The Best Remedy Against the Fear of Man

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! – Luke 12:4-5

One thing that demands our attention in these verses, is Christ’s warning against the fear of man. “Do not be afraid,” He says, “of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.”

But He not only tells us whom we ought not to fear–but of whom we ought to be afraid. “Fear Him,” Jesus says, “Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” The manner in which the lesson is conveyed is very striking and impressive. Twice over the exhortation is enforced. “Fear Him!” says our Lord. “Yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

The fear of man is one of the greatest obstacles which stand between the soul and Heaven. “What will others say of me? What will they think of me? What will others do to me?” How often these little questions have turned the balance against the soul, and kept men bound hand and foot by sin and the devil! Thousands would never hesitate a moment to storm a breach–who dare not face the laughter of relatives, neighbors and friends.

Now if the fear of man has such influence in these times–then how much greater must its influence have been in the days when our Lord was upon earth! If it is hard to follow Christ through ridicule and scornful words–then how much harder must it have been to follow Him through prisons, beatings, scourgings, and violent deaths! All these things our Lord Jesus knew well. No wonder that He cries, “Do not be afraid!”

What is the best remedy against the fear of man? How are we to overcome this powerful feeling, and break the chains which it throws around us? There is no remedy like that which our Lord recommends. We must supplant the fear of man by a higher and more powerful principle–the fear of God. We must look away from those who can only hurt the body–to Him who has all dominion over the soul. We must turn our eyes from those who can only injure us in the life that now is–to Him who can condemn us to eternal misery in the life to come. Armed with this mighty principle, we shall not play the coward. Seeing Him that is invisible–we shall find the lesser fear melting away before the greater, and the weaker fear before the stronger.

“I fear God,” said Colonel Gardiner, “and therefore there is no one else that I need fear.” It was a noble saying of martyred Bishop Hooper, when a Roman Catholic urged him to save his life by recanting at the stake, “Life is sweet and death is bitter. But eternal life is more sweet–and eternal death is more bitter!”

– J. C. Ryle, 1816-1900, The Gospel of Luke

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Published in: on November 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Light Thoughts of Sin

“Sin… exceeding sinful.” — Romans 7:13

Beware of light thoughts of sin. At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear lest they should offend against God. But alas! very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world: the sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding. It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him does not alarm him in the least. By degrees men get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, “Is it not a little one?” Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a little ill; and  then follows an unholy presumption: “We have not fallen into open sin. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it has been consistent.” So we palliate sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names. Christian, beware how you think lightly of sin. Take heed lest thou fall by little and little. Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison? Who knows its deadliness? Sin, a little thing? Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes? Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual drippings wear away stones? Sin, a little thing? It girded the Redeemer’s head with thorns, and pierced His heart! It made Him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe. Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Savior, and you will see it to be “exceeding sinful.”

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892, Morning and Evening, March 11, (Morning)

The Will of God

The doing of God’s will is always a great thing—whether it is something that affects the welfare of a nation, or something that concerns only the good or the comfort of the lowliest of Christ’s little ones.

There is a legend of an angel who was sent to earth to keep a king from sinning; and also to help a little struggling ant home with its burden. Both tasks were alike noble, because both were God’s will.

In a great painting by one of the masters—there is a kitchen in which angels are doing their work. One is putting the kettle on the fire, one is lifting a pail of water, one is reaching up after a plate. These angels appear just as heavenly in this lowly work—as if they were doing Divine errands around God’s throne!

We need to learn the lesson: that anything that is God’s will—is great; and that whatever is not God’s will—is unworthy and ignoble, though it be to sway a scepter over a nation, or being the world’s idol. Many of us have to spend most of our life—in what seems ‘drudgery’. Perhaps we think it is unworthy of us. We feel that we are capable of greater things, and should not be required to spend our time in matters so trivial, perhaps so menial. But if it is God’s will that we are doing, our drudgery, as it appears to God’s eyes, is as radiant as angel’s ministry!

– Source unknown

Some professors of religion are like the catbird!

There are very many things that may choke out love in the home. One of these is the lack of kindness. If you have grown less kind in your feelings, in your actions, and in your words–then love cannot thrive. Kindness is one of the best fertilizers for love.

There are so many people who have two sets of tones in which to speak–and two sets of manners in which they act. They have their company manners–and their family manners. When they have company–then the voice is soft and pleasant, and the manners are agreeable and kindly. They treat their friends with the greatest consideration; but as soon as their friends are gone, the pleasant voice changes into crossness or harshness and fault-finding–and the pleasantness of manner disappears! In how many homes is this true!

