The greatest strength is joy in God’s goodness. Satan trembles before any person whose strength is the true joy of the Lord. And when we are not strong in this way, every other strength is but weakness. Without joy, our strength is easily broken.
Do we take spiritual dangers seriously? Do we understand what’s at stake if we fail to find safety in God? If nothing could go wrong on our journey, neither the true heart nor the brave would be needed. But where there is no risk, faith is no virtue.
If conscience can show us only a step or two ahead, then a great deal depends upon our taking those steps. What we don’t know must never prevent us from doing the duty we do know. We must use the light we already have — or cease to expect any more.
Changes in our inward character show up outwardly, particularly in our faces. When the changes are positive in nature, produced by a more truthful conception of God, the results are often striking. The portrait of a godly soul is a shining face.
We are hurt far more by the malignancies in our character than by the illnesses in our body. It is the removal of these sins in the heart that God is concerned with. The Great Physician desires to restore our spiritual health and wholeness.
The strongest language in Scripture is reserved for the dull of heart. We have become, as T. S. Eliot warned, “hollow men.” And this world-weary nothingness is frightening. We are never closer to hell than when our hearts feel . . . nothing.
Temporal things can be gratifying, but a problem arises when we make earthly enjoyments our main pursuit. Not only will we lose our souls for having worshiped the creation rather than the Creator, but we will lose the true joy of the creation itself.
If we disregard God, all that’s left is the dissipation of gathering and collecting, and every “increased possession loads us with a new weariness” (John Ruskin). Living materialistically, we settle for the “barrenness of a busy life.”
Why don’t we choose to devote ourselves to God more wholeheartedly? We say we desire fellowship with Him, but perhaps we’re not willing to let go of the alternative. Trying to find a way to have both alternatives at once, our hearts are divided.
We won’t grow wise without seeking God, and we won’t seek God without humility and reverence. That is why the fear of the Lord is the “beginning” of wisdom. Pride corrupts the learning process, so if we wish to learn, we must humble ourselves.