“Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus.” (Charles Spurgeon)
From it comes willingness to learn. Complacent curiosity cannot produce one spark such as that raging fire of zeal.
Zeal sets the brand. It causes an indelible mark on the soul. A wisp of smoke rises up, and the man will never be the same.
Complacency can cause religion; the result of a casual stroll through truth. But zeal is a consuming fire. Mindless of himself, the man with zeal exudes true religion. Helplessly in love with the God who made him, he cares nothing for what men think.
Let us look around in our things. If we have misplaced zeal let us be frantically zealous to search for it and find it again. Isn’t the honor of Christ within us worthy of all we have?
The reward? The reward is the blazing presence of Christ.
Listening with all our might, we can hear it. The key is “All”.
“O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.” (Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening)
Let common sense rule.
Every servant serves a master. He who serves himself is no servant at all. Doesn’t he make himself his own domain; King and the subjects over which he rules. Can anyone say “folly”? And no servant is allowed to serve two masters, such a man will not serve either one with integrity.
We are servants to the one we obey. Fidelity is the target. Either a man serves chaos or seeks, with all he has, to serve purity.
How can I make this small?
“They go from strength to strength.”
They go from strength to strength. There are various renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of progress.
Our own good translation of the authorized version is enough for us this morning. “They go from strength to strength.” That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way. But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more surely. Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds, but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise which still holds good: “The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.” Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. “Alas!” say they, “we go from affliction to affliction.” Very true, O thou of little faith, but then thou goest from strength to strength also. Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders.
(Charles Spurgeon, “Morning and Evening”)
You ask. You suggest. You try to reason. No success. But the matter is urgent and learning is not up for debate.
The mind is not willing. The heart is not open to correction. The child has decided to disobey.
So out of kindness, you decide to push the back of his head to make him move (any obedience is better than none). He hardens his neck against your hand, pushing his body against your will.
For the moment, he becomes a stiff necked child.
I admit to the Lord that I am useless without his will in my heart. I ask for his leadership. Then, when a moment comes to do what is right I choose my own direction. Without saying a word I become a stiff necked child.
What is the meaning of Grace?
Stay with apathy. Stay with superstition. Stay with your own brand of religious ideals. Laugh at what is Holy. Mock sincerity. Consider godly righteousness as a myth. Leave the Bible in the room of “ignoring”. Be critical of those who try to obey. Receive gossip about Christians and pass it on with a joyous mouth.
What does stiff necked mean?
Who are we that God should even care about us, a stiff necked brood of snakes? Yet he suffered among us the most brutal life and death to redeem us as his.
Give the gospel another opportunity.