The Aged Believer's Three Last Wishes
James Smith, 1859
conformed to Christ's image." His first wish, his ruling desire — was to be like Jesus. He had seen him by faith. He had admired his moral excellencies. He had read that believers were to be changed into the same image, and he longed to experience that change. He not only loved his Savior for what he had done for him; but he loved him for what he was himself — and therefore desired to be like him. He was glad to receive from Jesus, and was grateful for what was conferred upon him — but his highest wish was to be like Jesus. That wish is now gratified. Yes, he is like Jesus now. He is with Jesus now.
An aged Christian had worn well, passed through many trials, and was now near the end of his journey. He had found the Lord faithful, he had received grace sufficient, and had proved that as his day — so his strength had ever been. He could find no fault with his God. His eye and his heart were in Heaven — and he soon expected to be there himself. The light of eternity began to beam upon him, and he saw many things now differently to what he did once.
The doctrines of grace were precious to his soul, the promises were divinely sweet — but Jesus was more sweet, more precious than all. Nothing troubled him now — but the sin that dwelt within him — and from that he was expecting soon to be freed. There he lay on the borders of the promised land, just ready to launch away! To ascertain the state of his mind, a friend inquired, "Is there anything that you want?" "Yes," he said, "I particularly want three things:
I want to be conformed to Christ's image.
I want to be devoted to Christ's service.
I want to be submissive to Christ's will."
Then he was silent, he could not say that he wanted anything more. Let us look at the aged believer's wants, or wishes:
"I want," he said, "to be
My soul, how is it with you? What is your chief desire? What is the wish that most frequently escapes from you in the form of prayer? Is it happiness, or splendor, or the gratification of your natural desires? Or is it to be like Jesus? Blessed be God, I can with the well-taught Christian say, "I want to be conformed to Christ's image!" "Then shall I be satisfied," said the Psalmist, "when I awake with your likeness;" and then shall I be satisfied too.
But my friend added, "I want to bedevoted to Christ's service." Imperfectly, he had served his Savior for many years. He had done a little for Jesus. But he wanted to be entirely, and forever, consecrated to the service of his loving Lord. And he is now, for he forms a part of that company, of which it is written, "They serve him day and night in his temple!"
And do I desire to be devoted to the service of Jesus too? Is it not one of the warmest wishes of my soul, that my Savior should be my Lord, my Master? Yes, I do desire to serve Jesus, to follow him, and imitate his bright and beautiful example in all things here below. His service is perfect freedom. His yoke is a very easy yoke. O for grace to serve him wholly, to serve him only, and to serve him forever! In any way I can, in every place where I am, in every thing I do — I wish to serve Jesus. Dear departed one, you are now devoted to the service of your God and Savior — and I trust that I shall be too, soon!
Once more, said he, "I want to besubmissive to Christ's will." To wait his time. To do, or suffer, all that he was pleased to appoint. To have the will of the creature — swallowed up in the will of the Creator; the will of the child — lost in the will of the Father. This was the very spirit of Jesus. This was the mind of Christ. "Father," said he, "not my will — but may yours be done." Too often we want our own way. Too often the fervency of our wishes, indicates opposition to the Divine will, O to leave off wishing! O to be satisfied with the will of God! So satisfied, as to prefer the will of God to our own. Until the will of God rules us, until the will of God is preferred by us — we shall never enjoy settled peace, or be truly and permanently happy. Human nature, in its pride, may object to this — but grace will acquiesce in it at once.
Reader, how is it with you? What are the ruling desires of your soul? Can you sympathize with my friend who is now in glory? If you were asked if there was anything you wanted — would your prompt reply be, "Three things I particularly want — I want to be conformed to Christ's image. I want to be devoted to Christ's service. I want to be submissive to Christ's will." If so, happy are you, for the grace of God rules you, and the Spirit of Christ dwells within you. Your preparation for Heaven is commenced — and in the gratification of these desires, it will be completed. Preparation for Heaven, by the work of the Holy Spirit, proves that a title to Heaven, has been procured for you by the work of Jesus. Blessed Jesus, to procure us a title to glory, and at such an expense; for it cost him not only his labor — but his life. We live through him. Our eternal life — is through his death.
Are you at all conformed to the image of Christ? If so, it is your daily desire and prayer to be more completely and perfectly like him.
Are you at all devoted to his service? If so, you wish that every power and faculty should be consecrated to him; and that all your time and talents, should be employed for his praise.
Are you in a measure submissive to his will? If
so, you desire that he should dispose of you and yours — just as he pleases.
That he should . . .
choose your earthly conditions,
fix your lot, and
hand out to you your daily portion.
Blessed is the man that is in such a case, for . . .
his desires shall be granted,
his hopes shall be realized, and
his prayers shall be answered.
Lost sinner, until you can say, "I want to be conformed to Christ's image. I want to be devoted to Christ's service. I want to be submissive to Christ's will" — you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity.