Archive for the ‘Johann Arndt’ Category

Bring God What You Can!

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

“He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:6

I’ve been carefully reading True Christianity by Johann Arndt and came across the following quotation this evening. It reminded me of the times I have struggled to have meaningful devotional moments with the Lord. I know I’m not the only one and accordingly wanted to share it.

“If you cannot bring to your beloved God many and great offerings such as meditation, prayer, and thanksgiving, bring to him what you have and can, and with these, a good will and holy desires; and hope that you might please him in your worship.

“To have such a holy desire, indeed, to wish to have one, is not a small gift or sacrifice. It too pleases God. … God does not demand more from you than his grace works in you and you cannot give him more than he has given you. Pray to your Lord Jesus Christ that he make your sacrifice and gifts perfect with his perfect sacrifice, for your perfection is in him; in us, it is in part.

“Speak as follows: Dear God and Father, take my meditation, faith, prayer, and thanksgiving in your dear Son, and do not look on it as it is in itself but [as it is] in Christ; thus, it will give you pleasure as a perfect work; my Lord Jesus will make that perfect which is lacking in me.

“Thus, your meditation, prayer, and thanksgiving succeeds and even if it is in itself weak and dark, and has its shortcomings, it is a great perfection, a great light and glory from the merit of Christ. …

“Your old acts are in themselves nothing, but if they are adorned with Christ’s perfection, all your works truly please God. Apples that are brought in in golden trays are seen as particularly valuable. Apples in themselves are not considered so great, but they are more lovely if they are brought in in golden rays. So it is with our prayer, meditation and thanksgiving in Christ.”

Arndt wrote his book in the Spring of 1606 and helped initiate the “Pietist” movement so that positively impacted the nascent Lutheran Church, bringing about a new interest in a religion of the heart, and spawning later Pietist revivals through the efforts of Philip Spener, August Francke and Nicholas Zinzendorf. In fact, Zinzendorf was raised reading True Christianity by his godly grandmother.

Are you struggling to connect with God? I hope you will take Arndt’s words to heart, and “bring to God what you have and can…” I hope you will also believe that God will accept your effort, remembering that God doesn’t demand what his grace hasn’t worked in!

Father, I don’t know who is reading these words, but if they are anything like me, I know they’ve had their moments of struggling in their devotional time with you, when the things they read seem to fall short and the prayers offered don’t seem to ascend any further than the sky. I pray that you will take these words and set them as seals upon their hearts, so that when the enemy of souls comes along and suggests they are unworthy and not good enough, and that their time in prayer and meditation is falling short, they can know that in Jesus, they are not only accepted, but perfectly accepted in the beloved. And Father, please work in as much grace as you possibly can, so that they might bring great glory and honor to you. Thank you in advance, Father, for being perfectly capable and perfectly willing to perform what I am asking. And while you are at it, please send the Spirit with power into their lives. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Learn more about how to have a meaningful devotional life at