Just as one may see his face reflected in water, so, as he looks into his own heart, he sees that which is also in the hearts of others. As far as any inherent righteousness is concerned, we “are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God,” “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” As for us who are saved by God’s grace, we all still have to confess that “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not.” Do we excuse things in ourselves which we condemn in others? If things are sinful in others, they are sinful in us also. If things permitted by others seem hateful or questionable, they are hateful and questionable in us too. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man … for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” And as we long in our own hearts for understanding and comfort and encouragement, let us remember that others have the same needs, “knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
Do we look upon others with scorn, Thinking we’re better than they? Forgetting we’re all as nothing, Needing God’s grace every day?
A good runner does not have his eye upon the other contestants in the race, but on the goal, and we who know the Lord as Savior, and are thus in the Christian race, should be constantly “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. … I therefore so run, not as uncertainly … but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” for a reward. “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy.” “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” “Draw me, we will run after Thee.”
I would run the race with patience, To honor my Savior-Friend, Looking off always to Jesus, A reward for Him to win.
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” for “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” So “by Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name,” for “it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High: to show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.” It behooves us who have been redeemed to praise His name, for “He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” So “rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright,” and the Lord says that “whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God.” Let us then, by His enabling grace, “in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” “I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”
“Praise is comely for the upright,” From the heart that’s been made new, Praise for mercies freely given, Sent down on us as the dew.
The Christian who will not be reproved shows that he is “wise in his own conceit,” for “he is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth,” and “whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honored,” and “he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” While “a scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise,” yet “when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.” So “hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” The Lord says that “because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh,” for “he, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for … reproof.”
Will you not let your soul hear truth That reproves and shows the way? Will you stubbornly resist it, As God pleads from day to day?
How spiritually profitable it is for the Christian to muse and ponder over God’s Word. “Blessed is the man” whose “delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” Thus “my meditation of Him shall be sweet,” for the Word speaks of our blessed Lord and Savior who, journeying with the two Emmaus disciples, “expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” So when we meditate upon the Word, we are, in fact, meditating upon Him. “I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.” “I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands.” So, “give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation,” and “I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings.” Meditation then produces prayer and testimony and contributes to a godly life, for “I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways.” “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”
Ponder well the Word of the Lord; Muse and meditate therein, For God’s Word turned o’er in the heart Will armor the soul from sin.
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.” “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” and “the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” “Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us,” for “in God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” So “I will sing of Thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning: for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.” We “have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us … even Jesus, made a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” “O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction.” “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”
He is my refuge in trouble; To Him I can flee for aid; He giveth His grace to succor, He on whom my sins were laid.
There are many things in life of which we may partake without committing sin. But some of these seemingly harmless things may impede our spiritual progress and therefore “are not expedient.” Certain attitudes and habits and companionships do not contribute to our spiritual well-being; they are not conducive to a close walk with the Lord. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God,” making sure that we are not “choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” “Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” “Do all to the glory of God.”
I have liberty in the Lord To live a life that is free, But His love holds me in bondage, And constrained my life must be.
Asaph had been sorely troubled about “the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” It seemed to him that “I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For,” he says, “all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.” It was not until he “went into the sanctuary of God” that he “understood … their end.” But though these doubts arose in his mind, he kept them to himself, lest “I should offend against the generation of Thy children.” How well it is that we believers keep our doubts and fears to ourselves, lest we should offend others who are seeking to walk with the Lord. “If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.” Share your joys and victories; keep your doubts to yourself. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man,” and “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Tell your doubts to the Lord alone; “pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us.”
Do doubts and fears distress your soul? Cast them on the Lord in prayer; Tell not to men your heart’s doubtings; God alone can bear your care.
“The man that endureth” under trials and testings, who suffers patiently, will have due reward at the judgment seat of Christ, “when he is tried,” for it is written of us Christians that “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.” And for the enduring believer, “when he is tried,” then “he shall receive the crown of life.” This is not eternal life itself, for we do not earn that by enduring; we receive it as a gift. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” and “he that hath the Son hath life.” It is rather “the crown of life,” a reward for faithfulness under trial, “which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him,” for there must be such love in our hearts to enable us to be “rejoicing that” we are “counted worthy to suffer shame for His name,” and “if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God,” for “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
The Lord looks down upon His own, Who patiently toil and weep; “The crown of life” is promised them; His Word He will surely keep.
“The Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding,” and “when wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” “Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” and “of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom.” “Be not wise in your own conceits.” “For this cause we … pray for you … that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,” “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” “Where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding. … Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”
Wisdom is found only in Him; It is not native to man; He wants to guide and direct us, And as we submit He can.