You are a kid and you see Willie Mays make playing baseball look as easy and natural as walking across the street; you feel this grand excitement. “I want to do that,” you say and spend the whole afternoon and evening at the playground with your buddies.
You are a kid and you hear Smoky Robinson, Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash come on the radio and you get excited and sing right along, smile on your face, joy in your heart.
You may not understand this, but those excited feelings are deeply spiritual and if listened to; they can shape your life and how it unfolds in very positive ways.
Life, however, has its shadows, and all that excitement can be drowned in a sea of shame without the right encouragement. Before you know it you are walking around with your head down afraid to feel anything at all.
Maybe a teacher tears up a drawing of yours and throws it in the trash in front of everybody. Maybe every time you sing somebody mocks you and plugs their ears until you are afraid to open your mouth.
That is why I believe some kind of spiritual life is important, to help you restore that excitement. And speaking of inspiration it can be embarrassing and even shameful to be inspired by saints, a Mother Teresa, or Mary or Gandhi or dare I say, Christ, in this so-called secular world.
To take seriously forgiveness and kindness and work with them until love and kindness are who you are. Well, who talks about that?
The world is always calling us. I remember my family went on vacation to NewYork. I was so excited coming out of the Museum of Modern Art I could barely contain myself. Yet, it was twenty years later before I was brave enough to put my finger in some paint and pull it across the paper.
We live in a world that seems to want to play it safe and worse smash all of our excitements, joys, and dreams right out of us. But if you put your fears, doubts, and shames to the test, and this may take years of work, you will find them to be the mere shadows and ashes that they are.
We are all born with the capacity for great joy and peace, dare yourself to get excited again.
For Christ’s Sake
C. D. Plum
Many years ago I heard an elderly preacher pray what seemed to me to be a most fervent prayer. The prayer was full of thanksgiving to God, and was also full of humble requests of God to keep on supplying his wonderful blessings upon his children. In no sense was it a dry sermon; even the eyes of the old preacher were filled with real tears. I was touched, personally, by such a prayer. And when the old brother dosed his prayer, he said, “We ask these things in Christ’s name, and for Christ’s sake.” (This is as near verbatim as I am capable of remembering so many years ago.)
The closing of the prayer made me wonder. I felt no doubt in my mind of this dear old brother asking this request in Christ’s name, but I wondered if he should say, “For Christ’s sake.” I’ll confess this did bother me a little bit. So much so that I quietly asked later of some of God’s people if they thought it proper to close a prayer by saying, “In Christ’s name, and for Christ’s sake.” They didn’t seem to know any more about it than I did, so I tried to forget it. But it never entirely left my thoughts for long, and at later periods I found myself unconsciously closing private prayers by saying, “In Christ’s name, and for Christ’s sake.” (Or in Jesus’ name, and for Jesus’ sake, which is the same thing.) And, I am not positive if this closing did not sometimes find its way into the closing of some of my public prayers. Anyhow, it seemed to me it was time for me to satisfy my own mind about the matter, and especially so since more recently I had heard young preachers making a similar conversation, showing doubts in their mind if such ending of a prayer is proper. My further study and conclusion is:
It Is Proper
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God
FOR CHRIST’S SAKE hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:3-2). The Holy Spirit said God hath forgiven us “for Christ’s sake.” This being true, why should it be wrong for us to use the phrase “for Christ’s sake” in our prayers? Certainly, certainly, ask the prayer in the name of Christ (Rom. 1:8, Col. 3:17). But in view of Ephesians 4:32 may we not use the words “for Christ’s sake?” Does someone say, brother Plum it is not for Christ’s sake we pray, it is for “our sake,” “my sake.” I understand Christ was perfect and we are not, and personally I do not feel worthy to say to my God grant my petitions “for my sake,” do you? I need help, forgiveness, all right, but what is there about me to ask the Lord to do it for my sake? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. But when I ask God to have mercy upon my requests for Christ’s sake, that adds weight to my petition. Shows our knowledge of our unworthiness, and shows our belief in Christ’s worthiness.
David said, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity” (Ps. 25:11). “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3). “Help us, O God and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake” (Ps. 79:9).
Hear God through Isaiah! “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger” (Isa. 48:9).
Hear John, the beloved disciple. The Holy Spirit prompted him to write: “I write unto little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake” (1 Jno. 2: 12) . Brethren, this is good enough for me. If you do not wish to use such a phrase in your prayer, I shall be the last to object. That is your privilege. You are still my brother in the Lord. No, no, I have not gone soft on this, nor am I about to go soft on anything else. Eternity is longer than time. Just bear in mind that, “in Christ’s name” means by the authority of Christ; and “for Christ’s sake” means for the worthiness of Christ. Both are proper, if you want to use both. No one is advocating the necessity of both, but we are advocating the scripturalness of both.
TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 3, p. 7 December 1965