This life was not intended to be the place of our perfection, but the preparation for it.
If a man cannot be a Christian in the place where he is, he cannot be a Christian anywhere.
It is hard to imagine anyone suiting up for the (football) game without an awareness of the sometimes bloody struggle that is about to ensue. But I have yet to see a player remove his helmet and head for the stadium exit because he finds it all just too rough. Yet when it comes to Christian living, the field is evacuating quickly because the players have never read the rules nor understood the game plan.
Rules for life:
1. Eagerly start the day’s main work.
2. Do not murmur at your busyness or the shortness of time, but buy up the time all around.
3. Never exaggerate duties by seeming to suffer under the load, but treat all responsibilities as liberty and gladness.
4. Never call attention to crowded work or trivial experiences.
5. Before confrontation or censure, obtain from God a real love for the one at fault. Know the facts; be generous in your judgment. Otherwise, how ineffective, how unintelligible or perhaps provocative your well-intended censure may be.
6. Do not believe everything you hear; do not spread gossip.
7. Do not seek praise, gratitude, respect, or regard for past service.
8. Avoid complaining when your advice or opinion is not consulted, or having been consulted, set aside.
9. Never allow yourself to be placed in favorable contrast with anyone.
10. Do not press conversations to your own needs and concerns.
11. Seek no favors, nor sympathies; do not ask for tenderness, but receive what comes.
12. Bear the blame; do not share or transfer it.
13. Give thanks when credit for your own work or ideas is given to another.
The secret of a believer’s holy walk is his continual recurrence to the blood of the Surety, and his daily [communion] with a crucified and risen Lord. All divine life, and all precious fruits of it, pardon, peace, and holiness, spring from the cross. All fancied sanctification which does not arise wholly from the blood of the cross is nothing better than Pharisaism. If we would be holy, we must get to the cross, and dwell there; else, notwithstanding all our labor, diligence, fasting, praying and good works, we shall be yet void of real sanctification, destitute of those humble, gracious tempers which accompany a clear view of the cross.
If you are Christians, be consistent. Be Christians out and out; Christians every hour, in every part. Beware of halfhearted discipleship, of compromise with evil, of conformity to the world, of trying to serve two masters – to walk in two ways, the narrow and the broad, at once. It will not do. Halfhearted Christianity will only dishonor God, while it makes you miserable.
You are commanded to put aside the sinful practices of your old self, to be changed by a renewing of the mind, and to put on Christlike practices of your new self. Memorizing God’s Word is foundational to that process.
Living God’s way means putting away your self-centeredness and committing yourself to follow God’s Word in spite of any feelings to the contrary.
It is for us, in whom the Christian Church is at this moment partially embodied, to declare that Christianity, that the Christian faith can do that for the world which the world needs. You say, “What can I do?” You can furnish one Christian life. You can furnish a life so faithful to every duty, so ready for every service, so determined not to commit every sin, that the great Christian Church shall be the stronger for your living in it, and the problem of the world be answered, and a certain great peace come into this poor, perplexed phase of our humanity as it sees that new revelation of what Christianity is.
Thank God for the battle verses in the Bible. We go into the unknown every day of our lives, and especially every Monday morning, for the week is sure to be a battlefield, outwardly and inwardly in the unseen life of the spirit, which is often by far the sternest battlefield for souls. Either way, the Lord your God goes before you, He shall fight for you!
The Christian life is not about all the things we do for God- it’s about being loved by Him, loving Him in return, and walking in intimate union and communion with Him.
Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
I frequently hear persons in old age, say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.
I resolve to endeavor to my utmost to act and think as if I had already seen the happiness of heaven and the torments of hell.
The first and the great work of a Christian is about his heart. Do not be content with seeming to do good in “outward acts” while your heart is bad, and you are a stranger to the greater internal heart duties. See that your chief study be about your heart– that there God’s image may be planted; that there His interests be advanced; that there the world and flesh are subdued; that there the love of every sin is cast out; that there the love of holiness grows.
Resolved, to endeavor, to my utmost, to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented and easy, compassionate and generous, humble and meek, submissive and obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable and even, patient, moderate, forgiving and sincere temper; and to do at all times, what such a temper would lead me to; and to examine strictly, at the end of every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5, 1723.
The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief.
The whole of the Christian life is centered on Jesus Christ. Like Paul the contemporary Christian can say: “To me to live is Christ.” But often, in Christian experience, we are tempted to look elsewhere for direction, example, counsel and guidance. We lose sight of the fact that everything we need to live the Christian life is to be found exclusively in Christ. For this reason when we begin thinking about spiritual growth we must think first of all about Christ.
