Archive for January, 2014

When you meet together

January 3, 2014


Clearing out some old booklets and tracts I came across one on baptism by John Ritchie.  The opening words are very interesting with regard to young people meeting together.  He writes: “At the time of my conversion to God, I was privileged to form the acquaintance of four young men, all believers in the Lord Jesus.  We were in the habit of spending one night together every week, for united prayer and reading of the Word of God.  These were happy seasons, and under God’s blessing, many precious truths were thus unfolded to your souls.” [1]

When I read that I wondered how many young people meet with a few friends for informal Bible study in this way today?  From what I hear, when many Christian young people get together informally they enjoy one another’s company, tell each other their news and laugh together –  all pretty harmless.  Sometimes they will play a game or watch a video.  They will usually have their mobile phones to hand and may talk about the latest ‘apps’ they have downloaded.  But I am afraid I have not heard of the kind of thing John Ritchie mentions.

Does this not reveal a lack of zeal, of earnestness?  Today one rarely hears of consecration, dedication, sacrifice.    There is an old hymn, the last verse of which reads, “Just as I am, young, strong and free, To be the best that I can be, For truth and righteousness and Thee, Lord of my life I come.” [2]  It is those words “to be the best that I can be…for … Thee,” that I am thinking of at the moment.  Do we really seek to be all out for God?   I sometimes get the impression that many professing Christians today seem to want to be Christians with as little consecration as possible.  It seems that the aim is to get away with the minimum of Bible reading, prayer, witness, holiness, sacrifice, and so on, and still be thought of as a Christian.

I am not thinking merely of having holy huddles that have no effect upon life.  Real Bible study and prayer will result in growth in grace and a changed life, which, in turn, should influence others.  It should make us more loving, more friendly, more willing to engage in conversations about the Lord, more diligent in our studies and our daily work.  Of course there is room for informal talk and laughter, and catching up with one another’s news.  But is there not also room for Bible reading and prayer, when you meet together?

[1]  Baptism: The Subjects, The Mode, The Meaning by John Ritchie, published by John Ritchie Limites, Kilmarnock.

[2] Just as I am, Thine own to be, by Marianne Farningham.  This hymns is no match to Charlotte Elliott’s “Just as I am, without one plea” which is far superior theologically.