Honoring the Past – Hitting the Mark
Pastor Mark Nymeyer
Devotional books are few in my office, nevertheless, I have used them occasionally over the years. This year I picked up one that I have toted around for the past few decades; it was a gift from my father in the early 2000s and it turns out it was a gift from my grandfather to my dad the year before I was born, August 9, 1952. My grandfather wrote these words, “A book allocated to me from Grandfather Martin B. Nymeyer and Grandmother’s books, following their deaths respectively on March 10 and February 23, 1952. See and read grandmother’s advice on the facing page.”
The advice is: “Read it. It will not be wasted time.” (Dated 1925) The little book was printed by the company that existed before Eerdman Publishers and was printed in 1920. The author is P. J. Hoekenga and the title is “Things of the Spirit: Meditations on Spiritual life and Prayer”. I will use it for daily devotional reading in January.
Hoekenga’s second listing is entitled “Beware of Substitutes” and is taken from 2 Timothy 4:5, which says, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Pastor Hoekenga makes an important point that I need to be reminded of for 2021. There are three faculties of the soul, the intellect, the will and feeling. If our faculties are all properly balanced we will not belong to any particular type but manifest them all in appropriate ways this year. It came as sound advice. He makes three compelling points.
First, the intellect may be properly called the starting point of a genuine and fulfilling spiritual life but it must never be considered its completion. We are called to know things but life in the spirit is more than what we know. Second, true spiritual life is not first about a personal experience, it’s about being used by God to bless the world around me, not to be blessed by God for a personal experience. Spiritual vitality is not an experience, it is life that comes from God working through us, not just personally moving us. God’s life in us is not the experience that we live for, rather God’s life working through us for the good of those around us is the purpose of God’s life in us. Third, the action type of Christian spirituality has the lure of ‘doing things for God’ and feeling good about our actions. This is Satan’s trap and can lead to self-righteousness.
The fulfilled Spiritual life is all three, not just one to the exclusion of the others, or two to the exclusion of one. They each have their place and together bring an inner beauty and an outer glow of the Spirit’s presence. My prayer is that 2021 is filled with the evidence of God’s Spirit working out our salvation with fear and trembling. By God’s grace the Spirit will hit the mark!