/ Nathan Eshelman

Enjoying the Means

And enjoy him.

We all know the phrase. Our chief end is to glorify and enjoy God. This is the Presbyterian way.

Do we enjoy him? Do you enjoy him?

Do we enjoy the means given to us that allows us to know him, glorify, and enjoy him? These are important questions. This past week I was convicted by JC Ryle (as I often am) as he challenged his hearers on whether they are enjoying the means that God has given to them. I thought I would share a portion of that with you under this question:

Do you enjoy the means of grace? Ryle says,

When I speak of the means of grace, I have in my mind's eye five principal things,—the reading of the Bible, private prayer, public worship, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and the rest of the Lord's day. They are means which God has graciously appointed, in order to convey grace to man's heart by the Holy Ghost, or to keep up the spiritual life after it has begun. As long as the world stands, the state of a man's soul will always depend greatly on the manner and spirit in which he uses means of grace. The manner and spirit, I say deliberately and of purpose. Many... people use the means of grace regularly and formally, but know nothing of enjoying them: they attend to them as a matter of duty, but without a jot of feeling, interest, or affection. Yet even common sense might tell us that this formal, mechanical use of holy things, is utterly worthless and unprofitable. Our feeling about them is just one of the many tests of the state of our souls. How can that man be thought to love God who reads about Him and His Christ, as a mere matter of duty, content and satisfied if he has just moved his mark onward over so many chapters?—How can that man suppose he is ready to meet Christ, who never takes any trouble to pour out his heart to Him in private as a Friend, and is satisfied with saying over a string of words every morning and evening, under the name of "prayer," scarcely thinking what he is about?—How could that man be happy in heaven for ever, who finds the Sunday a dull, gloomy, tiresome day,—who knows nothing of hearty prayer and praise, and cares nothing whether he hears truth or error from the pulpit, or scarcely listens to the sermon?—What can be the spiritual condition of that man whose heart never "burns within him," when he receives that bread and wine which specially remind us of Christ's death on the cross, and the atonement for sin? These inquiries are very serious and important. If means of grace had no other use, and were not mighty helps toward heaven, they would be useful in supplying a test of our real state in the sight of God. Tell me what a man does in the matter of Bible-reading and praying, in the matter of Sunday, public worship, and the Lord's Supper, and I will soon tell you what he is, and on which road he is travelling. How is it with ourselves? Once more let us ask,—In the matter of means of grace, "How do we do?" --JC Ryle, Practical Religion, 14.

Ouch, right?

Ryle, in his convicting, yet grandfatherly way speaks directly into the soul. Are you enjoying the means of grace? "How do you do" in that area of your walk with Christ? I pray that you are growing--and flourishing--under the means of grace...but I also hope you are enjoying.

Nathan Eshelman

Nathan Eshelman

Pastor in Orlando, studied at Puritan Reformed Theological & Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminaries. One of the chambermen on the podcast The Jerusalem Chamber. Married to Lydia with 5 children.

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