Stay Focused on the Race

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. -1 Corinthians 9:24

My brethren, we have, many of us, commenced the Christian race, or we profess to have done so, but the number of the starters is far greater than the number of the winners. “They that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize.” “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Many commence, apparently, in the Christian career, but after a while, though they did run well, something hinders them that they do not obey the truth, and they go out from us because they were not of us, for if they had been of us, doubtless they would have continued with us. Now we may expect, now that we have commenced to run, that some will come and try to turn us out of the race course openly-not plausibly and with sophistry, but with an open and honest wickedness. Some will tell us plainly that there is no reward to run for, that our religion is all a mistake, that the pleasures of this world are the only things worth seeking, that there are delights of the flesh and the lusts thereof, and that we should do well to enjoy them. We shall meet the Atheist with his sneer and with his ringing laugh. We shall meet with all kinds of persons who will, to our faces, tell us to turn back for there is no heaven, there is no Christ, or, if there be, it is not worth our while to take so much trouble to find Him. Take heed of these people. Meet them face to face with dauntless courage. Mind not their sneers. If they persecute you only, reckon this to be an honour to you, for what is persecution but the tribute which wickedness pays to righteousness, and what is it, indeed, but the recognition of the seed of the woman when the seed of the serpent would fain bite His heel? ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Striving is Needed

Let no man beguile you of your reward.- Colossians 2:18

There is an allusion here to the prize which was offered to the runners in the Olympic games, and it is well for us to remark how very frequently the Apostle Paul conducts us by his metaphors to the racecourse. Over and over again he is telling us so to run that we may obtain, bidding us to strive, and at other times to agonize, and speaking of wrestling and contending. Ought not this to make us feel what an intense thing the Christian life is-not a thing of sleepiness or haphazard, not a thing to be left now and then to a little superficial consideration? It must be a matter which demands all our strength, so that when we are saved there is a living principle put within us which demands all our energies, and gives us energy over and above any that we ever had before. Those who dream that carelessness will find its way to heaven have made a great mistake. The way to hell is neglect, but the way to heaven is very different. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” A little matter of neglect brings you to ruin, but our Master’s words are “Strive to enter in at the straight gate, for many, I say unto you, shall seek”-merely seek-“to enter in, and shall not be able.” Striving is needed more than seeking. Let us pray that God the Holy Spirit would always enable us to be in downright, awful earnest about the salvation of our souls. May we never count this a matter of secondary importance, but may we seek first, and beyond everything else, the kingdom of God and His righteousness. May we lay hold on eternal life; may we so run that we may obtain. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Your God is Your True Joy

Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you. -1 John 3:13

Don’t wonder, don’t wonder if you have discomforts here. If you are what you profess to be, you are strangers. Don’t expect the men of this world to treat you as one of themselves-if they do, be afraid. Dogs don’t bark when a man goes by that they know-they bark at strangers. When people slander and persecute you no longer, be afraid. If you are a stranger, they naturally bark at you. Don’t expect to find comforts in this world that your flesh would long for. This is our inn, not our home. We tarry here a night, we are away in the morning. We may bear the discomforts of the eventide and the night, for the morning will break soon. Remember that your greatest joy while you are a pilgrim is your God… Do you want a greater source of consolation than you have got? Here is one that can never be diminished, much less exhausted. When the creature streams are dry, go to this eternal fountain, and you will find it ever springing up. Your God is your true joy: make your joy to be in your God.

(Now what shall be said to those who are not strangers and foreigners? Oh! you dwell in a land where you find some sort of repose, but I have heavy tidings for you. This land in which you dwell, and all the works thereof, must be burned up. The city of which you, who have never been converted to Christ, are citizens, is the City of Destruction, and as is its name such shall be its end.) ~ C.H. Spurgeon