Though true Christianity uniquely involves a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is also a corporate experience…Christians cannot grow spiritually as they ought to in isolation from one another.
Endurance in the midst of suffering, not success, health, or wealth, is the mark of a genuine Christian life. Furthermore, it is faith and hope in the midst of suffering, not miraculous deliverance from it, that display most clearly the all-sufficiency of God to a despairing world.
The fact that God ordained our days for us should also give meaning to every day, not just the special or exciting days of our lives. Every day is important for us because it is a day ordained by God. If we are bored with life there is something wrong with our concept of God and His involvement in our daily lives. Even the most dull and tedious days of our lives are ordained by God and ought to be used by us to glorify Him.
A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity… The same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever… Each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny… How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked.
If our life is not a course of humility, self-denial, renunciation of the world, poverty of spirit, and heavenly affection, we do not live the lives of Christians.
The Sum is: 1. Remember always the presence of God. 2. Rejoice always in the will of God. And 3. Direct all to the glory of God.
If you want a religion to make you feel comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.
I sometimes think that the very essence of the whole Christian position and the secret of a successful spiritual life is just to realize two things: I must have complete, absolute confidence in God and no confidence in myself.
The faithful, effective Christian life, however is not simply a great emotional adventure filled with wonderful feelings and experiences. It is first of all the humble pursuit of God’s truth and will and of conformity to it. The obedient Christian experiences joy and satisfaction beyond measure, far exceeding that of superficial believers who constantly seek spiritual “highs.” Life in Christ is not sterile and joyless. But true joy, happiness, satisfaction, and all other such feelings are by-products of knowing and obeying God’s truth.
If you can do nothing but live a true Christian life – patient, gentle, kindly, pure – in your home, in society, at your daily duty – you will perform a service of great value, and leave many blessings in the world. Such a life is a little gospel, telling in sermons without words – the wonderful story of the cross of Christ.
God has no more precious gift to a church or an age than a man who lives as an embodiment of his will, and inspires those around him with the faith of what grace can do.
When people are right with God, they are apt to be hard on themselves and easy on other people. But when they are not right with God, they are easy on themselves and hard on others.
Christian living goes by the same ground rules as Christian conversion. Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone apart from all our works — that’s how we enter, that’s how we live. We never advance beyond grace. We never graduate to “deeper things.” Sanctification gets traction from the positive energy of justification.
O good God, guide me by Thy holy hand, that I may keep myself within the lists of Christianity, being modest in apparel, moderate (in) diet, chaste and temperate in speech, sober in fashion and my ordinary deportment, respective to my superiors, amiable to my equals, without pride and insolency towards these that are below me, courteous and affable and yet without vanity and popularity towards all (Samuel Hieron).
The key to Christian living is a thirst and hunger for God. And one of the main reasons people do not understand or experience the sovereignty of grace and the way it works through the awakening of sovereign joy is that their hunger and thirst for God is too small.
Christian living moves from what God has freely done for us in Christ to what we should freely do for others.
True belief in both heaven and hell radically changes the way we live on earth. We are encouraged by the hope of heaven, and we are compelled by the horror of hell. We know that this world is not all that exists. We know that every person on the planet is only here for a brief moment, and an eternity lies ahead of us all – an eternity that is either filled with ever-increasing delight or never-ending damnation.
Nowhere does the Bible call the [Christian] faith a leap – it calls it a walk. Think about it. What is a walk? It is a lot of little steps in the same direction. It is a journey taken one step at a time.
There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough – a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice – which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.
I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But who in his sound senses can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown.
The true Christian is one whose religion is in his heart and life. It is felt by himself in his heart. It is seen by others in his conduct and life. He feels his sinfulness, guilt and badness, and repents. He sees Jesus Christ to be that Divine Savior whom his soul needs, and commits himself to Him. He puts off the old man with his corrupt and carnal habits and puts on the new man. He lives a new and holy life, fighting habitually against the world, the flesh and the devil. Christ Himself is the cornerstone of his Christianity. Ask him in what he trusts for the forgiveness of his many sins, and he will tell you in the death of Christ. Ask him in what righteousness he hopes to stand innocent at the judgment day, and he will tell you it is the righteousness of Christ. Ask him by what pattern he tries to frame his life, and he will tell you that it is the example of Christ. But, beside all this, there is one thing in a true Christian which is eminently peculiar to him. That thing is love to Christ.
