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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Christian Life, continued

There are three things for which the person who wants to make a success of the Christian life must especially pray. First, he must pray for wisdom: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God" (James 1:5). Second, he must pray for strength: "Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isaiah 40:31). Third, he must pray for the Holy Spirit: "Your heavenly Father [will] give the Spirit to those who ask Him" (Luke 11:13). If you have not yet received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, you should offer definite prayer for this definite blessing and definitely expect to receive it. If you have already received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, you should, with each new emergency that you encounter in your Christian life and ministry, pray to God for a new filling with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 4:18-31).

Fifth, go to work for Christ. "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away" (Matthew 25:29). The context of this verse is that those who use what they have will get more, and those who let what they have lie idle will lose even that. The working Christian - the one who uses his talents, whether few or many, in Christ's service - is the one who does well in the Christian life here, and who will hereafter hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many tings. Enter into the joy of your lord" (v. 21). Find some work to do for Christ, and do it. Look for work. If it is nothing more than distributing tracts, do it. Always be looking for something more to do for Christ, and you will always be receiving something more from Christ.

Sixth, give generously. "The generous soul will be made rich" (Proverbs 11:25). "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully... And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:6, 8). Success and growth in the Christian life depend on few things more than on generous giving. A stingy Christian cannot be a growing Christian. It is wonderful how a Christian begins to grow when he begins to give.

Seventh, keep pushing on. "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

Forget the sins that lie behind you. If you fail anywhere, if you fall, don't be discouraged, don't give up, don't brood over the sin. Confess it instantly. Believe God's Word: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Believe that the sin if forgiven, forget it, and press on. satan deceives many of us in regard to this. He keeps us brooding over our failures and sins.

In addition, forget the achievements and victories of the past, and press on to greater ones. Here, too, satan cheats many of us out of the abundant life. he keeps us thinking so much about what we have already obtained, and he makes us so contented with it and so puffed up over it, that we come to a standstill or even backslide. Our only safety is in forgetting the things that are behind and pressing on. There is always something better ahead, until we "come ... to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

~R. A. Torry~

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