A spiritually minded man will never come to you with the demand---"Believe this and that;" but "with the demand" that you square your life with the standards of Jesus. We're not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One Whom the Bible reveals (cf. John 5:39-40). We're called to present liberty of conscience, not liberty of view. If we're free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty---the liberty of realizing the dominance of Jesus Christ.
Let's always keep our life measured by the standards of Jesus. Let's "bow your neck to His yoke" alone, and to no other yoke whatever; and let's be careful to see that we never bind a yoke on others that's not placed by Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do, they must be wrong. That's never God's view. There's only one liberty, the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what's right.
Let's not get impatient, let's remember how God dealt with us---with patience and with gentleness; but let's never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples," not "make converts to our opinions."
Our Space of Time
"All the days of my appointed time will I wait."
A little stay on earth will make heaven more heavenly. Nothing makes rest so sweet as toil; nothing renders security so pleasant as exposure to alarms. The bitter quassia cups of earth will give a relish to the new wine which sparkles in the golden bowls of glory. Our battered armour and scarred countenances will render more illustrious our victory above, when we're welcomed to the seats of those who have overcome the world. We shouldn't have full fellowship with Christ if we didn't for awhile sojourn below, for He was baptized with a baptism of suffering among men, and we must be baptized with the same if we would share his kingdom. Fellowship with Christ is so honourable that the sorest sorrow is a light price by which to procure it. Another reason for our lingering here is for the good of others. We would not wish to enter heaven till our work is done, and it may be that we're yet ordained to minister light to souls benighted in the wilderness of sin. Our prolonged stay here is doubtless for God's glory. A tried saint, like a well-cut diamond, glitters much in the King's crown. Nothing reflects so much honour on a workman as a protracted and severe trial of his work, and its triumphant endurance of the ordeal without giving way in any part. We're God's workmanship, in whom He will be glorified by our afflictions. It's for the honour of Jesus that we endure the trial of our faith with sacred joy. Let each of us surrender our own longings to the glory of Jesus, and feel, "If my lying in the dust would elevate my Lord by so much as an inch, let me still lie among the pots of earth. If to live on earth for ever would make my Lord more glorious, it should be my heaven to be shut out of heaven." Our time is fixed and settled by eternal decree. Let's not be anxious about it, but wait with patience till "the gates of pearl" shall open.
Knowing Him Clearly!
"He that was healed wist not who it was."
Years are short to "the happy and healthy"; but thirty-eight years of disease must have dragged a very weary length along the life of the poor impotent man. When Jesus, therefore, healed him by a word, while he lay at the pool of Bethesda, he was delightfully aware of the change. Even so, the sinner who's for weeks and months been paralyzed with despair, and has wearily sighed for salvation, is very conscious of the change when the Lord Jesus speaks the word of power, and gives joy and peace in believing. The evil removed is too great to be removed without our discerning it; the life imparted is too remarkable to be possessed and remain inoperative; and the change wrought is too marvellous not to be perceived. Yet the poor man was ignorant of the author of his cure; he knew not the sacredness of His person, the offices which he sustained, or the errand which brought Him among men. Much ignorance of Jesus may remain in hearts which yet feel the power of His blood. We must not hastily condemn men for lack of knowledge; but where we can see the faith which saves the soul, we must believe that salvation has been bestowed. The Holy Spirit makes men penitents long before He makes them divines; and he who believes what he knows, shall soon know more clearly what he believes. Ignorance is, however, "an evil"; for this poor man was much tantalized by the Pharisees, and was quite unable to cope with them. It's good to be able to answer gainsayers; but we can't do so if we know not the Lord Jesus clearly and with understanding. The cure of his ignorance, however, soon followed the cure of his infirmity, for he was visited by the Lord in the temple; and after that gracious manifestation, he was found testifying that "it was Jesus who had made him whole." Lord, if you have saved us, show us Thyself, that we may declare Thee to the sons of men!