All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
These are the words spoken about Strider, the true King in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. They remind me of how I often treat the spiritual classics of previous generations. Superb books that point me to Christ and deepen my spiritual life are left on the shelf, while current best sellers that I hope are based on the truth are avidly read.
Over the last few months I have been helped by reading some books originally published twenty or thirty years ago. One of them, The Assurance of Our Salvation, is an exposition of John 17 by Dr Lloyd-Jones. As I read this, attempting one chapter each day, I was helped to see what my position in Christ is and all the time the Doctor applied the word as a pastor to his people. Here is a selection of some of his comments that helped me:
‘People often come and say “I feel my love for God is so small.” That is true, but the best cure is not to try to do things within yourself and work up some love from the depths of your being. The way to love God is to begin to know God’s love for you.’
‘I know of no better way of starting my day than by saying to myself, “I am one of the people in the world today through whom Christ is to be glorified. I am not here for myself, or for anything I want to do, the main thing for me this day is that Christ should be glorified in me.”’
‘I have no hesitation in saying that there is such a marked absence of true Christian joy in the church today because there is so little meditation. We all constantly exhort one another to have our “quiet time” but if you stop at that, you will probably not have this joy – having read and prayed then meditate….The sum of joy is simple meditation, contemplation… making time to dwell on [spiritual truths]… live with them and seek the face of God, the greater will be your joy.’
Reading this book has had a significant beneficial effect on my spiritual life. I’d recommend it to everyone. It was originally published in four separate volumes by Kingsway as Saved in Eternity, Safe in the World, Sanctified through the Truth and Growing in the Spirit which may still be available as second hand copies.