I am of the opinion that we should not be concerned about working for God until we have learned the meaning and the delight of worshiping Him. A worshiper can work with eternal quality in his work. But a worker who does not worship is only piling up wood, hay and stubble for the time when God sets the world on fire. I fear that there are many professing Christians who do not want to hear such statements about their “busy schedule,” but it is the truth. God is trying to call us back to that for which He created us—to worship Him and to enjoy Him forever! It is then, out of our deep worship, that we do His work.
—A. W. Tozer
Whatever Happened to Worship? (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2006), 12.
To lead a discouraged people to the Holy War is as difficult as for Xerxes’ commanders to conduct the Persian troops to battle against the Greeks, The vassals of the great king were driven to the conflict by whips and sticks, for they were afraid to fight: do you wonder that they were defeated? A Church that needs constant exhorting and compelling accomplishes nothing.
The Greeks had no need of blows and threats, for each man was a lion, and courted the encounter, however great the odds against him. Each Spartan fought con amore (with love); he was never more at home than when contending for the altars and for the hearths of his country.
We want Christian men of this same sort, who have faith in their principles, faith in the doctrines of grace, faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and who therefore contend earnestly for the faith in these days when piety is mocked at from the pulpit, and the gospel is sneered at by professional preachers. We need men who love the truth, to whom it is dear as their lives; men into whose hearts the old doctrine is burned by the hand of God’s Spirit through a deep experience of its necessity and of its power. We need no more of those who will parrot what they are taught, but we want men who will speak what they know. Oh, for a troop of men like John Knox, heroes of the martyr and covenanter stock! Then would Jehovah of hosts have a people to serve Him who would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
—Charles H. Spurgeon,
The Metropolitan Tabernacle, (Banner of Truth Trust, 1876), Hag 2:4–5.
Why are we in this pursuit alone to expect knowledge without inquiry, and success without endeavour?
The whole analogy of nature inculcates a different lesson; and our own judgments in matters of temporal interest and worldly policy confirm the truth of her suggestions.
Bountiful as is the hand of Providence, its gifts are not so bestowed as to seduce us into indolence; but to rouse us to exertion.
No one expects to attain to the height of learning, or arts, or power, or wealth, or military glory, without vigorous resolution, and strenuous diligence, and steady perseverance. Yet we expect to be Christians without labour, study, or inquiry.
This is the more preposterous, because Christianity, being a revelation from God, and not the invention of man, discovering to us new relations, with their correspondent duties; containing also doctrines, motives, and precepts, peculiar to itself; we cannot reasonably expect to become proficients in it by the accidental intercourses of life, as one might learn insensibly the maxims of worldly policy, or a scheme of mere morals.
A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians (London: T. Cadell, 1830), 10.
The divine assistance which Christians have in their work alleviates the labor of it.
Consider the Christian’s work without this help. It is heavy indeed, yes, too heavy to stand under. But God’s helping hand put to it makes this heavy work light. The ship, which when lying on ground, all the teams in the country could not draw off, how easily is it set afloat when the tide comes in?
Thus the heart can rise out of its dullness and indisposition to duty. Oh how soon is it elevated and inspired when God flows in with His secret aspirations and excitations of His blessed Spirit and grace!
He who confessed that he could do nothing of himself, not so much as think a good thought, tells us that he is able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him.
Now this help from the Lord is promised, but it comes not till the Christian’s hand is put to work.
Let us be up and doing, and then God will not fail to be with us. It is easy working while God holds our hand, yes, and puts strength into it. Are you tempted? While you are fighting in the valley below, Christ’s hands are lifted up in heaven above for your victory. “I have prayed that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:32); yes, He does not only pray above for you, but will be in the field with you, and in you, by the secret succors of His Spirit. “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12:9), which is not meant of grace inherent in us, that indeed is insufficient of itself, but the auxiliary grace, which He sends in to assist us in a time of need.