“Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better”
– Jonathan Edward
The earnest Christian is intent upon the growth and the development of our walk and life in Him. It is Him we seek to please, glorify and honour. We were created for His pleasure and it is to such an end that we seek to walk circumspectly. His love in us is the only means by which we live right and walk right. Love is the only motive which is capable of pleasing Him.
“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God…”
2 Corinthians 6:4
“And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away”
“The man, I told you, is to represent to us God the Father; by which similitude he is often set out in the New Testament.
Observe then, that it is no new thing, if you find in God’s Church barren fig-tree, fruitless professors; even as here you see, is a tree, a fruitless tree, a fruitless fig-tree in the vineyard. Fruit is not so easily brought forth as a profession is got into; it is easy for a man to clothe himself with a fair show in the flesh; to word it, and say, ‘be thou warmed and filled’, with the best. It is no hard thing to do these with other things; but to be fruitful, to bring forth fruit to God, this doth not every tree, no not every fig-tree, that stands in the vineyard of God. Those words also John 15:2, ‘Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away,” assert the same thing. There are branches in Christ, in Christ’s Body mystical, (which is His Church, His Vineyard), that bear not fruit, wherefore the hand of God is to take them away: ‘I looked for grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes;’ Isa. 5:4, that is , no fruit at all that was acceptable with God. Again, Hosea 10:1 ‘Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself,’ none to God; he is without fruit to God. All these, with many more, show us the truth of the observation, and that God’s Church may be cumbered with fruitless fig-trees, with barren professors.”
– John Bunyan from his book “The Barren Fig Tree” He is also the author of one of the most popular books every written by man… Pilgrims Progress.
“You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am ….I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master…”
John 13:13, 16
“To have a master and teacher is not the same thing as being mastered and taught. Having a master and teacher means that there is someone who knows me better than I know myself, who is closer than a friend, and who understands the remotest depths of my heart and is able to satisfy them fully. It means having someone who has made me secure in the knowledge that he has met and solved all the doubts, uncertainties, and problems in my mind. To have a master and teacher is this and nothing less— “…for One is your Teacher, the Christ…” Matthew 23:8
Our Lord never takes measures to make me do what He wants. Sometimes I wish God would master and control me to make me do what He wants, but He will not. And at other times I wish He would leave me alone, and He does not.
“You call Me Teacher and Lord…”— but is He? Teacher, Master, and Lord have little place in our vocabulary. We prefer the words Savior, Sanctifier, and Healer. The only word that truly describes the experience of being mastered is love, and we know little about love as God reveals it in His Word. The way we use the word obey is proof of this. In the Bible, obedience is based on a relationship between equals; for example, that of a son with his father. Our Lord was not simply God’s servant— He was His Son. “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience…” (Hebrews 5:8). If we are consciously aware that we are being mastered, that idea itself is proof that we have no master. If that is our attitude toward Jesus, we are far away from having the relationship He wants with us. He wants us in a relationship where He is so easily our Master and Teacher that we have no conscious awareness of it— a relationship where all we know is that we are His to obey.”
“Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God”
– Samuel Chadwick
“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake”
“For unto you it is given … to believe on him”
“It is represented here as a privilege to be permitted to believe on Christ.
(1) It is an honor to a man to believe one who ought to be believed, to trust one who ought to be trusted, to love one who ought to be loved.
(2) It is a privilege to believe on Christ, because it is by such faith that our sins are forgiven; that we become reconciled to God, and have the hope of heaven”
“But also to suffer for his sake”
“Here it is represented as a privilege to suffer in the cause of the Redeemer – a declaration which may sound strange to the world. Yet this sentiment frequently occurs in the New Testament. Thus, it is said of the apostles Act 5:41, that “they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” Col 1:24. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you” 1Pe 4:13. “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings” compare Jas 1:2; Mar 10:30; see the notes at Act 5:41. It is a privilege thus to suffer in the cause of Christ”
– Albert Barnes
“If you put something fragrant on to burning coals, you motivate those who approach to come back again and to stay near, but if instead you put on something with an unpleasant, oppressive smell, you repel them and drive them away. It is the same with the mind. If your attention is occupied with what is holy, you make yourself worthy of being visited by God, since this is the sweet savour which God catches scent of. On the other hand, if you nurture evil, foul and earthly thoughts within you, you remove yourself from God’s supervision and unfortunately make yourself worthy of His aversion.”
– St. Gregory Palamas
(Quoted from Dover Beach Blog)
“We are taught in an especial manner to pray that God would give his Holy Spirit unto us, that through his aid and assistance we may live unto God in that holy obedience which he requires at our hands”
— John Owen
“We are told of three degrees of spiritual knowledge which for us, are the true content of the Divine Wisdom.
There is the knowledge of God Himself in Christ, thus Paul prays ‘that I may know Him’. For Paul this is the excellency of knowledge, compared with which all else is as the refuse of the field.
There is the knowledge of God’s Will; thus Paul says ‘We do not cease to pray for you that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His Will.’
There is the knowledge of His Gifts; thus Paul writes ‘We have received the Spirit which is of God, that ye might know the things that are freely given us of God.’
It is in this knowledge that Christ Jesus is made unto us Wisdom. It will make fools of us before the world, but we can be quiet in the assurance that the wisdom of God shall at the last be justified in all of her children. – Geoffrey T. Bull
“That I might know Him”
This is the cry of every true believer. May we grow in the full knowledge of Himself, His Will and to be faithful stewards of His unmerited gifts.