… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked for us, fixing our eyes on JESUS… (Hebrew 12:1-2)
In the midst of a world stumbling, when confinements, new regulations change all the times, when daily life’s decor is rapidly changing in Nice, when threats on our freedoms bring confusion, fear can easily grip our hearts. The work of the enemy seems to be succeeding so well. So what do we do as we are watching our lives being strangled little by little?
We fixed our eyes on JESUS our great Savior, Redeemer, promise Keeper!
And as the stench of sorrow tries to permeate our daily life, spring adorns trees and bushes around us. The sun warms up our aching hearts, flowers enchant us with their fragrances, the Mediterranean sea wears her blue dress and new hope comes, even though we continue to roam masked, day after day.
As we continue to share the Gospel of Jesus in the streets, we see all kind of reactions. But there is more fear and anger. We do not see yet a marked opening of the hearts and we cry out to our God for encouragement, direction, power from Above to give a thirst for the Truth to the land of France.
So we went fasting, praying, seeking God’s face more than ever. Reading also some literature, drawing spiritual help from the great saints of the past. It has been such a blessed time! God has shown me the importance of my prayer time — and — to proclaim courageously and faithfully the whole Gospel, not withdrawing from presenting the sinners with the bad news of their destiny without the Savior. (As John Henry Newman pointed so well: It is easier to apply the medicine after you have convinced the patient of his need)
With Charles Simeon, God showed me about having the Gospel going forth with clarity and power. To stay with the job in spite of opposition. He was such an example of disciplined prayer and study, inspiring me, as he spent the first 4 hours of everyday with God and he grew so much because of it.
Andrew Bonar realized that he worked more than he prayed, that he did not see that prayer should be the main business of everyday. “God likes to see His people shut up for this, that there is no hope but in prayer. Herein lies the Church’s power against the world.”
Robert McCheynes discovered also that too many ministers neglect their daily devotional time or hurry through it so they can get involved in “more important matters.” He withdrew himself in total dependence upon the Lord. He was very concerned of the honor of Christ in the salvation of souls, personal holiness and to speak of hell with much tenderness.
Christmas Evans cry is ours too: “Help me to wait silently and patiently upon Thee for the fulfilment of these things. … Sustain my heart from sinking, to wait for fresh strength from Zion.” and God gave him a new experience of faith and power even though the enemy opposed the preaching of the Word. Deaf to slanders of his enemies and blind to obstacles around him, he courageously and sacrificially carried the Gospel throughout the land and many found salvation because of his ministry.
So it is with much more balance that I approach my duty, asking myself pointed questions about how to present the Gospel better and better. The questions from J. H. Newman are inspiring:
“Am I a faithful physician of the soul? Am I preaching to the conscience? Am I faithful to declare the TRUTH, not simply my “clever ideas” about Truth? Do I offer Christ as the only Redeemer? Do I get beneath the surface and help my hearers where they need it the most?”
And to close, John Charles Ryle tell us: “Woe to me if I preach not the Gospel!” “Whenever it is faithfully preached and efficiently carried out and constantly adorned by the lives of its professors, it is the power of GOD! We have the Truth and we need not to be afraid to say so.”
HE THAT WINS SOULS IS WISE (Proverbs 11:30)