18 May 2010
"Ah, dearly beloved son, why didst thou go on thy journey without taking counsel with me? For the country which thou art seeking from God, ye will never find on these dead soft skins, for it is a holy consecrated land..."
- Anonymous, Vita Brendani (Irish, 12th century, from an earlier ms.)
The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
- 1 Peter 4.3
Brendan's first voyage, in which he endeavored to reach the Promised Land of the Saints - a figure for the beatific vision of Christ and the unseen realm - ended in a failure. He returned to Ireland and went immediately to Ita, his former teacher and schoolmistress, seeking consolation.
She rebuked him for seeking that holy and consecrated land while sailing around on the dead skins of animals (Brendan's boat was made of layers of animal skins over a wooden frame). You can't get to the place of radiant life on the dead soft skins of animals. It may be easier to build a boat of dead soft skins, but a boat of sturdy timber is what Ita recommended, and on which Brendan ultimately realized his goal.
Again, this vignette has a historical note to it, but its main point is spiritual: you will not grow in your vision of Christ, and you will not engage His glory and fullness, as long as you are carrying around the dead weight of the sins in which you persist. If we know the Lord Jesus, the time for living in sin is past; we must lay aside the dead soft skin of sin and take up the sturdy timber of the cross of Jesus, dying to self and clinging to Him and His sacrifice for our entrance into the very presence of God.
Confession and repentance are daily disciplines every believer must learn to practice with sincerity. Take time to listen to the Spirit, as He searches your soul and life, so that He may bring to mind any sins of any degree or number. Then confess them openly to the Lord, and seek from Him the way back, via His Word, to the life of bearing your cross for Jesus (Ps. 119.59-61).
Leave the baggage of your old life at the foot of the cross. Look to Jesus and follow in His way. He will draw you near and make Himself more real to you day by day. The Promised Land of the Saints awaits those who journey there on the timber of the cross, rather than the strength of their sinful flesh.
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This Week's Download: A Personal Rule - Having a personal rule is crucial to an ongoing life of discipline for the Lord. Have you downloaded this free brochure yet?
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