Posted by: rcottrill | March 14, 2011

Nothing Between

Words: Charles Albert Tindley (b. July 7, 1851; d. July 26, 1933)
Music: Charles Albert Tindley

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The story of Charles Tindley’s life is a remarkable one. To read more about him, check out the Wordwise link.

Words such as united and together, versus divided and separated, describe two very distinct conditions. Two people cannot usually be both to each other at the same time. The institution of marriage provides an illustration. In marriage, couples are brought together and united. In divorce, they are torn apart and legally separated from one another.

In the Bible, we learn of the blessing of a spiritual union between the individual and God, made possible by the saving work of Christ. But to be united to God will mean we ought to be separated from some other things–things that are displeasing to Him (Amos 3:3). In practical terms, “No one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). The Lord’s desire is that we be united to Him, both as to our legal standing, and as to our daily fellowship. It is the latter that Charles Tindley’s fine gospel song addresses.

When a person becomes a Christian, through personal faith in Christ, the Spirit of God comes to permanently indwell him (Rom. 8:9), and the Spirit binds him to the Lord in an active fellowship (I Jn. 1:3). However, it is possible for sin, or worldly values to hinder that fellowship. Sin in the Christian life does not cancel sonship. (A disobedient child is still a child of his parents.) But it does create a barrier to fellowship (Ps. 66:18; Isa. 59:2) that robs us of the joy of the Lord, and spiritual fruitfulness.

Pastor Tindley’s hymn expresses the determination to let nothing come between him and the Lord. The stanzas of the song address various possibilities that concern him. In CH-1, it is first of all “this world’s delusive dream.” The unfounded expectations and false hopes held out by the alluring promises of this sinful world. Promises of security or “sinful pleasure” that can only disappoint in the end (I Jn. 2:17). What a tragedy if we allow the pursuit of such things to come between us and God!

Another possible barrier is “habits of life, though harmless they seem” (CH-2). Interesting. Not all habits or pursuits are sinful in themselves. But if they begin to consume our time and control our lives, they can in effect become idolatrous. To take one example, there’s nothing wrong with fresh air and exercise. But if we become fanatical about it, and it takes over our lives, it may have turned into a “god.” And the Almighty is a jealous God (Exod. 34:14); He will brook no rivals.

In CH-3, Pastor Tindley first deals with “pride or station.” Working hard, with a desire to do our best is one thing, but a lust for power, and for social standing, can motivate a selfish pursuit that virtually shuts God out. As Jeremiah warned his servant, “Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them” (Jer. 45:5).

And what about the “friends” we make, and those with whom we regularly spend our time. Good friends can be a blessing and, if our friends share our godly goals, we can encourage and support one another. But what if our friends regularly engage in activities that are contrary to God’s Word? What if their values are worldly? That may eventually draw us away from our walk with the Lord. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (I Cor. 15:33).

Finally, in CH-4, the author recognizes that it costs something to be a Christian, that those determined to live godly lives will suffer opposition and persecution from the world (II Tim. 3:12). What then? By the grace of God we can stand firm. Even if “the whole world against [us] convene,” we can pray for daily grace to live lives that are pleasing to God. By His enablement we can determine to “let nothing between.”

1) Allowing something to come between us and God is seldom a sudden and one time decision. It involves a process. Do you agree or disagree? (Explain your response.)

2) How can we protect ourselves from allowing something to hinder our fellowship with the Lord?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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