I wake up some mornings and feel overwhelmed before I even get out of bed. Ministry challenges, relational concerns, personal weaknesses, past failures and future tests swirl through my mind, causing me to doubt myself and fear the day.
Time and again, Iâ€™ve found encouragement and hope by crawling out of bed, tip-toeing to my favorite reading chair, and seeking counsel from my old friend, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Though he has been dead for over a century, he still speaks to me through his marvelous writings â€¦ especially on gloomy mornings.
What I especially love about Spurgeon is his intense focus on God, which sweeps away my doubts and fears and renews my desire to engage life and love the people around me.
Here is a sample of the encouragement he has offered to me over and over. It is taken from his superb devotional book, Morning and Evening (January 12).
â€œYe are Christâ€™sâ€ (1 Cor. 3:23). You are his by donation, for the Father gave you to the Son; his by his bloody purchase, for he counted down the price for your redemption; his by dedication, for you have consecrated yourself to him; his by relation, for you are named by his name, and made one of his brethren and joint-heirs.
Labor practically to show the world that you are the servant, the friend, the bride of Jesus. When tempted to sin, reply, â€œI cannot do this great wickedness, for I am Christâ€™s.â€ Immortal principles forbid the friend of Christ to sin. When wealth is before you to be won by sin, say that you are Christâ€™s, and touch it not.
Are you exposed to difficulties and dangers? Stand fast in the evil day, remembering that you are Christâ€™s. Are you placed where others are sitting down idly, doing nothing? Rise to the work with all your powers; and when the sweat stands upon your brow, and you are tempted to loiter, cry, â€œNo, I cannot stop, for I am Christâ€™s.
When the siren song of pleasure would tempt you from the path of right, reply, â€œThy music cannot charm me; I am Christâ€™s.â€ When the cause of God invites thee, give thy goods and thyself away, for thou art Christâ€™s.
Never belie thy profession. Be thou ever one of those whose manners are Christian, whose speech is like the Nazarene, whose conduct and conversation are so redolent of heaven, that all who see you may know that you are the Saviourâ€™s, recognizing in you his features of love and his countenance of holiness.
â€œI am a Roman!â€ was of old a reason for integrity; far more, then, let it be your argument for holiness, â€œI am Christâ€™s!â€
Do you have days when you are discouraged, bitter, fearful, envious, lazy or unforgiving? If so, repeat, with Spurgeon, these powerful words, â€œI am Christâ€™s!â€
Let your identity in Christ sweep away your doubts and slay your temptations. Let it inspire your worship and fuel your relationships. Let it pull you from your bed and catapult you into your day, ready for its challenges and filled with faith, hope, and love.
And by the way, if youâ€™ve never spent time with Spurgeon before, I encourage you to buy a copy of Morning and Evening, or download it to your smart phone or tablet, and spend a little time every morning with this dear brother in Christ.
– Ken Sande
- Read the devotional above out loud, either to yourself or to your family, emphasizing the words, “I am Christ’s!” How does that impact you? If it doesn’t fill you with joy and confidence, you’re not getting it!
- What discouragement or temptation are you wrestling with today? How does remembering that you are Christ’s put things in a different perspective?
- How does remembering that you are Christ’s impact your view of yourself? Of your gifts and talents? Of your weaknesses and failures? Of your duties and calling as a Christian?
- How does remembering that your are Christ’s change how you view and engage the people around you?
- If you don’t already have a good morning devotional, give Morning and Evening a try. You’ll be amazed at how Spurgeon’s insights will strengthen your relationship with God and with other people.
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.
Â© 2014 Ken Sande
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