O Soul, your constraints and disadvantages are exactly those circumstances that God desires to use for his purpose and glory. His strength in your weakness. The unbound Word in your imprisonment. His comfort in your troubles. For every negative circumstance or situation, as man counts it, God has a positive response, according to his will. This is the way he works. Glory, therefore, in his plan.
O Soul, few books stay in print for more than a decade. Some reference works, perhaps, or something considered as a classic of literature. The monuments of men may last longer, but they too will come tumbling down at some point. The accomplishments of this world are soon forgotten or surpassed. The gospel, however, has eternal effect. It deserves your best effort. Insert it into every activity, in order to redeem and give meaning to all you do. What the world does lasts but a moment. You may perform the same action as the pagan, but with the gospel in your toolbox, the results are far superior. So write, build, work, speak always with its power behind you.
Be a friend, O Soul, to others in need. When you are in need, ask God to send a friend. Remember the parable of the good Samaritan. Friendship means help and encouragement. Make friends in good times so that you can be there for each other in the tough times. Be open, be willing to work at a relationship, take time, face to face, with others. Don’t dwell on people’s faults, but be honest, when needed, to help a friend grow. Don’t listen to a friend to do wrong, but strengthen one another in the practice of godliness. Speak to your friend about God, and speak to God about your friend.
Observe your words and actions, to learn and to compare with God’s word. Discover how they affect others. Notice whether or not they move people closer to God. Look hard at yourself, O Soul. Be truthful and do not avoid seeing harmful habits. Recognize the good you do. Be thankful for progress. Be thirsty for greater growth. Step closer to the perfection of Christ. Inch further toward the holiness of God. Open yourself to the Spirit’s discipline. Pray to become a servant more attentive to God, more useful to the Kingdom, glorifying by growth the name of Jesus Christ.
A man called Lawrence wrote centuries ago, “If I were a preacher, I would preach nothing but practicing the presence of God.” You, O Soul, are a preacher, an evangelist, an announcer of the Good News, whether or not you devote full time to this service. And to live in the presence of God ought to be the end of our speaking. Every subject you talk about should relate to entering into Christ, where the presence of God is, or how to remain in Christ. Tell people how to get there. Tell them how to stay there. The salvation of our soul has this as the goal. God offers forgiveness of sins so that we might receive the Holy Spirit. Holiness is practiced in order that we might see God. Always remember this final objective. In your own life and in your service of the Good News, never forget the great goal of life, God’s presence.
Consistency carries you to your goal. Identify what you must do as a child of God and do the same thing every day. You must, of course, grow in those habits and practices. Strive for maturity. Seek new challenges of faith. But the key to your spiritual success is the constant practice of faith. Never think that you can skip a day. Refuse to consider that this time it won’t matter. Don’t be content when you miss your daily dedication to the Lord, but feel deep sadness. Repent when it occurs, for today offers yet another opportunity. But know that your progress comes through the small steps of daily faith. One step at a time, O Soul!
Keep coming back to the Word all throughout the day. Don’t let it be something to check off your list and then forget about. Make it your meditation night and day. Think about it all the time. O Soul, the Scriptures are your life. In them you will find life. For in them you will find Christ. Let yourself be drawn into the Word constantly. Let conversations and events remind you of its truths. Other things in this world will leave you addicted, creating a need to constantly seek them out. What you really need is the Bible. It will free you. And in that freedom you will find nourishment in its pages. It will give you joy to return to it repeatedly. For it will carry you into God’s presence. This is where you were created to be. This is where every longing and desire has its true satisfaction.
O Soul, welcome peace into your heart. With Christ comes unassailable peace. When he lives within you, he brings such peace as the world does not know. Sufferings cannot budge it. Circumstances are unable to quench it. Rocky relationships have no power to dislodge it. On the contrary, from your peace, you can face all these and bring them to resolution. You agonize over the prevailing sin and the sharp conflicts that reign among men. All this drives your peace outward, to be shared. Your peace desires to envelop every soul with the life of Christ, that all may know him and what he offers. So cultivate his peace within you. Take time with your Lord. Listen to his comforting Word. Cooperate with his Spirit. Know God, and go in peace.
Do not fear to speak truth to those outside of Christ, and to those who need encouragement and correction in the Body. O Soul, you need to hear words of comfort, love, and exhortation. Those around you need them, too. Let your love for souls be known. Make compassion the spring of your speech and actions. Keep saving grace your focus, and eternal salvation your goal, for you and for all. Want heaven for yourself and others. Speak of it at all times. Nothing else matters, really. If you lose this, all is lost. So many depend on you to hear the gospel as well. If you don’t speak, they will have no hope. Yes, the responsibility is great, and the rewards are even greater.
Never let down your guard against the possibility of losing your salvation. Satan refuses to give up his efforts against you. The world exerts a constant pull toward its attractions. The flesh calls at every turn. Rest in God’s peace and power, but do not relax in the war against temptation. Be vigilant. Be aware of the dangers that surround you. O Soul, do all that is necessary to preserve that most precious gift from God.