I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air—1 Cor. 9: 26.
It will be found a great help to the weaknesses of the fallen nature to have understandingly made a full consecration of the will, a full enlistment of every power and talent of mind and of body. He who takes this proper view of his consecration to the Lord and enlistment in the Lord's army, realizes that he has nothing more to give to the Lord, and hence, whatever struggle of the will he may have is all ended when he has finally decided: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." How important it is, therefore, that all the soldiers realize that the term of the enlistment is until death, and that there is no room for even considering any suggestion to withdraw from the battle and cease even for an hour to fight the good fight of faith.
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In order successfully to prosecute the Christian life, knowledge of the things to be done and the constant appreciation and keeping of the end in view, are indispensable. As nonsensical as it would be for people to expect a reward for a race whose conditions and course they did not know or follow, so nonsensical would it be for people to expect to receive the Kingdom reward promised with Christ, if they do not know and observe the conditions under which, and the purpose for which it is offered, as well as the course to run.
Parallel passages: 2Chron. 20: 15, 17; Psa. 19: 5; Eccles. 9: 11; 1Cor. 9: 24-27; Gal. 5: 7; Phil. 2: 16; 3: 14, 15; Heb. 6: 20; 12: 1, 2; Eph. 6: 11, 17; 1Cor. 16: 13; 2Tim. 2: 3,4; 4: 7; Heb. 12: 10; 10: 32; 11: 34; 1Tim. 6: 12.
Questions: Have I this week been definite and purposeful in my Christian race and warfare? Why? How? In what circumstances? With what results?
NEARING THE GOAL
WITH eyes aflame, with panting breath, they come,—
The runners,—every nerve and muscle tense,—
Urged forward by a thousand deafening cries,
On, on, they rush, when one, close to the goal,
For but one moment glances back in pride
To note how far he hath outrun the rest.
Alas! tripped by a pebble on the course,
He stumbles, falls, arises, but too late,—
Another sweeps ahead with blood-flecked lips
And bursting heart! One final, awful strain,
With superhuman effort, grand, supreme,
He leaps into the air,—and falls in death
Across the line,—a victor, but at what
A fearful cost!—he gave his life, his all!
I ponder o'er this tragedy of days
When Greece was mistress of the world, and say,
"Hast not thou also entered on a race,
My soul, in contest for a 'Crown of Life,'
A prize thou canst not win except thine all
Thou givest! Then, be wise, and watch and pray,
Turn not thine eyes one instant from 'the mark.'
For fear thou dash thy foot against some small,
Well-rounded truth, which in thy pride thou hast
O'erlooked, and thus thou stumble, fall, and though
Thou shouldst arise, 'twould be too late to win!"
"Ah, then, consider thy 'forerunner,' Christ,
Yea, call to mind the 'cloud of witnesses'
Around,—those noble, faithful ones of old,—
And strip thyself, my soul, of every weight;
Gird up thy loins, make straight paths for thy feet;
Breathe deeply of the Spirit's conquering power,
And run with patient, meek, enduring zeal!
Almost thou hast attained, my soul, my soul!
Shall angels, principalities, or powers,
Or height, or depth, or other creature, draw
Thee from the goal so near? Ah! Yes, so near,
The glory-light streams through the parting veil;
Have faith, press on, one effort, grand, supreme,—
And thou hast won in death Love's blood-bought crown!"
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