THOUGHTS TO GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE
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OPPOSITION is to be expected, and will, doubtless, continue until we finish our course in death. To submit patiently to this opposition is to sacrifice our own natural preferences for the friendship and the pleasures of the present life, and to endure hardness as good soldiers for the Truth's sake, in whatever shape that hardness may come, in our effort to do the Lord's will and work of advancing the interests of His Kingdom. To be really in the Lord's service involves, first, the careful and continual study of God's plan; second, the imbibing of its spirit; leading, thirdly, to an enthusiastic zeal for its accomplishment, and to activity to the extent of ability in its service, at whatever cost or sacrifice it may require.
THERE is nothing that puts the Christian at greater disadvantage in the presence of his foes than for him to let go, even temporarily, his grip upon the anchor of faith. Let him do so for a moment, and of necessity darkness begins to gather round him: he cannot see the brightness of his Father's face, for "without faith it is impossible to please God;" and while he grapples again for the anchor, the powers of darkness fiercely assail him with doubts and fears, based generally upon his human imperfections, which he should ever bear in mind are covered by the robe of Christ's righteousness. If we would have the peace of God reign in our hearts, we must never let go our anchor, "nor suffer Satan's deadliest strife to beat our courage down." The language of our hearts should always be, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him."
Our requests should be, increasingly, for grace and wisdom and the fruits of the Spirit and opportunities for serving the Lord and the brethren, and for growing more and more into the likeness of God's dear Son. Under these conditions who can doubt that the promised "peace of God beyond all understanding" would "guard" such "hearts" and their "thoughts?" This peace would of itself dispel one of the great evils that afflict the hearts of many. Selfishness and ambition would find little room in a heart so filled. Divine peace can dwell in our hearts, and rule in them, so as to keep out the worry and turmoil of the world, even when we are surrounded by these disadvantageous conditions--even when the adversary himself is besetting us through deceived agents.
HE who redeemed us, or bought us with the sacrifice of His own life, gives us, as our Prophet or Teacher, wis-dom by His Gospel, to see our fallen state and Himself as our helper; as our Priest, He first justifies us and then sanctifies or consecrates us, as His under priest-hood; and finally, as King, He will fully deliver the faithful from the dominion of sin and death, to the glo-ry, honor and immortality of the divine nature;--for "God will raise up [from the dead] us also, by Jesus." "Hallelujah! What a Savior!" Truly He is able and will-ing to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.
The true Christian is not "heady", on the contrary, his consecration to the Lord lifgureatively decapitated him. He lost his head, renouced his own will and self-rule, and submitted himself as a member of the body of Christ, to the absolute control of Jesus, the Head... the true Christian, therefore, in every affair of life, -- appeals to his Head for direction, to know how and what to do or say-- yea, to have even the very thoughts of his mind in full conformity to the will of God in Christ.
IF we are positive in our rejection of temptation it increases our strength of character, not only for that time, but also for subsequent temptations; and it disconcerts to some extent our adversary, who, noting our positiveness, knows well that it is useless to discuss the matter with persons of strong convictions and positive characters; whereas if the question were parleyed over, the result would surely be an advancing of further reasons and arguments on the adversary's part, and a danger on our part that we would be overmatched in argument, for, as the apostle declares, the Devil is a wily adversary, and "we are not ignorant of his devices." Prompt and positive obedience to the Word and Spirit of the Lord is the only safe course for any of the "brethren".
WHOEVER neglects the Lord's commands along this line of "evil surmisings" weaves a web for his own ensnarement, however "circumspectly" he may walk as respects other matters; for a heart impregnated with doubt and suspicion toward fellow creatures is more than half prepared to doubt God: the spirit of sourness and bitterness is at war with the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love. Either the one or the other will conquer. The wrong spirit must be gotten rid of, or it will defile the new creature and make of him a "castaway." On the contrary, if the new nature conquer, as an "overcomer," it will be along this line: if evil surmisings are overcome, half the battle against present difficulties and besetments is won.
“Because thou has kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from
the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them
that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10
“I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection: lest ...
I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
THERE is a tendency for the body, the flesh, to arise from its condition of reckoned deadness, hence the new nature needs to be continually on the alert to maintain its ascendancy, to fight the good fight of faith and to gain the prize as an overcomer. These battlings of the new mind against the flesh are a good fight in the sense that they are fightings against sins and weaknesses that belong to the fallen nature. They are a fight of faith in the sense that the entire course of the New Creature is a course of faith, as the apostle says, "We walk by faith and not by sight." ... It is a fight of faith in the sense that no one could keep up this battle against his own flesh and its propensities and desires, except as he can exercise faith in the promises and in the Lord as his helper.
“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
For unto every one that hath shall be given and he shall have abundance; but from
him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Matthew 25:28,29
“Love....rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the Truth.”--1 Corinthians 13:6
the principles of right and wrong so firmly fixed in my mind, and am I so thoroughly in accord
with the right and so opposed to the wrong that I would not encourage the wrong, but must
condemn it, even if it brought advantage to me? Am I so in accord with right, with truth, that
I could not avoid rejoicing in the Truth and in its prosperity, even to the upsetting of some of my preconceived opinions, or to the disadvantage of some of my earthly interests? The love of God,
which the apostle is here describing as the spirit of the Lord's people, is a love which is far above selfishness, and is based upon fixed principles which should, day by day, be more and more
distinctly discerned, and always firmly adhered to at any cost.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ”--Matthew 4:25-5:12
thought of "pure in heart is not perfection of conduct, nor of word, nor of thought, but perfection of intention as respects all of
these. Our desire and effort must be for perfection-in thought, word and deed. The standard before us, to which our hearts,
wills, must give assent, is the divine standard, "Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:8) God
has set no lower standard than this absolute perfection, but He has provided for us grace, mercy and peace through Christ, if we will
walk in His footsteps,.-this purity of heart being one of the essential steps in the narrow way.