Bleed As Much As You Cry

We need men of compassion, not merely empathy.

Empathy is good to have, but it becomes a form of vanity when not fulfilled in the substantive work of compassion.

I may feel the weight of every trouble and pain in this world, and be awakened to the horror of sin and the state of God’s people, and presumptuously condemn my brother for seeming in my eyes to be insensitive to it; and if God is merciful, then perhaps that same brother will have compassion upon my wretched soul, and not utterly abandon me for my insufferable blindness, that perhaps I might see my own error. For in the feelings of empathy we may presume to have great discernment; but by the grounded hand of compassion this vanity is shattered, and true discernment is built through the sharpening of iron.

Longsuffering is the mystery of compassion. I may feel all the sorrow of righteous Job, and sense the injustice against me as Job did against the ill counsel of his friends; yet still, it is the compassion of the Almighty which comes to me and says, “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou ME.” For although his friends condemned him unjustly, Job then reactively argued to justify himself. It was the Lord’s steep rebuke of this sinful attitude which restored Job to offer a sacrifice on behalf of his friends. Those who vindicate themselves cannot practice compassion.

For what good is it to experience the privilege of feeling the burdens of the Lord, only to cast them heavily upon another without pity? The Lord shares His burdens not for us to sanctimoniously pontificate about them that we may be noticed by heaven for our mere sensitivity in spiritual things, as if that itself were the pinnacle of consecration; but rather for us to soberly act upon it before the Lord, in the discretion of the true compassion of a grown man who seeks no recognition even from his brothers.

Anyone who takes this to be a diminishment of the weight and importance of feeling God’s sense of things, is simply immature in this regard. For this is not a diminishment of that vital intercessory role, but rather an exhortation to properly fulfill it. Neither is this a rail against the existence of spiritual empathy’s emotional expression within us, but rather an exhortation that we hold it in a sound presence of mind: acting upon that which is from God, and beating into submission that which arises from the lusts and pride of life.

Godly compassion is the tangible fulfillment of spiritual empathy through sober action on behalf of another’s wellbeing – especially spiritual wellbeing. Therefore it will give mercy where none would have expected, and exhort where few would have desired or thought necessary. It needs make little sense to anyone except those walking in its obedience. It may appear exeedingly soft to the hardhearted and overly stoic to the emotionally incontinent. Yet it is not simply a middle-ground, but is truly an altogether higher expression of God’s love in the willingly wounded hands of Jesus. The compassion of Christ is inextricably tied to His longsuffering towards we who pierced Him.

“And Jesus, moved with compassion,
put forth His hand…”

Bleed as much as you cry, or stop crying.

Newness Of Life

The good news of God’s kingdom is that through Christ He is always doing a new work, and in Christ He is making all things new. For that which is old is passed away, and that which is passed away can sustain no man in the ongoing work of God. The Lord walks onward, calling men to “Follow Me,” and gives little time to the hesitant.

Only an abiding movement in He who abides forever, the Word of the Lord, even the Son of God, is able to keep us walking in His newness; “For behold,” He says: “I do a new thing… Behold: I make all things new.”

A race is not finished or won by simply acknowledging that the finish line is already behind us at the starting point, and so we need not run. He who does not run the race to cross the “it is finished” line for himself is disqualified. The Spirit will not empower the pilgrim who desires no progress. The doctrine of our faith reveals itself vain in a life which possesses not the faith itself to manifest the ready obedience of one who loves God and the brethren. Our participation in the Body and Blood of Christ is not merely passive but also active. The same Apostle Paul who used the illustration of a race is also he who wrote, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth…” There is a Rest into which we fail to enter apart from striving to enter into it. There is a spiritual maturity, or even true Life itself, that may be left untouched for a lifetime by being content with what is behind. In Paul’s case, those things were mostly religious credentials, and what men tend to perceive as spiritual acumen worthy of praise. No doubt these also became even his accomplishments as an apostle of Christ.

The Greek word Paul uses for “forgetting” means…

Forgetting.

Things which are forgotten are things which have no bearing upon a man’s decisions going forward; and hold not even a peripheral sway over his lightest considerations. He who forgets is free of the things forgotten. He who cannot walk as though former things are forgotten has not fully dealt with the matters of his inner heart before the Lord. Whether they be matters of outright sin or matters of pride in a good spiritual estate; the Lord would have every man walk with humble simplicity in what is newly set before their feet by the light of the Spirit.

The man who continually deals with God in all his inner motives, thoughts, and intentions remains a free vessel, at liberty for honorable use in God’s house. The man who neglects the stewarding of his own heart becomes unable to contain the ever new wine of the vintage of Life, and fades into a life of paralysis and defeat.

The still and quiet whispers of the Spirit of Christ are the invitation into a broader walk in the true calling of each one. Let every heart hear and walk after He who calls them.

The Blood Of Reconciliation

When Christian relationships have as their basis any other expectation than the efficacy of the blood of Christ to reconcile us both to God and to one another, we will indeed be torn apart through vanity and evil suspicion.

An experienced one, supposing himself to be great in understanding, may begin to expect great spiritual understanding of another; and a less experienced one, thinking himself to be wise, may yet be quite carnal in some way, expecting his brethren to fawn at his every self-serving whim: and both will be gravely disappointed – the one forgetting that only according to Christ’s blood is he himself being made truly spiritual, and the other not yet seeing the true weight of his calling. Yet in the case of both, it is truly the same deficiency, and only a differing expression of the same carnality, which strays from the faith. In short, they have each neglected, for their own souls’ vain satisfaction, their ongoing participation in the blood of Christ, which alone leaves no man disappointed, and alone disarms the vanity of both, unto a true and grounded reconciliation.