The greater consideration, the greater kindness–is due the home folks. Otherwise, love cannot flourish. If you wish to have love for your home folks–then you must show them the consideration that is due them.

Some professors of religion are like the catbird! When it is away from its nest–then it is one of the sweetest of the northern warblers; but when it is close to its nest–then you will hear only a harsh, discordant note. It has no sweetness in its voice while at its nest.

In the same way, some people reserve all their kindness, tenderness, and sweetness–for those outside the family circle. Is it any wonder that love dies in such a home?

“Love must be without hypocrisy.” Romans 12:9

Charles Naylor, How to Fertilize Love, 1920

 

Published in: on March 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Siamese twins

Perhaps you have the notion that repentance is a thing that happens at the commencement of the spiritual life and has to be gotten through as one undergoes a certain operation—and that is an end of it. If so, you are greatly mistaken! Repentance lives as long as faith. Towards faith I might almost call it a Siamese twin. We shall need to believe and to repent as long as we live! Perhaps, also, you have the idea that repentance is a bitter thing. It is sometimes bitter—“They shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn,” but that is not the kind of repentance that I am talking of, now. Surely that bitterness is past, it was all over long ago. But this is a sweet bitterness which attends faith as long as we live—and becomes a source of tender joy!

– C. H. Spurgeon, Repentance After Conversion, No. 2419

Looking for Blessings

Do we take the blessings that the common days bring to us? Do we extract the honey from every flower which grows by our path? Do not angels come to us unawares in homely or unattractive disguise, walk with us, talk with us, and then only become known to us when they have flown away—when their places are empty? Shall we not learn to see the goodness and the beauty in the gifts which God sends to us? Their very commonness veils their blessedness. Let us seek for the good in everything. Then, though we see it not, let us never doubt that a blessing lies hidden in every gift of God to us. Every moment brings us some blessing—even the rough hand of trial holds in its clasp, some treasure we love.

 – J. R. Miller, 1840-1912, In Green Pastures

Others May – You Cannot

 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

If God has called you to be really like Christ in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility and put on you such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others can brag on themselves, and their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

The Lord will let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hid away in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His glory, which can be produced only in the shade.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making money, but it is likely God will keep you poor because he wants you to have something far better than gold and that is a helpless dependence on Him; that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day – out of an unseen treasury.

God will let others be great, but He will keep you small. He will let others do a great work for Him and get credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when He comes.

The Holy Spirit will put strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do what He pleases with His own, and He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealing with you. He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot do or say.

Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that others are not dealt with.

Now, when you are so possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this particular, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.

– G. D. Watson, 1845-1924

Blessed are the meek

“Blessed are the meek.” Matthew 5:5

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his inferiority.

The meek man has accepted God’s estimate of himself. In himself — he is nothing. In God — he has everything. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him, and he has stopped caring!

The meek man will attain a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness, he will let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace which meekness brings.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart — and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

– A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963

Every Christian is a Missionary

Every Christian is commissioned, for every Christian is a missionary. It has been said that the Gospel is not merely something to come to come to church to hear, but something to go from the church to tell — and we are all appointed to tell it. It has also been said, ‘Christianity began as a company of lay witnesses; it has become a professional pulpitism, financed by lay spectators!’ Nowadays we hire a church staff to do ‘full-time Christian work’ and we sit in church on Sunday to watch them do it. Every Christian is meant to be in full-time Christian service…There is indeed a special ministry of pastors, teachers, and evangelists–but for what?…For the perfecting of the saints for their ministry.

– Vance Havner, 1901-1986

Appreciation Too Late

We ought not to need night—to teach us the glories of the day. We ought not to have to wait for sorrow, before we can appreciate the sweetness of joy. Yet is it not often true that we learn the value of our blessings—but by their loss? Many a time an empty chair is the first full revealer of the worth and faithfulness of a precious friend. Would it not be best, if we were to seek to appreciate our good things—while we have them? We would then have the joy itself, and not merely the dull pain of regret as we look back at vanished blessings. Besides—we would do more for our friends while they are with us—if we appreciated their worth. Too many of us never understand what we owe to our dear ones—until there remains no further opportunity of paying love’s debt.

 – J. R. Miller, 1840-1912, In Green Pastures