Godly living centers not on we avoid, but on whom we embrace. Anytime we talk more about dos and don’ts than about Jesus, something’s wrong.
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose and was now glad to reject! You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, You who outshine all light yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, You who surpass all honor though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves. At last my mind was free from the gnawing anxieties of ambition and gain, from wallowing in filth and scratching the itching sore of lust. I began to talk to you freely, O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.
Christ is not valued at all, unless He is valued above all.
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.
We were created to worship Jesus Christ. We were created for Him, to become something to Him in order that He might find pleasure in us. But this demands discipline. This demands self-renunciation. This demands the mortifying of the flesh. This demands the taking out of our lives everything that does not contribute to the one great objective.
I also know that there is only one place where that angry, reactive, overwhelmed self can be transformed – the same place that Mary chose – the feet of Jesus… When I get into His presence, the whole world looks different. When I draw close to His heart, I find mercy when I know I deserve judgment; I find forgiveness for all my petty, selfish ways; I find grace for all my inadequacies; I find peace for my troubled heart; I find perspective for my distorted views. In Him, I find an eye in the midst of the storm. Oh the storm around me may not immediately subside; but the storm within me is made calm.
The choice is not between Jesus and the devil, it is far more subtle. It is between Jesus and our strongest allegiances…family…business…[etc].
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus” is perhaps the most important lesson in this athletic metaphor. Any runner in the Greek stadium who took his eyes off the goal and either looked at the crowds, or his competitors, would lose valuable time and concentration. So it is in the Christian life. When we get our eyes off the Lord, and onto others, we are in danger of getting sidetracked spiritually.
A wife who is 85% faithful to her husband is not faithful at all. There is no such thing as part-time loyalty to Jesus Christ.
Those who have a saving interest in Christ must be willing to part with all for Him, leave all to follow Him. Whatever stands in opposition to Christ, or in completion with Him for our love and service, we must cheerfully quit it, though ever so dear to us.
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved to be steady… [It] is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point [of attack].
If I allow my work to get between my heart and the Master, it will be of little worth. We can only effectually serve Christ as we are enjoying Him. It is while the heart dwells upon His powerful attractions that the hands perform the most acceptable service to His name; nor is there anyone who can minister Christ with unction, freshness, and power to others, if he is not feeding upon Christ in the secret of his own soul. True, he may preach a sermon, deliver a lecture, utter prayers, write a book, and go through the entire routine of outward service, and yet not minister Christ. The man who will present Christ to others must be occupied with Christ for himself.
I am born for God only. Christ is nearer to me than father, or mother, or sister – a near relation, a more affectionate Friend; and I rejoice to follow Him, and to love Him. Blessed Jesus! Thou art all I want -a forerunner to me in all I ever shall go through as a Christian, a minister, or a missionary.
We do not know the value of Christ, if we will not cleave to Him unto death!
When the early believers converted to Christ, it never occurred to them to fit Him into the margins of their busy lives. They redefined themselves around a new, immovable center. He was not an optional weekend activity, along with the kids’ soccer practices. They put Him and His church and His cause first in their hearts, first in their schedules, first in their budgets, first in their reputations, first in their very lives. They devoted themselves [Ac. 2:42]. [This was] unmistakable evidence that the Holy Spirit was being poured out.
If we would stop treating Sunday as a second Saturday, one more day to run to Home Depot, one more day for the kids’ soccer games, another day for getting ready for Monday, if we would rediscover Sunday as The Lord’s Day, focusing on Him for just one day each week, what would be the immediate impact between today and one year from today? By one year from today, we will have spent 52 whole days given over to Jesus. Seven and a half weeks of paid vacation with Jesus. He’s a good King. Maybe we should put Him first in our weekly schedules. Not fit Him into the margins of our busy weekends, but build our whole weekly routine around Him.
Disciples forsake the world and cling to Jesus ’till he comes. Converts don’t. Disciples aren’t engaged in a culture war. Converts are. Disciples cherish, obey, and share the word of God. Converts don’t. Disciples choose Jesus over anything and everything else. Converts don’t. Converts run when the fire comes. Disciples don’t (Unknown Iranian Church Leader).
It is the truth which is assailed in any age which tests our fidelity. It is to confess we are called, not merely to profess. If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point (Fritz – German Monk and contemporary with Martin Luther).
We are never nearer Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at His unspeakable love.
Yield yourself to Christ’s claims. Give Him the throne of your heart. Turn over to Him the regulation of your life. Trust in His atoning death. Love Him with all your soul. Obey Him with all your might and He will conduct you to heaven.
It is impossible to be a follower of Christ while denying, disregarding, discrediting and disbelieving the words of Christ.