If we are to ever truly help one another in our weaknesses, we might begin by acknowledging the weakness that we all share to some degree: which is a lack of faith in the imminent power of the blood of Christ to make straight our way unto His throne of grace. For of this, there cannot be too much; and by this repentance, much joy of His salvation can be restored in our midst.

Then we might perhaps begin the very first steps of walking as His Body, and eventually be worthy to speak of moving on to maturity.

It is to be hoped.

Thought – True Sanctity

It is not merely the christian’s outward image of apparent piety that draws others into the orbit of Christ. It is rather the gravity of Christ’s likeness permeating his being, and is thus evident without any need for the artificial projections of sanctimony.

Sanctimony is the great enemy of sanctity.

Sanctity is not a thing seen, but is rather a state of transparency revealing the likeness of Christ beneath the surface of a man who testifies not of himself. Now, this transparency of character is not the publishing of one’s every thought, whether good or evil; it is much rather a forgetting of that very tree of knowledge for a meditation – a meditation in every deed – upon the Giver of Life.

For it is the singleness of mind toward Christ, and not the upkeep of a spiritual image, which truly sanctifies. Let men, and even brethren, see whatever they see; but let us see God, and be content. Let us be satisfied not merely with His good words, but even with His likeness, concerning which all words fall short.


To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another, who say, ‘We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a lament and you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist has come not eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a man who is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

And wisdom is vindicated by all her children.

Luke 7:31-35 (LEB)


Abide In Life or Abide In Death

“And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by: and I will take away Mine hand, and thou shalt see My back parts: but My face shall not be seen.”
Exodus 33:22-23

The “back parts” of God are seen by those who follow Him, and in so doing, they abide in His Life.

The face of God is seen by those who turn against Him, and in so doing, they abide in death.

If no man who sees the face of God shall live, then no man shall live unless they follow Him. For there is only following Him or turning against Him: there is only Life or death.

The measure of the glory of God that we are privileged to see is only uncovered as we follow Him, and is proportionate to our devotion.

Choice & the Sanctifying of the Will

Free will is not merely the ability to choose between good and evil: for that is merely freedom of choice, which every man possesses. But the man whose will is truly free is able to choose between multiple goods, and also become learned in discerning the most virtuous.

For choice, being an external impersonal principle, has no personal moral quality; whereas the will which performs the choosing is indeed held accountable, as it is a faculty of persons. The heart of this matter lies in the allegiance of the will, not in whether or not men are freely allowed to choose – for indeed they all are. The will is swayed much by the desire of the soul; so that the more sanctified the soul, the less it considers evil to even be a viable option, and the more goods from the providential hand of God are then opened to its discretion.

Therefore, the most perfectly free will would be that which beholds both good and evil, but chooses that which is only good. Or, to cast this as the choice in the garden according to philosophical terms: the most perfectly free wil chooses the Tree of Life over the Tree of False Dialectics; the latter being “knowledge, falsely so-called”.

Men come to Christ on their part by choice; but they remain obedient in Him on their part by the freeing of the will from sinful desire, through the renewing of their mind according to His Word, which teaches them every good thing, communicating to them the very Life of God.

The Test of Solitude

He (Elijah) said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
… “Yet I (the Lord) will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19:14, 18 (ESV)

There must come a time in every man’s life, if he would continue to walk in the approval of God, that he realizes himself not to be the primary target of the devil, nor the sole barometer of the spiritual progress of other men; and that he likely does not perceive the secret devices of God’s true workings in others. And by degrees he must conyinually be reminded of this again and again.

He must indeed learn to walk in solitude and in the rejection of others; but this is for him to learn the trusting of God above all – it is not for him to merely become full of mere evil suspicion against his brother.

The man who lives vicariously through God’s past humbling of him, and thereby does not continue to humble himself today, deludes himself; and may quickly become as much a well of poison as he is a spring of living water to others.

The one who has become puffed up in his spiritual solitude will often predict that others will soon begin to avoid him due to his piety, his spiritual knowledge, or his comparative closeness to God; failing to see that this prediction is often only fulfilled because neither the wise nor many of the simple will long endure such a monster of pride, nor waste any time in vainly reasoning with him about it.

He will begin to manufacture his own rejection: for it is at the cost of others rather than himself. He will begin to think of his life as being quite representative of the rejection of Jesus by His own disciples, without having ever yet loved his own friends as Christ did.

And as those who loved him drift away, he will continue to spin his web of self-delusion, feigning humility, taking the weak-minded and gullible along with him. Therefore he warns agains the wise who warn him, and flatters the fools who flatter him.

He will have a secret kingdom all to himself, in which he is secretly the king over his domain of influence. The most unpardonable sin in his eyes is for another to take him less seriously than he takes himself.

(If only we could all see just how spiritually awake and correct he is: then we would all truly understand…)

The only way that such a man may exit this cycle of self-deception is honesty without bounds, without excuses, without agendas, and most importantly, without any regard for the self-image that has been built upon the sands of his completely undeserved martyr complex.

The man who becomes proud rather than humble in the midst of spiritual solitude has wrongly looked not unto Christ, but rather unto others, whom he despises, in order to confirm his delusions of grandeur.

Love… does not take into account a wrong suffered,
1 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)

At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!
2 Timothy 4:16 (ESV)