In all our service and witness for the Lord, let us remember that if it is to count for Him, it must be “according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.” It cannot and must not be by human strength or wisdom. Nevertheless, our whole heart must be in it, for “I also labor, striving according to His working,” “for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” He does His work in our hearts and directs and empowers our service by His Word. Thus Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that “for this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” “If a man therefore purge himself … he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work,” “fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”
If we would be pleasing to Him In all our works and our ways, We must draw grace from Him each hour; His strength will be as our days.
These words were written at the Old Testament end-time, when men were saying “it is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” How very much like the age-end days in which we live. But “they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard … them … that thought upon His name.” He has promised us that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them,” and He has told us to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” He will help us to “know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” “Let us therefore follow after the things … wherewith one may edify another.” The Lord is listening, and “consider how great things He hath done for you.” “If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
The Lord sees those who think on Him, And remembers them above; “My thoughts within me” give comfort, As I think upon His love.
Though we cannot always tell about the salvation of others, “the Lord knoweth them that are His.” He has said that “I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine,” and “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” “But if any man love God, the same is known of Him.” It is written of some that “they profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” “Who is on the Lord’s side?” “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth: and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” God wants us to be “as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.” “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
“I … know My sheep,” the Shepherd says, And I “am known of Mine”; They “hear My voice … and … follow Me”; They show Me to mankind.
“Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” “It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.” Let us who know the Lord not be like Simon the sorcerer, “giving out that himself was some great one,” but rather remember the words of our Savior, that “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Not only are we not to praise ourselves, but when we receive any praise from others we are not to “be puffed up for one against another. … For … what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” “They measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”
By God’s grace “am what I am,” “For … in me … is … no good thing,” But He in wonderful mercy All good through our Lord did bring.
How easy it is for the true Christian to become “weary in well doing.” When Paul wrote the above words to the Thessalonians, there were those among them who were “working not at all, but are busybodies,” to whom he said that “them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” These were taking advantage of the kindness and generosity of other believers, to whom he says that they are to “be not weary in well doing.” Even though, as we seek to obey and honor the Lord, people take advantage of us, still he says, “Be not weary in well doing.” Though we may see little apparent results from our Christian witness, “be not weary in well doing.” Though our efforts to honor our Lord are not appreciated, “be not weary in well doing.” “For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” “Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.” He will “cause the weary to rest” in Himself. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Weary and worn, and discouraged, We ask, “Is it all worthwhile?” But all the pangs of the journey Will fade when we see His smile.
Peter wrote his first epistle to those “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” and thus to all of us who “obey … the gospel of God” and are “washed … from our sins in His own blood.” And he says of us that we “are built up … a holy priesthood.” Every Christian as a believer-priest has the right to go directly into the presence of God. We need no earthly mediator, no human priest, “for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” We who know Him “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” And when we are with Him in the glory we shall sing “a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood … and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
I have the right to go to Him, Unworthy though I be, For God has bid me come to Him, Through Him who died for me.
These were the words spoken to the prophet Jeremiah by the Jewish remnant left in the land of Israel after the king of Babylon had destroyed Jerusalem. They had come to him and said, “Pray for us unto the Lord thy God … that the Lord may show us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.” Jeremiah faithfully gave them the words of the Lord, and their response was that “we will not hearken unto thee. But we will do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth.” What a dangerous thing it is for the believer to hear and know God’s Word and not obey it. The Lord said to Ezekiel about the people of his day that “they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” The Lord desires that we, by the power of His Word, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind,” “and be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
God’s Word is to be obeyed And not lightly esteemed; It gives light, joy and gladness Beyond our fondest dreams.
“Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart,” “for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.” “The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men. The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth.” It is not a light thing to truthfully ask the Lord to “let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight,” but it is a most needful thing, and a thing that will bring great blessing. Elsewhere the Lord tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” “Thou hast proved mine heart; Thou hast visited me in the night; Thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress,” “for there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.” “I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways.”
I want my life to honor Him, Who gave Himself for me, “The meditation of my heart” To pure and faithful be.
The Christian who wants to please and honor the Lord must ponder his words, for “in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.” “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” So “foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes,” remembering that “a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.” Therefore “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man,” and “if thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.” “Should a man full of talk be justified?” “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” We should be sure that our speech “is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers,” and is “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” So let us “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
Our speech tells others what we are, And what is within our heart, So let it “be always with grace,” That it may blessing impart.
The God-breathed Scriptures, having come to us as “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” are “profitable” to the Christian “for doctrine,” that is, for teaching. If we would walk in the world by the teachings of God’s Word, then we must know what these teachings are. This necessitates that we “search the Scriptures” like the Bereans who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily.” Then we shall say with the psalmist, “How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” But God’s Word will also bring “reproof” or conviction to our hearts, causing us pain as “we … judge ourselves, [that] we should not be judged.” And the Word rightfully received brings “correction.” With the psalmist we say, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies.” It also brings “instruction in righteousness,” for “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” and “the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
More precious than gold is God’s Word; It gives me strength for my way, Teaching, convicting, correcting, And guiding my steps each day.