Venture All For Christ
By Thomas Reade (1776 – 1841)
There are four evils which mark the decayed state of Christians in general: their love of the world – their love of ease – their fear of man – their distrust of providence. The primitive believers were just the reverse of all this. They despised the world, and its flattering allurements; they took up the cross, and denied themselves; they boldly confessed Christ, and suffered for His sake; they trusted God for all things, and so took joyfully the spoiling of their goods. And what was the blessed fruit? They abounded in consolation; they grew in grace; they shone as lights in the world; they felt joy and peace in believing.
But now we see professing Christians languid in their graces, timid in their confession, fearful of consequences, and fearful of offending. Sad symptoms these, of spiritual decay! Hence the spirit of the Gospel is not exhibited. Its character is not exemplified, and Christ is not glorified.
No marvel that the work of evangelizing the world has proceeded so slowly, since the power of true religion is so little felt by the bulk of professing Christians. Oh that the Lord may quicken His people, and revive His work in the midst of the days!
Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). This cross is heavy to bear when earthly affections, or pride, or unbelief work in the heart. But when the heart is filled with love to the Savior, then the greatest cross is light, and even pleasant to endure. Thus the apostles “counted it all joy, when they fell into diverse temptations” (Jas. 1:2). They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. Multitudes of loving believers gloried in tribulation, and sealed the truth with their blood.
The love of ease, of splendor, of worldly distinction, of family comforts, has greatly destroyed that spirit of martyrdom which should practically operate in every believer in Jesus.
Every Christian should be a martyr in spirit. He should be ready to leave all, and sacrifice all for Christ. That excellent reformer Oecolampadius, writing to a friend, said, “The greatest happiness of this life is to venture for the sake of Christ.” Many will venture their all in some profitable speculation, which promises a large increase of worldly property. But happy indeed is that man who can venture all for Christ in faith and love. He may lose all that the world calls great and good; but he shall receive, through the merits of the Redeemer, a crown of glory which fades not away.
It is easy to rejoice at the bestowment of temporal favors, and sometimes of spiritual mercies, but are we as ready to render thanks unto the Lord for pains and trials, for losses and crosses, endured for righteousness’ sake, or in the wise dispensations of a good and unerring Providence?
Now the apostolic command is, “in every thing give thanks” (1 Thes. 5:18). But oh! how little of this primitive spirit is there among us. Who can bear with joy the loss of all things for Christ’s sake? Who can glory in tribulation?
Blessed Lord! Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon Your drooping church, that it may “flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.” Oh that I may sit loosely to the world and its passing enjoyments, and be ready to arise and follow You wheresoever You call me, either to labor or endure. Make me sincerely thankful for hourly mercies; and with these mercies, be pleased to bestow a heart weaned from creature comforts, and supremely devoted unto You. Increase in me true religion; that so, amid the manifold and sundry changes of the world, my heart may surely there be fixed, where alone true joys are to be found. Give me that spiritual perception, and that spiritual relish for heavenly truths, which are the experience and portion of Your children here, and which form the delightful foretaste of their eternal blessedness in the world to come.