The City of an Abiding Happiness

…for He hath prepared for them a city. -Hebrews 11:16

I delight to preach a free gospel, and to preach it to every creature under heaven; but we must never forget the speciality-“He hath prepared for them a city.” That is, for such as are strangers and foreigners, for such as have faith, and therefore have left the world and gone out to follow Christ. He hath prepared for them, not for all of you, but only for such as He has prepared for the city, has He prepared the city. But note what it is. It is a city, which indicates, first, an abiding happiness. They dwelt in tents-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but He has prepared for them a city. Here we are tent-dwellers, but the tent is soon to be taken down. “We know that this earthly house of our tent shall be dissolved, but we have a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.” “He hath prepared for them a city.” A city is a place of social joy. In a lonely hamlet one has little company, but in a city much. There all the inhabitants shall be united in one glorious brotherhood-the true Communism; Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, in the highest possible degree. There shall be delightful intercourse. “He hath prepared for them a city.” It is a city, too, for dignity. To be a burgess of the City of London is thought to be a great honour, and upon princes is it sometimes conferred; but we shall have the highest honour that can be given when we shall be citizens of the city which God has prepared. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

He Calls Himself Their God

Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city. -Hebrews 11:16

Because they are strangers, and because they will not go back to their old abode, therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God. He might be. What poor people God’s people are-poor many of them in circumstances, but how many of them I might very well call poor as to spiritual things! I do not think if any of us had such a family as God has we should ever have patience with them. We cannot even have, when we judge ourselves rightly, patience with ourselves; but how is it that God bears with the ill-manners of such a froward, weak, foolish, forgetful people as His people are? He might well be ashamed to be called their God if you look upon them as they are. Own them-how can He own them? Does He not himself sometimes say of them, “How can I put thee among the children?” and yet He does. Viewed as they are, they are such a rabble in many respects that it is marvelous He is not ashamed of them; and yet He never is; and to prove that He is not ashamed of them we have this fact, that He calls Himself their God, “I will be your God,” and He oftentimes seems to speak of it as a very joyful thing to His own heart. “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” and while He calls Himself their God He never forbids them to call Him their God; and in the presence of the great ones of the earth they may call Him their God-anywhere. He is not ashamed that it should be so. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Let Us Keep Our Desires Wide Awake

For our citizenship is in heaven… -Philippians 3:20

Whatever we may find in this world, we shall never find a heaven here. We may hunt the world through, and say, ‘This looks like a little paradise,” but there is no paradise this side of the skies-for a child of God at any rate. There is enough out there in the farmyard for the hogs, but there is not for the children. There is enough in the world for sinners, but there is not for saints. They have stronger, sharper, and more vehement desires, for they have a nobler life within them, and they desire a better country; and even if they get entangled for a while in this country, and in a certain measure become citizens of it, they are still uneasy; their citizenship is in heaven, and they cannot rest anywhere but there…Our expectations are our largest possessions. The things that we have, that we value, are ours today by faith. We don’t enjoy them yet, but when our heirship shall be fully manifested, and we shall come to the full ripe age, oh! then we shall come into our wealth, to the mansions and to the glory and to the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let us think of heaven, of Christ, of all the blessings of the covenant, and let us thus keep our desires wide awake. The more they draw us to heaven the more we shall be separated from earth.~ C.H. Spurgeon

“All is Vanity…Give Me Thyself!”

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly… -Hebrews 11:16

An insatiable desire has been implanted in us by divine grace, which urges us to

“Forget the steps already trod,
And onward press our way.”

Notice how the text puts it, “But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly.” Brethren, we desire something better than this world. Do you not? Has the world ever satisfied you? Perhaps it did when you were dead in sin. A dead world may satisfy a dead heart, but ever since you have known something of better things have you ever been contented with the world? Perhaps you have tried to fill your soul with worldly things. God has prospered you, and you have said, “Oh! this is well!” Your children have been about you; you have had many household joys, and you have said, “I could stay here for ever.” Did not you find very soon that there was a thorn in the flesh? Did you ever get a rose in this world that was altogether without a thorn? Have you not been obliged to say, after you have had all that the world could give you, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”? I am sure it has been so with you. All God’s saints will confess that if the Lord were to say to them, “You shall have all the world, and that shall be your portion,” they would be broken-hearted men. “Nay, my Lord,” they would say, “don’t put me off so, don’t give me these husks, though Thou give mountains of them. Thou art more glorious than all the mountains of praise. Give me Thyself, and take these all away if it so please Thee, but don’t my Lord, don’t think I can fill myself with these things.” We desire something better. ~ C.H. Spurgeon