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When we come to Christ, we come empty-handed, yielding to His decision as to our greatest need. Whatever other gifts our “wisdom” might say are more needful, we are content to receive that for which He was crucified: the forgiveness of our sins.
God will help us, obviously, but the process of renovating our character cannot take place without our active engagement and obedience. We must not only be willing to have our imperfections removed; we must exert ourselves in that direction.
God’s wisdom far exceeds our own, and so His gifts and His answers are not always supplied according to our timetable. When we’re faced with either God’s “inaction” or His “silence,” we need to hold our tongue and also watch our attitude.
If the investments we make in our spiritual lives don’t require us to give up anything of real value to us, then they aren’t really investments, and the results won’t be worth very much. In the end, God’s value to us will be indicated by what we’ve exchanged for Him.
We must emulate the reason for Jesus’ endurance as well as the fact of the endurance itself. And why did He endure? It was “for the joy that was set before Him.” The pure, priceless joy on the other side pulled Jesus through this world.
Even when the spirit is filled with strong love, the flesh is often too weak to carry out the will of the spirit. It needs to be trained. So we have to build into our daily lives a training regimen that progressively makes the flesh our servant, rather than our master.
Our zeal must be disciplined. Like literal fire, the fire of zeal must not only be stoked; it must be kept inside the boiler. Our enthusiasm must be trained, channeled, directed, and governed — or else it’ll do more harm than good.
It helps our humility to realize that all of us have had to be helped at many points along the way. If our present situation is one that we can be thankful for, we need to understand that we didn’t get there on our own; we had to have help.
Many of the things we would define as “good” because they draw us closer to God are those that the world would define as “bad.” For example, difficulty and pain can have a beneficial spiritual effect on us, but most people want as little of these as possible.
Our relationship with God requires tending. If we actually love God and want to go to heaven, we will always be on the lookout for changes we need to make in our attitude and conduct so that we can be more fully pleasing to the Father.
I expect we are all hoping for a better year in 2021. For me, however, the completion of Obeying the Gospel and AreYouaChristian.com made this a banner year. I will always look back on 2020 with a special fondness and gratitude.
Needless to say, I am relieved that “Obeying the Gospel” is now out of my hands and available to be ordered by readers. Now, even if anything untoward should happen to me, the book can still move forward and do whatever good the Lord wills for it to do.