You don’t live near a pier...or a popular park...or even a Starbucks. And by the time you’re able to go witnessing the colleges are closed and no kids are walking home from high school. Where is a people-lovin’ saint to go when wanting to reach out? The answer is—the local mall. Enjoy this practical wisdom from Allen Atzbi.
May 30, 2018
“Free at last!” The phrase leaps forth from the depths of my blazing heart. It is the offspring of a longing conceived in my inner man. My shackles have been shattered and forever removed! I have ventured into the freedom of the sons of God, experiencing His unspeakable pleasure, which cannot be matched by the temporal nor equated with the fleeting pleasures of fading Earth. My soul is filled with an intense fiery passion that runs violently unbridled, a burning passion that cannot be quenched though drenched with the outpour of a thousand rains. I have launched above the clouds of despair, soared beyond the regions of hopelessness, escaped the forces of fear and anxiety, fled the fortress of apathy, and plunged into the utter depth of the boundless sea of His endless bliss. There is no turning back.
“Day after day I am cunningly propositioned to forsake this highway of holiness and betray this life of liberty. I shall not be deterred.”
My merciless adversaries thrive on treachery. Their crafty solicitations are numerous, and day after day I am cunningly propositioned to forsake this highway of holiness and betray this life of liberty. I shall not be deterred. My hand is to the plow, and I will never look back. The Captain of my salvation issues His command. I stand, salute, and surrender. My loyalty is not void of consequence, however. Instantaneously and without warning, I am bombarded by myriad emotions, thoughts, and circumstances contrary to the convictions of my conscience. Shall I yield? Shall I comply with these contradictory elements? Perish the thought! The vulnerability of man’s mind is such that, more often than not, when he lingers in the valley of indecision, he is swept away by the whirlwind of deception. I resolve to stand up and stand firm. I shall not merely proclaim that Christ is Lord and that He is risen from the dead, but I shall live in such a way that men will see the far-reaching affects of the Lordship of my Master and observe the manifestation of His resurrection power through the actions that this feeble body will execute. A life of vibrant faith, a colorful display of three-dimensional holiness, an impeccable purity; these shall be my contributions to society, my consecrated offerings unto God.
“The vulnerability of man’s mind is such that, more often than not, when he lingers in the valley of indecision, he is swept away by the whirlwind of deception.”
Men of renown in days gone by have branded the canvas of human history with their blazing hallmarks. Neither time nor the feeble efforts of mortal man could ever banish their surviving monuments. Long live the men who revolutionized our world through their diligent creativity. We are all partakers of Gutenberg’s printing press. A vast majority of the countless trillions of pieces of literature in our world today are all the byproducts of this man’s undying passion. Books, tracts, brochures, articles, newspapers, magazines, and whatever else may be found in print, all owe their existence to this persistent pioneer, this relentless man of destiny.
Who could have fathomed the day when the flick of a switch would transform darkness into light, when a dim and darkened room could safely radiate with the effervescent glow of daylight the whole night through? One man did, and his dream resulted in illumination to the whole of our planet. Mr. Edison, the dreamer, has brightened our lives.
We rejoice at the fact that the gap of distance has been bridged. Our loved ones, who yesterday seemed so far away, are suddenly closer than we could have ever dreamed. Mr. Ford has made it possible for us to reach them within hours, by land, complements of his automobile assembly line. The Wright brothers, in some cases, have allowed us to reach them within minutes through their ingenious breakthrough of the airplane. And, thanks to Alexander Graham Bell, we can reach them within seconds and hear their voices almost instantaneously as they travel across wires from thousands of miles away.
These men are few. If their weight were combined, I hardly doubt they would equal a thousand pounds; if their height were tallied, they would scarcely total 30 feet in length. Yet these are the men who individually possessed the prestige to transform a mere room into a treasure box by virtue of their presence. These priceless gems could have easily reserved the shimmering luster of their talent for the hedonistic pursuit of their personal pleasures. Instead, they dared to diligently give their all to pursue their dreams, and now the world is filled with their ingenious inventions. Take all their light bulbs and air planes and printing presses and automobiles and telephones and set them end to end and watch how they wrap around the globe a hundred times over. Place them on a scale and see how the tonnage far surpasses the measly combined weight of these mortal men. They have multiplied themselves a billion times over and billions are daily affected as a result of their fruitful labors.
Have the men of old who dared to shake the world left their tremors behind? Where are their aftershocks? They stood amid riotous crowds and proclaimed the resurrected Son of God while jagged stones gashed their noble heads and the vulgar words of hateful men pierced them from every direction. They climbed mountains and swam the seas; they hid in caves and tunnels and shed rivers of blood to win the souls of men. We remember those who rode thousands of miles on horseback to cast the life-changing light of God’s love upon murderous mobs of hateful men; those who walked the earth barefoot a thousand times over to reach the unreached for their Savior; those who wrote by candlelight and burned the midnight oil, furnishing their fellow man with written works that still fan the flames of the passionate heart.
What did they possess that we don’t? We have much more than they could have ever dreamed. They walked and crawled and climbed. We can drive and fly and launch to our desired destinations. Their communication of the gospel to men went as far as their unaided voices could reach. We have telephones and radios and televisions. They could reproduce the Word of God at the speed of pen; we have the printing press, with the capability of daily duplicating the Word of God and the words of mighty men a million times over. Their knowledge was confined by their limited accessibility. At the click of a button, we have access to all the knowledge in the world.
“I am jealous for the glory of my God and I will not rest each day content until I am confident that I have done all that I could possibly have done for my Lord to be magnified.”
