I finished reading J.I. Packer's book "A Quest for Godliness - The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life." I highly recommend this book to any one interested in developing a deeper spiritual life.
God calls His saints, us Christians, to serve Him in the arenas of family life, church life, and the world (work, the arts, volunteer work, etc.) He wants us to "walk through the wilderness of this world" (John Bunyan's phrase).
The Puritans showed four qualities in their Christian life.
The first is humility - "the cultivated lowliness of a sinful creature who is always in the presence of a great and holy God, and can only life before Him through being constantly pardoned."
The second quality is receptivity - an openness to being "taught, corrected, and directed by one's discoveries in Scripture; plus willingness to be disciplined by the darkness of disappointment and inward desertion, as well as encouraged by happy providences; plus readiness to believe that the good hand of a faithful and gracious God, who is ripening His children for future glory, shapes it all, the rough no less than the smooth."
The third quality is doxology - the passion to turn each moment of life into worship - to offer up thanksgiving in all things - to glorify God by all your words and deeds.
The fourth quality is energy - "the spiritual energy of the true Protestant worth ethic whereby laziness and passivity are damned as irreligious, just because so much remians to be done before God's name is hallowed in His world as it should be."
These four qualities constitute a mind- and heart-set which nothing can daunt or destroy.
Puritan spirituality was based on four realities -
1) the sovereignty and sanctity of God
2)the dignity and depravity of human beings, made for God but ruined by sin and now needing total renewal by grace
3) the love and Lordship of Christ, the Mediator, the Christian's Saviour-King
4 the light and power of the Holy Spirit, who convicts, quickens, regenerates, witnesses, leads, and sanctifies.
There is much more I could say about those four realities but will save that for another blog posting!
I have found, in the reading of this book, a deepening of my own faith, increasing disciplined habits of prayer, Bible study, journaling, etc., and mostly a renewed passion to incorporate my Christianity into every part of my life. I highly, highly recommend the reading of this book to all my fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. The Puritans have much to teach us!
(quotes in this blog taken from J.I. Packer's book "A Quest for Godliness", 1990, Crossway Publishing; pages 331-332)