We who know the Lord ought to do all the good we can at all times to all men, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” And “as we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” But we ought to do so as quietly and unobtrusively as possible, “as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Our “alms,” our compassion, shown and done out of our love for the Lord and because of what He has done for us, ought to be done for Him, and not because we want to impress men. “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites … that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.” Shall we “receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” “For not He that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth,” so “that no flesh should glory in His presence.”
Do we want to be seen of men? Then their praise is our reward; But if our service is for Him, We shall glorify the Lord.
“We [believers] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad,” for “every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” The Christian’s character and service will be shown in its true light, for “the Lord … will bring to light the hidden things of darkness.” All that which has been done in human strength and for the praise of men will be exposed and will be seen as “wood, hay, stubble,” to be devoured by the fire. On the other hand, “the Lord … will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” It will be seen that many things which have seemed small in the eyes of men are worthy of reward, because the will and purpose of the heart was to please and honor the Lord, who said that “if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.”
Is our service one of gladness, Seeking to honor His name? If not, there awaits us sadness, Standing before Him in shame.
“He said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” “Men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.” There are “men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness,” who “lay up for [themselves] treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal,” while God has said to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” When “thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall these things be, which thou hast provided?” “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” “The wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.” So “having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
Men will praise you when you do well, And heap up silver and gold, But only that done for Christ will last; In Him are riches untold.
There come times in the lives of most of God’s children when we have to say that “O my God, my soul is cast down within me,” when we feel that “deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts: all Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me.” When we are tired and weary, Satan takes advantage of us and seeks to discourage and depress us, as Amalek smote Israel “when thou wast faint and weary.” When we fail the Lord, even though we know that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” we are nevertheless oftentimes “cast down.” When we are in the midst of adverse and trying circumstances, we are prone to be “cast down” and “disquieted.” Let us remember that we may be “persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” But “why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?” “He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”; He “forsaketh not His saints.” “Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”
Are you “cast down” and “disquieted”? Do things seem to be all wrong? The God who loves and who saved you Can fill your heart with His song.
No one can be saved unless he comes to the Father by the Son, for “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” and “whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” But the words of our Lord are equally true in our prayer lives, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me,” “for through Him we … have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” We have no merit of our own, no matter how spiritual we may be. We must, with Ezra, confess that “I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God.” But, thanks be unto God, “having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,” “let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Our Lord offers our prayers to God with the sweet savor of His own Person and work, and they are accepted for His sake. He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you,” for “no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
God hears our prayers for Jesus’ sake, Because of the work He’s done; We may, then, come boldly to Him For the sake of His dear Son.
Is it not sad that many Christians have to be forced to pray? As long as things go well and there is no special pressure or trouble, we so easily forget to “continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Many are those who, in prosperity and health, have “rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High: therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses.” How gracious of the Lord to deal thus with His people, after we thus neglect Him and His Word, and thereby bring trouble upon ourselves. But “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.” It is a dangerous thing for the Christian to walk afar off from the Lord and to neglect prayer. “Beware … lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses … and all that thou hast is multiplied,” that then “thou forget not the Lord thy God.”
When all goes well with the Christian, He may see no need to pray, But when hardships and trouble come, Then there is no other way.
It is not the “evildoers” who cause us to fret, to blaze up and be incensed. Our text verse says to “fret not thyself.” We cannot blame our fretting on others, no matter what they do or how evil they are; we are personally responsible for it. And God has provided the remedy for it. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” We are not to be incensed, we are not to “fret” over the possessions, the position, the prominence, or the popularity “of evildoers.” Rather, we are to “rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” So “fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked.” Let us, then, not blame our fretting on others or on circumstances. God holds us personally responsible for it. “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil,” for “an angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” On the other hand, “he that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly,” and “he that is slow to anger is better than the mighty.”
Why should I vainly fret myself When only evil it can bring? His grace is mine to prevent it, So then will I trust and sing.
For every testing and trial that comes to His children, God has a purpose. “For a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” and “it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” The psalmist testified that “before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept Thy word,” and “it is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes.” He further said that “I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” God works through tribulations and tears to bring His own into closer fellowship with Himself. “Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented.” “Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
A long road and a heavy trial May be your lot here below, But your loving Lord is near you To help you His grace to know.
“A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” Therefore let “no man … be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” So, “beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” In that soon-coming glory “ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ,” with “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither … any more pain.”
Tested and tried with pressures, Till it seems you can’t endure, God’s purpose is not to hurt, But to make you clean and pure.
In that coming day when national Israel shall repent and be converted at our Lord’s return to earth, when “there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer,” the Holy Spirit will be unto them “the Spirit of grace and of supplications.” He is that now to all of us who know the Lord Jesus, for He indwells every believer, and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” He is “the Spirit of grace,” imparting to us “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and enabling us to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” and to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” Thus are we “strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” And He, the blessed Holy Spirit, is also “the Spirit of … supplications,” causing us, as we yield to the Lord, to be “praying in the Holy Ghost,” and to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” And as we “walk in the Spirit,” He will cause us to look on that Pierced One with hearts made contrite by His love and grace.
The Spirit who indwelleth me Is the Spirit of God’s grace, Leading me in supplication, For all who’ve entered the race.