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Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. — Ps 55:22
Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it a measure of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care, is earnestly inculcated by our Savior, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving sin—for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into His place to do for Him that which He has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that, which we imagine He will forget. We labor to take upon ourselves our weary burden—as if He were unable or unwilling to take it for us!
Now this disobedience to His plain precept, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption in intruding upon His province—is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our Counselor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the “broken cistern” instead of to the “fountain;” a sin which was laid against Israel of old.
Anxiety makes us doubt God’s loving-kindness and thus our love to Him grows cold. We feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God—so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus, this lack of confidence in God, leads us to wander far from Him. But if through simple faith in His promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon Him, and “don’t worry about anything” because He undertakes to care for us—it will keep us close to Him, and strengthen us against much temptation. “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You!”
Continue in the faith. — Acts 14:22
Perseverance is the badge of true believers. The Christian life is not only a beginning in the ways of God but also a continuance in holiness as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon—he said, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” So, under God, dear brother in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, “Excelsior!” He alone is a true conqueror, and shall be crowned at the last, who continues until war’s trumpet is blown no more.
Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies.
The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair.
The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory, “It is weary work being a pilgrim—give it up. Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a furlough from this constant warfare.”
Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service—he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you need rest. He will endeavor to make you weary of suffering, he will whisper, “Curse God, and die!” Or he will attack your steadfastness, “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as do others, and let your lamp go out as the other virgins do.” Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments, “Why do you hold to these doctrines? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks—fall in with the times.”
Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armor, and cry mightily unto God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end.