Posted by Jerry White on Sep 17, 2012
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
“What does it take to finish well? How can we run in such a way that we can say with Paul, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith’ (2 Timothy 4:7; Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians (: 24:27)? A number of observers have considered the characteristics of people who ‘run with endurance the race that is set before [them]’ (Hebrews 12:1). I have arrived at a set of seven such characteristics:
1. Intimacy with Christ
2. Fidelity in the spiritual disciplines
3. A biblical perspective on the circumstances of life
4. A teachable, responsive, humble, and obedient spirit
5. A clear sense of personal purpose and calling
6. Healthy relationships with resourceful people
7. Ongoing ministry investment in the lives of others
The seven key words are intimacy, disciplines, perspective, teachable, purpose, relationships, and ministry, and it is important to note that these characteristics move from the inside to the outside. The first two concern our vertical relationship with God (being), and the next three concern our personal thinking and orientation (knowing), and the last two concern our horizontal relationships with others (doing).”
Conformed to His Image, 451
Sadly, the history of Christianity is strewn with pilgrims who did not finish well. They began well, but due to the neglect of basic spiritual disciplines and falling away in their love for the Lord Jesus they faltered in their devotion to Christ and shamed His name by sinful failure. How full of joy and expectation are those who run their race well until they cross the finish line. What peace they enjoy and what anticipation they have for the reward that will be theirs before the Lord’s judgment throne! Faithful to the very end! Amen!
Posted by Jerry White on Apr 26, 2012
“Only two things on earth will go into eternity—God’s Word and people. God has placed us here to grow in Christ and to reproduce the life of Christ in others. Each of us has specific opportunities to do this in our own spheres of influence, and as we abide in Christ and let his words abide in us, we will bear lasting fruit (John 15:7-8), and the living God will confirm the work of our hands.
The great saints through the ages learned the wisdom of having only two days on their calendars: today and that day (the day they would be with the Lord). If we want a heart of wisdom, we should learn to live each day in light of that day. When we daily remind ourselves of the purpose for our sojourn on earth, we will cultivate an eternal perspective that influences all our work and all our relationships. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul summarized the vision that determined the course of his life: ‘Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’”
Conformed to His Image, 210
Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
C. T. Studd
Posted by Jerry White on Nov 10, 2011
“Just as there is a continuity between earthly and heavenly relationships with the people of God, so those who cultivate a growing appetite for the experiential knowledge of God in this life will presumably know him better in the next life than those who kept God in the periphery of their earthly interests. As A. W. Tozer put it, ‘Every Christian will become at last what his desires have made him. We are the sum total of our hungers. The great saints have all had thirsting hearts. Their cry has been, ‘My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?’ Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent Christians look with languid eye and entertain no hope of reaching.’ I can conceive of nothing more significant and compelling than the beatific vision of the living God, and if our capacity for this vision relates to faithfulness in this life, every other concern should pale in comparison.”
Conformed to His Image, 140
My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
Isaiah 26:9 (ESV)
A story has been told of two men crossing the desert in the black of night. Suddenly a voice spoke, “Stop and fill your containers with what your hands find on the ground.” Reluctantly, because of weariness from their long journey, they obeyed the unknown voice even though they could not see in the dark what they were picking up. They continued their journey, and when daybreak came they looked into their containers to discover with amazement they had picked up diamonds. They had both gladness and regret—glad that they had obeyed the voice in the dark of night and regretful they had not enthusiastically gathered more. The Lord promises to reward those who seek Him now with all their heart. Those who do so on earth will be glad they did when in the light of the new day they see what they gathered by faith and not by sight. Those who do not diligently seek Him now will regret it in that day when they see what they missed that will affect their whole eternity. Now—today— is the time to lay up treasure in heaven.
Posted by Jerry White on May 23, 2010
“The common drudgery of daily life can be a divine calling. We often speak of a young man as ‘being called to the ministry,’ but it is as fitting to speak of a carpenter being called to the workbench, the blacksmith to the forge, and the shoemaker to his wooden or metal form of a foot. ‘Brethren,’ said the apostle, ‘let each one remain with God in that calling in which he was called’ (1 Cor. 7:24).
Remember that your life has been appointed by God’s wise providence. God as much sent Joseph to the drudgery and discipline of the prison as to the glory and responsibility of the palace. Nothing happens to us that is not included in His plan for us, and incidents that seem most tiresome are often designed to give us opportunities to become nobler, stronger characters.
We are called to be faithful in performing our assigned duties. Not brilliance, not success, not notoriety, but the regular, quiet, and careful performance of trivial and common duties. Faithfulness in that which is least is as great an attainment in God’s sight as in the greatest.
Take up your work, then, you who seem to be nobodies, those tireless and faithful servants who draw little attention. Do it with a brave heart, looking up to Him who for many years toiled at the carpenter’s bench. Do everything as in His presence and to win His approval, Look for opportunities to cheer your fellow workers. Do not complain or grumble, but let your heart rise from your toil to God—your maker, Savior and friend.”
F. B. Meyer (1847-1929)
The Best of F. B. Meyer, 81-82
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
Whatever the Lord Jesus has you doing is a holy assignment. Washing dirty feet was the lowest slave’s job, but when the Lord Jesus did it, this simple humble service became a holy act. The lowest menial work can be a holy act of worship from your heart. Do it for His approval alone. Do it with joy—just for His smile.