The Lingerer - lessons from Lot

"He lingered." Gen.xix,16.

READER, there are many of the Lord Jesus Christ's people, very like Lot.

There are many real children of God who appear to know far more than they live up to, and see far more than they practice, and yet continue in this state for many years.  Wonderful that they go as far as they do, and yet go no further.

They hold the head even Christ, and love the truth.  They like sound preaching, and assent to every article of gospel doctrine when they hear it, but still there is an indescribable something which is not satisfactory about them. They are constantly doing things which disappoint the expectations of their ministers, and of more advanced Christian friends. Marvellous that they should think as they do, and yet stand still.

They believe in heaven, and yet seem faintly to long for it; and in hell, and yet seem little to fear it.  They love the Lord Jesus, but the work they do for him is small. They hate the devil, but they often appear to tempt him to come to them. They know the time is short, but they live as if it were long. They know they have a battle to fight, yet a man might think they were at peace. They know they have a race to run, yet they often look like people sitting still. They know the Judge is at the door, and there is wrath to come, and yet they appear half asleep. Astonishing they should be what they are, and yet be nothing more!

These are they who get the notion into their minds that it is impossible for all believers to be very holy and very spiritual. They allow that eminent holiness is a beautiful thing. They like to read about it in books, and even to see it occasionally in others.  But they do not think that all are meant to aim at so high a standard.  At any rate they seem to make up their minds it is beyond their reach.  These are they who get into their heads false ideas of charity, as they call it. They would fain please everybody, and suit everybody.  But they forgot they ought first to be sure that they please God.

These are they who cannot find it in their heart to quarrel with their besetting sin, whether it be sloth, indolence, ill temper, pride, selfishness, or what it may. They allow it to remain a tolerably quiet and undisturbed tenant of their hearts.  They say it is their health, and their constitutions, and their temperaments, and their way. Their father or mother, or grand-mother, was so before themselves and they are sure they cannot help it. And when you meet after the absence of a year or so, you hear the same thing.

But all, all may be summed up in one single sentence.  They are brethren and sisters of Lot. They linger.