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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

 
Personal Responsibility August 20

SPIRITUAL REDUCTION

"The bed is too short for a man to stretch, and the blanket too narrow to cover him." Isa. 28:20, N.E.B.

The prophet Isaiah is contemplating the coming judgments, the approaching desolation of Samaria and the crisis for Judah. There was need for moral and spiritual preparedness. But they had not made God their refuge. All the time Israel flattered herself that she had prepared an easy and secure couch to slumber on. How miserably insufficient their own righteousness would proveŚlike a bed too short and a blanket too narrow to cover herself.

Many professed Christians have been reducing their religion to ever simpler and simpler terms. They are reducing it so much that it is considered enough simply to use the name, "Jesus," or to try to follow the golden rule. The issue seems to be, not how much but how little do we need to believe. How little can a man believe and still be a Christian? The aim is to get by on a minimum; trim down the Christian faith until we have a religious pattern that fits our own way of living.

But this minimum is like setting up a billboard to hold back a tornado. It means little more than blowing on our hands to keep warm. Religion becomes much like Isaiah's bed and blanket.

When a man aims at becoming a sports champion he does not say, "How little skill can I get by with and still be a first-class player or skier?" When a man plans to become a musician, he does not say, "How little music can I know and still be called a musician?" In the area of friendship, we do not say, "How little of a friend can I be and still be called a friend?" When a man has a family, wife and children, he does not say. "How little of a father can I be and still be called a father? The question is not how little, but how much.

We get from our spiritual life what we put into it. There is every reason to develop the deepest awareness of the presence of God, to feel the stimulation of Christ's life on our own.

Are we really persuaded that our spiritual life should come first? Or do we allow the pressures of life to occupy so much of our time that there is little of it left for God? We need strength from God more than any generation before us.

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