In the Lee-Side of Christ

Posted on August 17, 2011

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The older I am, the further I seem to fall short; the more conscious I become of my need of grace. That’s why I have been so blessed in the writing of Works Worth Declaring by Douglas Taylor. Douglas is dying of an inoperable cancer. I look for his entries every day.

He along with others pointed me to The Letters of Samuel Rutherford, that great Scots Puritan. Rutherford’s Christ-centeredness is breathtaking. The renowned 19th century pastor-evangelist Charles Spurgeon wrote of Rutherford’s letters: ‘When we are dead and gone let the world know that Spurgeon held Rutherford’s Letters to be the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere men.’

The work he is quoting below from is Letter 181, 1637 from The Letters of Samuel Rutherford. This is really cool. Just like me you can get a copy FREE at Googlebooks. Here is the Googlebook link to the letter.

And here is Douglas’ post:

When looking for the passage quoted in the last post, I came across a sentence of Rutherford’s which at first sight seems puzzling, but is actually very valuable to all struggling Christians. He says: ‘I think it manhood to play the coward, and jouk in the lee-side of Christ; and thus I am not only saved from my enemies, but I obtain the victory’ (Letter 181, p. 352).

My attempt to paraphrase it would be something like this: What might be thought cowardly, namely, to hide behind Christ, I find to be the manly course, or the best course a man can take, for in doing this I not only escape my enemies, but overcome them.

This is expressive of a great truth: that real wisdom for helpless sinners like us is not to try to be brave and strong in ourselves, but to flee constantly to the Saviour, for when we are hidden in him, our enemies are powerless, and we are victorious.

The old Scots word ‘jouk’ makes it all the more expressive. It is often explained as meaning to duck, but the way I have heard it used conveys more the idea of a rapid sideways movement, like a boxer avoiding a punch, or a football (soccer) player dodging a tackle. It is a quick evasive movement; but in this case into the protective shadow of Christ, so that he absorbs the assault, and we, in him, overcome our attackers.

The leeside of Christ reminds me that ‘a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest . . . as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land’ (Isaiah 32:2). When our enemies approach – they may be fears about the future, doubts, temptations, fiery darts of the wicked one – let us, without delay jouk into the lee-side of Christ. He has already borne the full force of every assault the enemy could make against us at the cross. It all stems from sin, and he has borne sin. He has died and risen again. Let us not be such fools as to face the enemy on our own, or try to do over again what the Lord has done once and for all!