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Do We Take Things More Easily or More Seriously?

One of the fascinating things we remember about our Christian life is our ardent passion for God when we had come to know Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. In retrospect, many of us express how passionate we were during the early stage of our Christian life, how we used to pray and meditate on God’s word and how eager we were to share the gospel with others.

But what happened as the years went by? Should we say we have become cold in our heart, lukewarm in our passion to live for God and lazy in disciplining our inner life? Did we become more worldly than godly in our passions and pursuits? Did we begin taking things that matter for eternity "more easily"?

There are some, in fact there are many—when they become more familiar with the knowledge about God and with His word, instead of developing more craving for Him and longing to live for His glory, they slide into frivolous attitude toward spiritual disciplines. Can we dare say we do not belong to such group?

But there are those—when it comes to God, to the knowledge of His glorious splendor and to the advancement of His kingdom—they become more reverential towards God, develop more seriousness in their commitment to serve Him and grow more in their hunger for Him by disciplining their daily walk with God. John Wesley and Charles Simeon are stalwarts of such commitment, discipline and diligence.

John Wesley [1703-1791] is said to have travelled two hundred and fifty thousand miles on horseback, preached forty thousand sermons during his lifetime and produced hundreds of pieces of literature. At the age of eight-three, he was angry because his doctor wouldn’t let him preach more than fourteen times a week. In his journal entry at age eighty-six, Wesley wrote, “Laziness is slowly creeping in. There is an increasing tendency to stay in bed after five-thirty in the morning.” (Cries of the Heart, pg. 48)

I wonder how many of us feel ashamed for waking up late and neglecting to have consistent and adequate early morning devotions! In their busy life to make more money and in their ambition to become more successful, don't you think many have become desensitized to godly passions and sluggish in godly disciplines?

Even at the age eighty-eight, John Wesley kept working. “I am now an old man,” he said, “decayed from head to foot. However, blessed be God, I do not slack my labour. I can preach and still write.” (Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History, pg. 203)

As we begin our journey from the time of our born-again in the Spirit till our death in Christ Jesus, do we find in ourselves such passion, such discipline, such diligence and such hunger to live for the glory of God? It seems many of us are spiritually decayed before even reaching physical decay. It is written to a generation such as ours, "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you." (Hos. 10:12)

Charles Simeon [1759-1836] is another man who astounds me. He was a powerful expository preacher whose preaching transformed and revived the hearts of multitudes. After fifty-four years of faithful ministry at the Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, UK, Simeon retired in 1836.

Even after his retirement, at the age of 77 years in which he died, a friend discovered that this elderly man was still rising at 4:00 a.m. every morning to light his own fire and to spend time reading the Bible, praying, repenting, and spending time with God. His friend thought this was over-kill. “Mr. Simeon,” he pleaded, “Do you not think that, now that you are retired, you might take things more easily?” “What?!” replied the old Charles Simeon, “Shall I not now run with all my might when the winning-post is in sight?” (Tim Keller, Long Distance Spirituality, May 2010)

What a response! How seldom do we find those who run diligently till they reach the winning-post! How few there are in our day who can say with Paul, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus!" (Phi. 3:14)

Well, friends, what do we observe in the lives of John Wesley and Charles Simeon? The more they went ahead in their Christian life, the more they grew old, the more they headed towards death, they became more and more serious and disciplined in their life with God. They did not take things "more easily". Is there any wonder why they had such an impact upon their generation and the generations thereafter?

Here is a challenge before us. As we pass days and years in our brief time on earth, as we grow older, as we approach near to death, are we becoming more flippant toward spiritual issues or are we becoming more passionate, disciplined and diligent in our walk with God and in His service? As we approach closer to our winning post, do we take things "more easily" or "more seriously"?

What the Lord Jesus had spoken to the Ephesian church, is He also speaking to us, "You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place"? (Rev. 2:4-5).

May this hymn, written by William (Bill) Gaither, be found true and real in our own life: 
Since I started for the Kingdom,
Since my life He controls,
Since I gave my heart to Jesus,
The longer I serve Him,
The sweeter He grows.

The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows,
The more that I love Him, more love He bestows;
Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows,
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.

Ev'ry need He is supplying,
Plenteous grace He bestows;
Ev'ry day my way gets brighter,
The longer I serve Him,
The sweeter He grows.

The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows,
The more that I love Him, more love He bestows;
Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows,
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.

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