"...in October 1785, [William] Wilberforce began to wrestle with the implications of embracing Christianity. On October 25 he wrote, '[I] began three or four days ago to get up very early. In the solitude and self-conversation of the morning had thoughts, which I trust will come to something. . . The deep guilt and black in gratitude of my past life forced itself upon me in the strongest colours, and I condemned myself for having wasted my precious time, and opportunities, and talents.'" (William Wilberforce by Kevin Belmonte)I wonder how I am at understanding the full implications of my convictions, and then putting them into practice. Little in our culture pushes me to apply what I believe to all corners of my life. In fact, the loudest voices of our society insist that the opposite be true, that my convictions should remain separate from my actions, especially in the public sphere.
But how can we really live when our core beliefs are shunted aside? When the world is too much with us?
Just as Wordsworth's poem was ringing in my ears, I read this in Tozer:
"[Christians] read the lives of the great saints whose fervent desire after God carried them far up the mountain toward spiritual perfection; and for a brief moment they may yearn to be like these fiery souls whose light and fragrance still linger in the world where they once lived and labored. But the longing soon passes. The world is too much with them and the claims of their earthly lives are too insistent; so they settle back to live their ordinary lives, and accept the customary as normal."Wilberforce was a fiery soul who desired after God and this desire directed the course of his life. May I long to be like that and may that longing not pass, but inspire me to never accept the customary as normal, but to always be pushing forward, pursuing holiness and the glory of God.
Incidentally, Tapestry of Grace does a marvelous job providing for a deep and meaningful discussion about Wilberforce. The Teacher's Notes give discussion questions and answers to help dialectic-age kids (roughly middle school age) fully engage with their studies, getting beyond facts and delving into the implications.