I wonder if the man at the gate of Beautiful ever stopped being lovely for the Lord? I hope the excitement that he felt that day never dulled. His lame lifestyle had vanished, and he was living victoriously! But if life did to him what it does to most of us, I’m sure he had days when his step was not high and the gate was far in the distance.
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
Is the gate still in view for you? Do you remember the feeling of fresh salvation? I sometimes have to work to remember and you no doubt do as well if it’s been very long. For me it’s been 20 years, but if I get my mind in that “Beautiful” place my praise is once more restored. Life has a way of causing us to suppress that beautiful memory into the recesses of our mind while the problems, guilt and frustrations of life over shadow how wonderful salvation is. Four things can happen when we the gate is too far in the distance.
- We lose our joy
David said in Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation… Life had gotten on him. Sin and the guilt it creates has a way of sucking the joy out of your life quicker than anything else. But it’s not exclusive. Debt, health issues, heartache… oh the list is long that can cause us to lose our joy.
- We rely on others to provide our joy
The man at the gate had once relied on people for his life’s provision. But no more! The Lord had now provided a way for him to take care of himself. I was once in a conversation with someone who ask how I kept my soul nourished. They were frustrated because spiritually, life wasn’t going the way they desired and they were depending on one person (the preacher) to nourish their soul. Well, it’s true that that is the preacher’s job; but again not exclusively. If we rely on the preacher to keep our heart happy Monday through Saturday with what he stirs up within us on Sunday, we’re going to be let down. Life is too harsh for that. The same is true when we expect friends and family to keep us encouraged and never let us down… it just won’t happen that way.
- People can’t see our joy
When the people saw that the lame man was lame no more, and that he leaped for joy and praised God, they were amazed! Why are our friends not amazed at what Jesus has done… could it be because our praise was left at the gate?
God doesn’t get to joy in us
Psalm 21:1 says The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.
This broke my heart above all when I realized that God loses joy because I lose mine. Yes He understands… but that still doesn’t justify it. And it especially doesn’t justify it when we get so far from the gate of Beautiful that we might as well be lame again because our joy has been gone for a long time. I know Christians that (if I didn’t really know them) I’d never guess that they had ever been at the gate of salvation. Likely you do too!
So what are we to do?
- Revisit the gate
- Recall the day of salvation
- Rejoice, and again I say Rejoice!
You, your people and your Savior need it.