Monday, September 15, 2008

Wisdom and Encouragement from Wilberforce

We are called to fix our gaze on Jesus, the originator and the One who brings all things to completion, who endured the shame and suffering of the cross for the greater goal of the joy the Father offered (see Heb. 12:2). We look beyond the suffering of the cross to the glory Jesus now enjoys, having once again taken His place in the presence of the Father. There in His glory, His concern is ever for our progress in our relationship with Him. Hebrews even tells us that He always intercedes on our behalf before the Father (see 7:25). When we recall these truths, our hearts are refreshed and our spirits revived. When life is tough, we look beyond the seen to find our courage in the things that are unseen. When our faith is firm, danger, opposition and outright attack do not control our response. We live by faith. The worst the world throws at us can become the instrument by which, when the vessel is broken, the fragrant aroma of Christ is released. It is amazing that it is often in the darkest moments of our lives that the light of Christ shines the brightest.

Of course, it is all too rare that these are our actual responses to the difficulties life in a fallen world brings our way. Too often, it is the emotions of grief and confusion that surface during these times. Our response feels like a failure to reveal Christ and His reality in our lives.

When this happens, don't linger too long in your self-pity. Instead, get back in the action by getting on with God's business. Keep a close watch on your heart. Don't get entangled in immorality. Do the next indicated thing God seems to be leading you to do. Attempt to be an imitator of Christ in your behavior. His goal was always to do the will of the Father. Yours should be the same. Do justice. Show mercy. Be about the Father's business. Guard against the attacks of the enemy. Live like those who are eagerly waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Take inventory of how you are using your time, talents, and resources. Live like you love Jesus! Do it with more gusto than the people of this age pursue fame, fortune, and power.

- William Wilberforce, Real Christianity

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