It is our privilege to say with Paul, “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20.) And yet how many are making laborious work of walking in the narrow way of holiness. To many the peace and rest of this blessed way seems no nearer today than it did years in the past. They look afar off for that which is nigh; they make intricate that which Jesus made very plain. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The plan of salvation has been plainly revealed in the word of God, but the wisdom of the world has been sought too much, and the wisdom of Christ’s righteousness too little. And souls that might have rested in the love of Jesus, have been doubting, and troubled about many things.
You must trust Jesus for yourselves, appropriate the promises of God to yourselves, or how can you teach others to have humble, holy confidence in Him? You feel that you have neglected duties, that you have not prayed as you should. You seem at a distance from God, and think that He has withdrawn from you; but it is you who have separated from Him. He is waiting for you to return. He will accept the contrite heart. He has assured us that He is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. We are polluted with sin; but it is possible for us to be healed from its leprosy. We are to look to the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
The important future is before us; and to meet its trials and temptations, and to perform its duties, will require great faith, energy, and perseverance. But we may triumph gloriously. Not one waiting, watching, praying, believing soul will be ensnared by the devices of the enemy. All heaven is interested in our welfare, and awaits our demand upon its wisdom and strength. If any of us are not saved, it will be because we have chosen the service of Christ’s great adversary and the companionship of those who are his followers.
The Lord is willing to do great things for us. We shall not gain the victory through numbers, but through the full surrender of the soul to Jesus. We are to go forward in His strength, trusting in the mighty God of Israel.
You should never be surprised, you should never be without your armor on. Be prepared for any emergency, for any call of duty. Act promptly. God would have you minute men. Many times workers are too precise, too calculating. While they are getting ready to do a great work, the opportunity for doing a good work passes unimproved. The worker moves on as though the whole burden rested upon himself, a poor, finite man, when Jesus is ready to carry him and his burden too. Brethren, trust self less, and Jesus more. He is willing to save the souls for whom we labor. Because He lives to intercede for us, we shall see of His great power. He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Jesus wants us to ask for help; He wants us to cast our helpless souls on Him; and He will give us according to our faith.
People who are self-sufficient, and feel that so much depends upon themselves, give Jesus no room to work, and but little credit when He does work. They trust in their own ability, forgetting the words of Christ, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). The man that is self-righteous, and wise in his own eyes—rich and increased in goods, having need of nothing—cannot ask in faith, and receive, because he trusts in himself, and feels no lack. His works testify that he labors out of Christ. It is those who feel themselves sinful before God, poor and helpless, that Jesus loves to help; for they will appreciate His aid. They have a longing desire to do the Master’s work, and, knowing that the power is not of themselves, they take hold of the mighty arm of God, and by faith claim His promises.
God is not pleased when His servants remain weak, wanting in courage, in faith, in hope, in love, and consequently inefficient laborers in His cause. God has given men reasoning powers, not to remain inactive or to be perverted to earthly and sordid pursuits, but that these powers may be developed to the utmost, and used in His service, to advance the interests of His kingdom.
A high standard of purity and nobility of character is set before the Christian, and he can attain to this excellence only through the aid of Christ. But many suffer grief, pain, and disappointment, because they are unwilling to fill the humble place which God’s providence assigns them, where they will remain unnoticed and unknown. They love the supremacy, and their anxiety leads them to work against their brethren, fearing that others will be preferred above themselves. Envy, malice, jealousy, and distrust are cherished, and Jesus cannot dwell where these traits are entertained. He invites those who are ambitious of preferment to come to Him, and at the foot of the cross of Calvary learn His meekness and lowliness of heart. If any are qualified for high positions of trust, the Lord will lay the burden, not on them, but on those who have tested them, and can understandingly urge them forward.
The followers of Christ should not praise and flatter one another; for Satan will do a plenty of this work, and if persons have a high opinion of their own ability, it will prevent them from learning in the school of Christ. Let none censure and condemn others; for in doing this they are co-laborers with him who is the accuser of the brethren, who would steal from their hearts every particle of love for one another. Christians will not seek to tear one another down in order to build up self, but all will endeavor to strengthen and encourage one another.
We should make it our daily care to cultivate sympathy and affection for one another. This is the fruit that grows on the Christian tree; it does not produce the briers and thorns of hatred and strife. The harsh, unsympathetic words we sometimes hear spoken, and the hardheartedness we see manifested, are wholly satanic, and this spirit must be supplanted by the spirit of Christ. Jesus bids us, “Love one another, as I have loved you. … By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34, 35). He is our mighty Helper; and if He abides in our hearts, we shall manifest His spirit. We shall love one another; we cannot help it; for He is love.
Gospel Workers, 456–460.