Too many of us object, perhaps unconsciously, to the rather evident fact that the maintenance of the devotional mood is indispensable to success in the Christian life. And what is the devotional mood? It is nothing else than constant awareness of God’s enfolding presence, the holding of inward conversations with Christ and private worship of God in spirit and in truth! To establish our hearts in the devotional mood we must abide in Christ, walk in the Spirit, pray without ceasing and meditate in the Word of God day and night. Of course this implies separation from the world and obedience to the will of God, as we are able to understand it. No matter how we may argue, true holiness and spiritual power are not qualities that can be once received and thereafter forgotten, as one might wind a clock or take a vitamin pill. Every advance in the spiritual life must be made against the determined resistance of the world, the flesh and the devil!
Is this a fair statement? Too Zealous? Unrealistic? Spot On? Fundamentalist? Convicting? Out of Date? Put Law above Grace?
Show me a person who despises Bible reading, or thinks little of Bible preaching, and I hold it to be a certain fact that they are not yet born again. They may be zealous about forms and ceremonies. They may be diligent in attending church and the taking of the Lord’s Supper. But if these things are more precious to them than the Bible, I cannot believe that they are converted. Tell me what the Bible is to a person and I will generally tell you what they are. This is the pulse to try—this is the barometer to look at—if we would know the state of the heart. I have no notion of the Spirit dwelling in a person and not giving clear evidence of His presence. And I believe it to be clear evidence of the Spirit’s presence when the Word is really precious to a person’s soul.
~ J.C. Ryle
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.