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Consider Your Ways – J.C.Ryle. Part 7


Ryle now reminds us that in our Christian walk, excuses will not do. Let us consider our ways, and consider God’s grace, and serve Him as we ought.

And let us beware of excuses. Reasons will never be lacking in our minds why we cannot be bright and eminent Christians just now. It is very possible to admire a high standard of spirituality in others, while we are content with very low practice in ourselves. We persuade ourselves there is something peculiar in our particular case, which makes it almost impossible to shine. But let all excuses be received, like Babylonian ambassadors, with great suspicion. They are generally the devil’s coinage. Let us settle it firmly in our hearts, that there are few of us indeed who cannot glorify God just where we are without any change. All our excuses are as dust in the balance, when placed against that promise, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Let us not deceive ourselves. By the grace of God we may be bright saints even now.

* Let us not say, “We have bad health.” Remember the apostle Paul- he had a thorn in the flesh- some never ceasing ailment probably, and yet it seemed a spur rather than a hindrance to his soul.

* Let us not say, “We have many trials.” Remember Job- wave upon wave came rolling over him, and yet his faith did not give way- and the record of his patience is on high.

* Let us not say, “We have families and children to make us anxious and keep us back.” Remember David- none was ever so tried at home as he was, yet he was a man after God’s own heart.

* Let us not say, “We have much distracting business to attend on.” Remember Daniel- he had far more affairs on his hands, probably, than any of us, yet he found time to pray three times a day, and was a proverb for godliness.

* Let us not say, “I stand alone, the times are evil, and none around me serve God.” Remember Noah- the whole world was against him, yet he did not give way. By faith he held fast.

* Let us not say, “We live in families where God is not thought of.” Remember Obadiah in Ahab’s house, and Nero’s servants at Rome. What are our difficulties compared with theirs?

* Let us not say, “We are poor and unlearned.” Remember Peter and John. They were as poor and unlearned as any of us, yet they were pillars of the early Church; they were of the number of those who turned the world upside down.

No! Brethren, such excuses for not being more holy will never do, while grace may be had. Let us say rather, “We are slothful, and take no trouble- we are unbelieving, and make no bold attempt- we are worldly, and our eyes are too dim to see the beauty of holiness- we are proud, and we cannot humble ourselves to take pains.” Let us say this, and we shall more likely speak the truth.

There are always ways in which we may glorify God- there are passive graces as well as active graces. But the way of the slothful is always a hedge of thorns. The wall of Jerusalem was soon built when the Jews had “a mind to work.” We complain of the devil, but there is no devil after all like our own hearts! We have not grace because we do not ask it. The fault is all our own.

From → Encouragement

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