Look Ever to Jesus

…through faith we overcome.
 
How could it be that this ‘faith’ is our own?  No.  Go back and look again if this is your disposition.  You don’t have faith…never had it… never will, except by the grace of God.  You belong to the Devil by man’s own doing, until God makes you his own.
 
Faith is a gift… something given to us… that we don’t possess or exert or produce.  It is not that the Holy Spirit comes alongside and encourages our faith… He produces faith!!  Faith is a gift…. no boasting… no ‘free will’… God saves… period.  I know we believe this, but let’s quit with the foolishness that our decision directs the will of God.  Are we above Jesus Christ, who submitted ALWAYS to his father’s will?  Ever since you came into this world you have not had any choice but to respond in accordance with your desperately wicked heart… yes the wicked heart of a newborn…enmity with God from the womb.  Why?  Because of the curse of sin.  We do not have any ability…inclination to draw near to a Holy God.  NONE.
 
and yes… at the moment I am standing on my soapbox!  It has been a wretched day and the only hope I have is in the God who saved me.  This is not an emotional outcry… it is my clinging to the Rock that Hannah praised in her prayer in 1 Samuel as I read this morning.  God is Good.  God is SOVEREIGN (yeah, you’re hearing my emphasis) FREE… FREE.. FREE.  NOTHING in this world has ever been free, nothing.  Everything is indebted… owing.  BUT not God… He is FREE to will and act according to His good pleasure (and His pleasure is always good).  I cannot plan or perform or ordain as He does.  His way is perfect… and I don’t always like His perfection.  Difficulties… they’re difficult!  Pain is no fun.  Not knowing stuff.. is challenging at the least for a pitifully finite mind like my own.
 
The point is… again, that its all about God and He is the One worth looking to.
 
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Phil 4:8-9
 
If I’m honest and willing to think about and practice these things… I am not looking at me, what my life is like, what I’m struggling with, what kind of bad hair day I’ve had… I’m focused on, submitted to, worshipping the Holy One of Israel… the Rock that Hannah praises… the Savior and LORD who accomplished everything to reach down and save me by His unquestionable authority and power and choosing.
 
… And all this from an old hymn that was called to my attention this evening… I think it is entitled ‘Yield Not to Temptation”, though I would title it  “Look Ever to Jesus”
 

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Refrain

Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s Name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Refrain

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown;
Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down;
He Who is our Savior our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

manfully?… if endeavored in light of looking ever to Jesus, then yes.. manfully!  Fight… Run… Obey… Rejoice!

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