“When our hearts are full of God, sending up holy desires to the throne of grace, we are then in our highest state, we are upon the utmost heights of human greatness; we are not before kings and princes, but in the presence and audience of the Lord of all the world, and can be no higher till death is swallowed up in glory.”
— William Law (1686–1761)
There is a state, the highest state, that the author, above, propounds. How is this state to be realised? It is realised by sending up holy desires to the throne of grace. It is realised through prayer, but not any old prayer. It is realised through prayer that makes its very desire, holy. We too easily pass over that. Too easily do we read into these words the word “desire,” forgetting “holy.”
Giving way to obedience in the Spirit is rather unnatural, until Christ grabs us. Then service unto all humankind is considered a privilege because of it is service unto the Lord, his very self. But such a concept is so foreign, even among Christians, who, as a matter of our being, are given to obedient seasons before we then slump.
But sending up holy desires to the throne of grace is the sure-fire way to command from God the allegiances of his angels, because of our intentional faithfulness. And there is a heavenly reversal in play: by obedience we are found wrong when we may be right; we endure hardship when we might deserve glory; when we have most reason to complain, we don’t, and praise becomes us instead.
Sending up holy desires to the throne of grace is home within every imaginable nuance of repentance. We glory in the fact of our fallibility and vulnerability. To hold onto weakness is a travesty. We should rather prefer our weaknesses exposed and dealt with, without fear or derision.
This is a rare life; that experiences the full measure of Christian humiliation.
Do We Really Desire Such a Life?
We are stuck in this life between two awkward pillars of sensitivity: one is the rock of our own selfishness, which promises fulfilment but lacks any, and the other is a hard place of raucous demand to live a holy life; a state of being that looks like hell, but one that’s absolutely heavenly to see from within.
Our typical repose is to sit on the fence.
We want to be saved, and we know we are, but we cannot rid ourselves of our worldly cringe. To pray in ways to send up holy desires to the throne of grace appears attractive, but, all the same, it’s a pipedream—until we give ourselves to God.
Jesus Christ doesn’t want 97% of us. In sporting terms, he wants 110%. Of course, we fail him, again and again and again. Praise God for his grace. What he wants is not our effort, but our sincere devotion. That is to achieve the utmost heights of human greatness; to worship the Lord with joyous abandon.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.