What then shall I do for the glory of Christ? Where is the burning heart that will not be shackled to this apathetic age, the passionate heart that is willing to break free from the mediocrity and apathy and lethargy? Where is the man who will look back in time and see the great accomplishments of those who have gone before him and say, “I am not willing to go as far as they have gone; I must go further for the glory of God”? With all that is within me, I long to be that man. I will write and preach and give and love, until the Christ who hung upon the timber grave is lifted up on high for all the world to see. I will use all that is at my command to be sure that men hear and men know. I am jealous for the glory of my God and I will not rest each day content until I am confident that I have done all that I could possibly have done for my Lord to be magnified. I yearn to exalt Him with every breath, to glorify Him in every thought; I must see every knee bow before the Majestic Glory who humbled Himself in the form of a man and gave His blood to redeem fallen man.
I have been a good dreamer for much too long. Yet, I know now that unfulfilled dreams are mere illusions. It is tragic and vain for one to dream and never live. I am through with fantasizing. I’m done with self-pity and repentance from dead works. It is time to arise and live each moment as if though it were my last; to live in such a way so as to die without shame. I want my every conversation to echo the praises of seraphim in tone and content, speech worthy to be published throughout the planet for every eye to see. Diligence must course through my veins, a persistence that will not die. Self-control must be given its prime place. The knowledge of righteousness within my heart must be actualized. Repentance must be instant. Holiness of life to the glory of my great King is a reality that I yearn to see manifested in me. I thirst for the sobriety and wisdom that remind me to calculate my every action before I execute it, so as to cause my present conduct to affect my future existence. My every momentary action must become an investment for futuristic fruit and edification.
“It is time to arise and live each moment as if though it were my last to live in such a way so as to die without shame.”
There is much to be admired in a man who knows how to give his life away in actuality, not in theory, so as to merely speak with eloquence about the crucified life. I shall be the man who places the importance of every other individual far above my own. I shall not aim to appear interested in others when I relate to them; rather, my sincerity shall be inward and true. To love the souls of men with a fervent and genuine love is my endeavor, to promote others so as to further them in their experience and knowledge of the Holy.
If there is anything that I can give my brother, it shall be given to him, for his significance is far greater than my own. No material possession shall be more important to me than he is. I shall not merely wait for him to make request for my assistance, I shall pursue him with continual inquiries as to his desires and I shall also observe and take note so however and whenever possible, even his unspoken needs shall be supplied through me. I shall love him enough to fill his ears with tender words: uplifting him, encouraging him, comforting him.
It shall be my passion to love the unsaved with the love of the truth. To serve them by communicating the reality of their condition before the just and righteous Judge, to speak without reserve about the turbulent torments of Hell and the wrath and indignation kindled against the enemies of God. They shall hear of the hope of redemption, the glorious cross and victorious resurrection, and the inexhaustible grace and forgiveness extended toward penitent man.
I shall dwell with my wife with understanding and render the unconditional love of the living Savior toward my beloved. Neither the ideals of man nor the cultural outlook of society shall be my standard for how I serve the wife of my youth. If my Lord has called me to love her and the greatest love of which He spoke is that of laying down my life for her, then what shall I not do for her? What shall I not render to her? Tenderness, sensitivity, affection, words of praise and encouragement, reassurance and romance—these shall be her due. I shall pour my all into her, expecting nothing in exchange, nothing in return. She shall be as a queen shrouded in her husband’s security, led with diligence upon the highway of safety, carried along in the carriage of my love.
All the day long the fruit of my own body shall not merely hear words of affirmation and love, but they shall witness their father’s benevolence in play and prayer and discipline. I shall model for them the fatherhood of my heavenly Father and display the tender kindness of His patient heart. With a character free of hypocrisy and insincerity, I shall afford them a model of uprightness, which they may safely pursue. Never shall I provoke their tender spirits to wrath; rather, they shall be diligently brought up in the training and admonition of my Lord.
My heart shall always detest the way of the hireling. Those whom I serve are my brethren; I shall be the last among them, better yet, the least. I shall stand by as their servant eager and willing to stoop low and wash their soiled feet. I shall not render to them the things they may want, yet with purity of motive, I shall give them those things that they need, in accordance with the will of the Father. In counsel, I shall never tickle their ears; when I preach the Word to them, it shall never be mingled with dross. Babes shall be nourished with the pure milk of His Word and the souls of those more mature shall feast on heavenly meat and manna. I shall shepherd the flock of God, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to me, but serving as an example. I shall faithfully tend His tender sheep.
I have been called to freedom. It is not my business to meddle with mediocrity, play with passivity, or live in laziness. I have not been redeemed in vain! I shall be consumed by the greatness of my God, constantly pondering the implications of the reality of His existence and crucifixion and resurrection and redemption and presence and power and love and sympathy and imminent return. These shall ever be before my eyes. I shall be possessed by Him, controlled by Him, consumed with His Spirit, compelled by His holiness, sustained by His grace.
“I shall be possessed by Him, controlled by Him, consumed with His Spirit, compelled by His holiness, sustained by His grace.”
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). These are the words of my Master; this is the utterance that provokes me in my inner man. This is the challenge that stirs me to run a million miles for His glory, climb the highest mountain for His cause, swim the deepest sea that I might be with Him, walk like Him, talk like Him, live like Him, give my all for Him until I am spent, with every ounce of my energy exerted. That I may, with my final breath upon this earth, lift up the cross of Christ and cry, “Look unto Him!”
In the end, I shall have prayed until my knees are worn away, given until I’m left with nothing, preached until my tongue has ceased to utter speech, and loved until the blood of my heart is completely drained.
If my Lord shall grant me the breath to live, I resolve that this shall be my lot in life, until eternity, so help me God.