Why we struggle with Christian Living

Written by On Wednesday, 13th May 2020
 
I have just completed a study on the letter of James, if you have not already seen them, the videos are available on the Saturday PM Facebook page. You can also get them via the link at the end of this blog. One of the things you will notice about the letter is the strong emphasis on godly Christian living. James goes into a lot of trouble giving the early Jewish Christians, a series of easy to understand instructions or commands on how to relate with each other and with God. This study got me thinking about why even when we know how we ought to live and what is a true demonstration of the Christian faith, we still struggle and many times fail.

 

I wanted a faith which no one can have without knowing he has it. Many imagine they have this type of faith, but do not. My comforters imagined I had it, but I did not. I remained miserable in their poor comfort.  

Everyone possessing this true faith is free from sin. The whole body of sin in him is destroyed. He is free from fear, receiving peace through Jesus while rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. He is free from doubt, having the love of God shed abroad in his heart through the Holy Spirit which is given to him. He is assured that he is truly a child of God through the witness which the Holy Spirit bears in the heart of the faithful.

Having preached about this true faith, I was sure of its substance. I knew that I was yet to attain such a faith. In order to find this faith, I contracted to serve as a missionary. I was not searching for any financial gain in missionary work. God had given me many material blessings already. I was not seeking any honor. Purely and simply, I was seeking to live wholly to the glory of God and to save my own soul.  By God’s grace, I was able to have direct witness of this living faith through a group of Germans soon after leaving for the mission field. There were twenty-six of these unusual Christians on the ship. 

In mid-ocean, we encountered three violent storms in rapid succession. All the passengers, except these Germans, were in fear for their lives. I had to ask myself, since I was so unwilling to die, “How is it that I have no faith?”

The third storm, a hurricane, hit at noon on Sunday. By four it was more violent than any of the other storms. The winds roared and whistled all around us. The ship rocked to and fro with great violence. It shook and jarred with an unequal, grating motion, so that no one could stand without holding on. Shocks came every ten minutes. It seemed as if those shocks would tear the ship apart.  

At seven I made my way into the quarters of the Germans. I had already observed the seriousness of their behavior. They gave continual proof of their humility. They were willing to do the most menial tasks rejected by others, and take no pay. They would say of the tasks performed, “It was good for their proud hearts.” And also, “Their loving Savior had done more for them.”  

Every day was another occasion of showing a meekness which no affront or insult could remove. If they were mistreated, they went away without a complaint. I wanted to see if they had been freed from fear. I knew they were delivered from pride, anger, and revenge. But what about fear?  

They began their services with a psalm. In the middle of the service, a great wave rolled over the ship. It covered the deck and poured down inside as if the ship were about to sink. A terrible scream came from the other passengers, but the Germans calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterwards, “Were you not afraid?”  He answered, “I thank God I was not.”  

“But were your women and children afraid?”  

“No. Our women and children are not afraid to die,” he replied mildly.  

After that I tried to watch their behavior as often as possible. They were always busy, usefully employed, cheerful, and in good humor. They had done away with all strife, anger, bitterness, clamor, and evil-speaking. They walked and lived as true witnesses of Christ.  

Wesley, John. Holy Spirit and Power.

A Lament for those who wait

Written by On Monday, 17th February 2020

I have been doing what seems like seating here waiting for the lights to change.

Counting blinks and breathes.

Hoping and praying every second, every minute that you would come and that you would move.

It has been silent, the lights are still red and am still here.

Here in this place where I thought I would never be, didn’t want to be

And the waiting room, this space of waiting has been stifling wanting an answer, I moved from wanting a yes to just wanting any answer so I could move, turn back or go forward.

But am still here. And where are you?

At the begining of the year I talked about going up a certain mountain. As I walked down the mountain I was sure about one thing that God wanted me to do. To write a devotional on the Gospel of John based on what God had been teaching me and showing over several years. There is a common string of thoughts that I saw as I read and listened to the Gospel of John but I was not sure how to communicate it. This is what has become of it, I can only pray that there is some justice done to it.

What would it look like if you studied the word as you would for an important exam?

I have been mulling for a while over this question. As a student, I prided myself in having a high level of diligence in preparing for both class and an exam. However, it would seem that I was not giving the Bible the same level of attention but I was somehow expecting that the truth of the word would come into my heart via some sort of osmosis process. Does this sound familiar?

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