An earnest desire of mine is that God would grant us to be likeminded one toward another in Christ, for there are disagreements and divisions in the body of Christ at the time of writing this letter. Although Paul had written that Christians must stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, we seem to not be able to do this. If we yield ourselves to the work of God we can do this. There are teachings in many Churches that should be destroyed for they are not truth from God’s word. Christ alone can save a sinner, no amount of works can do this. Christ alone will draw a sinner, no amount of marketing or baiting will bring sinners to repentance in Christ, it will succeed only in luring them into the church building. Only the Holy Ghost can cause a revival in the hearts of Christians, no amount of “revival meetings” can do this. What need is there of well-speakers? God’s word is the best speaker there is, and unless a preacher preaches God’s word no amount of fair speech will be sufficient for the congregation.
What is meant when we say we must yield to the Lord? He has a work for every man to do, therefore not every man will do the same or even similar work. Every man might lead a different life, but every Christian must have the same Savior, for there is not another. The Savior Jesus Christ died for our sins, and shed his precious blood to pay for our sins, so now we give our lives to him, to do anything he leads us to do. This is what is meant by yielding to him. Should a man become a fool for Christ? God’s word says that the preaching of the cross of Christ is foolishness to them that perish, so why not? Do we see another man’s work or life to be more valuable than ours? Paul said by the grace of God, “I am what I am.” So by God’s grace we live in him and die in him. Do we have good things in our lives? No doubt. For a man that had nothing before has everything now if he has Christ. A dying man would be happy to receive a final kiss or embrace from a loved one, yet the dying sinner receives more than these base comforts from Christ. A sinner will gain eternal life in Christ, and after this each comfort is an added blessing from the Heavenly Father.
Another earnest desire of mine is that we may learn to forget those things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before. This is needful because unless we give our past to God we cannot move forward in our work for him. Cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purify your hearts ye double-minded! How can one side of the mind be dedicated to keeping old dreams alive and still expect to submit to God? This is the absolute double-minded mind, for even in the small chores of life it is hard to concentrate unless the task to be accomplished is focused on with one mind, and with one purpose. And our purpose must be Christ, laying aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, to run the race Christ set before us.
We must press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The pleasing of our Savior is the prize we must press toward, not the pleasing of our flesh. To do this we must walk in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is impossible with man, but with God all things are possible. So we must call out to our Father to help us to overcome the wicked one, and our own flesh, so that we do not become like the Jews in the day of provocation! In every temptation God has made a way to escape, that we provoke him not. Even in every occasion for covetousness, God has given every man a way to escape. In every lust God has given a way to escape. In every temptation imaginable God will strengthen us through it if we ask. Are there life-long temptations? Marvel not that there are, for the Blessed King and Savior Jesus Christ said that in the world we shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for Christ has overcome the world!
So we can know that we have victory in Christ over the flesh and over divisions, over depression and anxiety, over disappointments and fears. If we stay steadfast in his word, adding virtue to faith, and knowledge to virtue, and temperance to knowledge, and patience to temperance, and godliness to patience, and brotherly kindness to godliness, and charity to brotherly kindness, which things make our calling and election sure, we shall never fall. But he that lacks these things cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. This man cannot press toward the mark of the high calling of God! For this man is not looking at his life through the eyes of the LORD. The Lord has given each man work to do, we should focus no more on the pleasure and satisfaction of the flesh and focus on that work instead. Let us read his word, and be strengthened by him whose named is called The Word of God.
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