Now is the school time – then the eternal holiday. Now is the tossing on the waves of a troublesome world – then the quiet harbor. Now is the scattering – then is the gathering. Now is the time of sowing – then is the harvest period. Now is the working season – then the wages. Now is the cross – then the Crown.
The best use of one’s life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
God examineth with trials, the devil examineth with temptations, the world examineth with persecutions.
If your concept of God is only one that sees the Divine as a relational buddy that exists for the sole purpose of keeping you from hell and granting all your wishes while on earth, you will fall miserably short. If your concept of God is not resulting in fear, passion, excitement, reverence and awe, you will fall miserably short. I suggest based on the way many professing Christians obey the Bible, pray, conduct themselves in worship, view the local church and share their faith, the god they claim to worship is far from the God portrayed in the Bible, and the motivation for wholehearted biblical living is absent.
Our goal is not to get comfortable with the pleasures of this world. Our goal is not to fix all the problems in America. Our goal is to understand that heaven is our home and as a pilgrim here on earth, our pursuit is to be a growing disciple that helps others become a disciple and then helps them be a growing disciple as well who are equipped to make more disciples.
So we discipline ourselves for godliness, but trust in His grace. We strive to live our Christian life, but find our rest in Him. We labor to the point of exhaustion, but realize His yoke is easy and His load is light. Examine yourself regularly to stay balanced. We live Gospel-centered lives – trusting His grace and sovereignty for salvation and trusting His grace and sovereignty for daily living as well.
The problem is we want the Christian results, but we rarely do it the Christian way.
True disciples do not have a neutral reaction toward Jesus. True disciples walk an almost paradoxical life of wanted to be around Him more than anyone or anything else, but also experiencing a fear that intensifies the more we are in His presence. It’s love and it’s respect. It’s intimacy and it’s reverence. It’s loyal friend and it’s holy God. Like Peter in Luke 5:8, both clinging to His feet and asking Him to leave.
Social ethics must never be substituted for personal ethics. Crusading can easily become a dodge for facing up to one’s lack of personal morality. By the same token, even if I am a model of personal righteousness, that does not excuse my participation in social evil. The man who is faithful to his wife while he exercises bigotry toward his neighbor is no better than the adulterer who crusades for social justice. What God requires is justice both personal and social.
We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to give all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about.
I know of nothing which I would choose to have as the subject of my ambition for life than to be kept faithful to my God till death, still to be a soul winner, still to be a true herald of the cross, and testify the name of Jesus to the last hour. It is only such who in the ministry shall be saved.
Be dogmatically true, obstinately holy, immovably honest, desperately kind, fixed upright.
Every Christian should be both conservative and radical; conservative in preserving the faith and radical in applying it.
The Christian life is a positive allegiance to Jesus Christ. It is becoming so occupied with Him that the values and standards of the world around us have little influence.
Christianity is essentially a life to be lived.
Many Christians estimate difficulties in the light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail in the little they attempt. All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence with them.
Some people object to taking vows, but in the Bible you will find many great men of God directed by covenants, promises, vows and pledges. A carnal man refuses the discipline of such commitments. He says, “I want to be free. It is legalism.” There are many religious tramps in the world who will not be bound by anything. Now there are five vows I have in mind which we do well to make and keep. 1. Deal thoroughly with sin. 2. Never own anything- get rid of the sense of possessing. 3. Never defend yourself. 4. Never pass anything on about anybody else that will hurt him. 5. Never accept any glory. Remember that these five vows are not something you write in the back of your Bible and forget. They have got to be written in your own blood.
He feels supreme love for one whom he has never seen. He talks familiarly every day to someone he cannot see, expects to go to Heaven on the virtue of another, empties himself in order that he might be full, admits that he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up. He is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passeth knowledge.
Throughout the world, in nation after nation, men and women have died for their Christian faith. The very least we can do is live for our faith.
If you are a Christian, you can expect folks to criticize, but you ought to live so nobody will believe them.
God forms; Satan deforms; Holy Spirit conforms; Preaching reforms; Bible informs; Christ transforms.
The Christian walk is not so much characterized by perfection, as it is by direction.
[A Christian is] seeking and doing those things that please God, in all things, at all times, to the glory of God, in the name of Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The godly have some good in them, therefore the devil afflicts them; and some evil in them, therefore God afflicts them.
The theology of the cross simplifies the spiritual life by standing as its primary reference point. Everything in Christian spirituality relates to it. Through the cross we begin our spirituality and by the power and example of the cross we live it.