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Take me to the cross and leave me there

Chau and I have been reading from the "Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Devotions and Prayers" in our family devotions. The earnest, soul-baring, Christ-exalting nature of these prayers has continually struck our consciences, thrilled our hearts, and moved our spirits to desire greater knowledge of God, greater dedication to Christ, greater communion with the Spirit, and greater understanding of His Word.

One of the prayers we read this morning has the striking title "Man A Nothing." I share it with you as a meditation on the desperate need of man for God and His continual workings in our lives. I particularly was struck by the closing sentence, which reminds us that we never "move beyond", "outgrow", or "leave behind" the cross of Jesus Christ as the pinnacle of revelation and the center of the gospel.

Man A Nothing

O Lord,I am a shell full of dust,but animated with an invisible rational souland made anew by an unseen power of grace;Yet I am no rare object of valuable price,but one that has nothing and is nothing,although chosen of thee from eternity,given to Christ, and born again;I am deeply convincedof the evil and misery of a sinful state,of the vanity of creatures,but also of the sufficiency of Christ.When thou wouldst guide me I control myself,When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself.When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself.When I should depend on thy providings I supply myself,When I should submit to thy providence I follow my will,When I should study, love, honour, trust thee, I serve myself;I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself,Instead of thee I look to a man’s approbation,and am by nature an idolater.

Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee.Convince me that I cannot be my own God,or make myself happy,nor my own Christ to restore my joy,nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.Help me to see that grace does this by providential affliction,for when my credit is good thou dost cast me lower,when riches are my idol thou dost wing them away,when pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into bitterness.Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart;show me that none of these things can heal a wounded conscience,or support a tottering frame,or uphold a departing spirit.Then take me to the crossand leave me there.