If you look up into His face and say, “Yes, Lord, whatever it costs,” at that moment He’ll flood your life with His presence and power.
Since He looked upon me my heart is not my own, He hath run away to heaven with it.
Let us cleave to Christ more closely, love Him more heartily, live to Him more thoroughly, copy Him more exactly, confess Him more boldly, follow Him more fully. Religion like this will always bring its own reward. Worldly people may laugh at it. Weak brethren may think it extreme. But it will wear well. At even time it will bring us light. In sickness it will bring us peace. In the world to come it will give us a crown of glory that will not fade away.
He that would be conformed to Christ’s image, and become a Christlike man, must be constantly studying Christ Himself.
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.
Coming to Christ means I die to self. It’s allowing Christ to reign as Lord in my heart and desiring to see Him live His will through me. It’s death to the relentless but never-satisfying quest for affirmation. It’s freedom from the vain need to promote self. It’s separation from fight to find personal worth and identity. Fighting less for my rights. Decreasing so He increases in me. It’s finding approval in Him and realizing the true fulfillment in living for His glory. Death to self so life might live within us. When the pride goes so does the selfish agendas and the traits like the bitterness, the jealousy, the unforgiving spirits, the critical attitudes. Christ reigns resulting in joy and peace. Eyes are opened to new horizons. Curse is reversed. Life is restored.
People say to me, isn’t Christianity about following (implied: outdated and meaningless) rules? No! It’s about following Jesus which means living according to His nature so that our relationship with Him will be strong and our lives will be blessed. Don’t buy the lie! Not following Him is slavery. Following Him is liberation. Those weighed down with the most anxiety, guilt, shame and fear in life are those who are following Christ the least. External rules are a burden. There is no power to obey them. Rules do not change a heart. Our Lord changes our hearts. He gives us grace-empowerment. He provides purpose in doing it His way.
Do you believe? “I believe,” says one, and he begins to repeat what they call the “Apostles’ Creed.” Hold your tongue, sir! That matters not; the devil believes that, perhaps more intelligently than you do; he believes and trembles. That kind of believing saves no man. You may believe the most orthodox creed in Christendom, and perish. Do you trust – for that is the cream of the word “believe” – do you trust in Jesus? Do you lean your whole weight on Him? Have you that faith which the Puritans used to call “recumbency” or “leaning”? This is the faith that saves – faith that falls back into the arms of Jesus, a faith that drops from its own hanging-place into those mighty arms.
Hang this question up in your homes – “What would Jesus do?” and then think of another – “How would Jesus do it?” For what Jesus would do, and how He would do it, may always stand as the best guide to us.
Prayer and praise are the oars by which a man may row his boat into the deep waters of the knowledge of Christ.
Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when you wake in the morning look to Him; when thou lie down at night look to Him. Oh! let not your hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.
The more you know about Christ, the less you will be satisfied with superficial views of Him.
I don’t worry over the future, for I know what Jesus said; so today I’ll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead.
Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand but I know Who holds tomorrow and I know He holds my hand.
Here, then, is the crucial question which we have been leading up to. Have we ever opened our door to Christ? Have we ever invited Him in? This was exactly the question which I needed to have put to me. For, intellectually speaking, I had believed in Jesus all my life, on the other side of the door. I had regularly struggled to say my prayers through the key-hole. I had even pushed pennies under the door in a vain attempt to pacify Him. I had been baptized, yes and confirmed as well. I went to church, read my Bible, had high ideals, and tried to be good and do good. But all the time, often without realizing it, I was holding Christ at arm’s length, and keeping Him outside. I knew that to open the door might have momentous consequences. I am profoundly grateful to Him for enabling me to open the door. Looking back now over more than fifty years, I realize that that simple step has changed the entire direction, course and quality of my life.
Jesus has many who love his kingdom in heaven, but few who bear his cross. He has many who desire comfort, but few who desire suffering. He finds many to share his feast, but few his fasting. All desire to rejoice with him, but few are willing to suffer for his sake. Many follow Jesus to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of his passion. Many admire the miracles but few follow him to the humiliation of his cross. Many love Jesus as long as no hardship touches them… They who love Jesus for His own sake, and not for the sake of the comfort for themselves, bless Him in every trial and anguish of heart, no less than in the greatest joy. And were He never willing to bestow comfort on them, they would still always praise Him and give Him thanks.
The man or woman who is wholly or joyously surrendered to Christ can’t make a wrong choice – any choice will be the right one.
It is better to be occupied with Jesus than to be occupied for Jesus.
Christ is present in all Christians; Christ in prominent in some Christians; But in only a few Christians is Christ preeminent.