a lifetime. It moves one to be ruled by a longing to cast one's heart into the mold that is Christ. Nothing is more attractive than the majesty of Christ. His brightness and glory moves us to love and adore Him; His mercy and grace catch and hold our affections and are the means whereby our souls are transformed as we yield to Him in obedience. We are truly Christian only when we are in Christ and are like Him. Only in Christ are we truly the people of God. Only in Him can our souls be satisfied.

- Ronald Bryant; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City Church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:
http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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