Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Travel reading

"Biblical religion is essentially heart religion; real Christianity, as the puritan Richard Baxter constantly insisted, is "heart-work." Observance of what Puritans called "duties"--prescribed behavioral procedures, like the practice of prayer--only please God when done for his honor and glory, done, that is, out of what Jesus called "an honest and good heart" (Lk. 8:15), meaning a God-centered motivation, humble, thankful and adoring. Jesus taught that keeping the great commandment starts with the heart--"you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mk 12:30)--and he designates the supreme blessing of seeing God for the pure in heart (Mt 5:8), while castigating the Pharisees for formal religiosity without a God-attuned heart, and assuring them that "God knows your hearts... [W]hat is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God (Lk 16:15). All is wrong if the heart is not right."

(Taken from J. I. Packer latest book, Praying).

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