Born To Die – And To Conquer
By Lois J. Stucky
Are you one of God’s people in a hard place today? There are circumstances, surroundings, associates – that tempt the heart to become weary and droop, or the spirit to grow aroused and angry, or the mind, desperate and depressed. Seemingly things cannot be changed. You have tried that. You meet a stone wall. Are you going to batter yourself to pieces there? Are you going to give up in despair? Are you going down in defeat? It is the natural thing to do.
But how wonderful that the Christian life is a supernatural life! The Christian life – the Christ life – gives us power to triumph in these very places! There is a tendency to think that the Christian life is sweet, smooth, happy sailing to heaven. It has those elements. But the Christian life is far more. It is strength given that in every circumstance of life we might overcome and thereby please and glorify our Lord.
The Apostle Paul said, "To me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). The Christian life is Christ! Did He have it easy? Think of the cruel Cross of Calvary. It was seemingly the greatest of defeats. Yet from it came most glorious victory – the salvation of mankind and the defeat of Satan. How did Christ win? Not by taking up arms and fighting those who came to take Him captive. Not by fleeing away. He yielded Himself to receive the kiss of betrayal. "I am He whom ye seek" was His quiet response to those who came with swords and with cords to bind Him (John 18:1-9).
We are born into the kingdom of God that we might die – die to our own will, our own desires, our own ambitions, our own pleasures, our own rights. Born, in some cases, to suffer loss and wrong and ill, as the world sees it. But because of Calvary, we are born also to triumph – to rise above and to carry on to the glory of God.
How can this be? We must turn our thinking from ourselves – what we want, what is happening to us, the injustice of it, the agony of it, the sorrow of it – and think upon the Lord. What does He have in this for me? He wants me, in spite of this, to have victory in my soul.
So I will thank Him that even out of this can come good, and will come good, if I receive it rightly. I will praise Him that He is going to give me grace to bear this until His time for my deliverance. I will delight my soul in Him, for I know He is with me in this hard place. I will rejoice in my heart because I know that out of straitened circumstances, He wants to bring my soul into a large place.
I will yield myself – I will "die" to what I would choose – and take His life to triumph in this hard place. I will trust in His wisdom and love. I will love Him in return and will find in Him the strength to serve God acceptably. I may not reach victory at once, but I will press on in this direction by the grace of the Lord.
Brother Moore often said to us, "These are testing days!" These are significant testings. It is not only that we might have personal gain by proving ourselves overcomers, but that we might be fitted for greater service for God. How needful that He have experienced "soldiers" to be used in the expansion of His kingdom! It is a favorite plot of the enemy Satan to keep us ignorantly or selfishly occupied with skirmishes of our own and off the mainline of service for God. If we are in a place of struggle and defeat, be assured that God longs to help us overcome and take our place on the battlefield for souls.
There are millions and millions who need the help we Christians can give in this critical hour! We were deeply moved by an appealing letter a young man wrote from the Orient. He knows his country lies in the line of conquest there. He feels urgently that the time to get the Gospel out is NOW. Yet he sees a church indifferent, preoccupied, and doing little for the kingdom of God in these blessed hours of liberty. The church may awake when it is too late! In anguish of soul the young man pleads with us for prayer and for the literature we can send to stir the church and to save sinners while there is yet opportunity.
What he sees there is a little picture of what is happening all around the world. We Christians need to be on the battlefield for the Lord now! Let us, like good soldiers, "die" to the things that make us unfit for the greater battle in which God has called us to take part! Let us waste no time in appropriating His victory for matters that sap our best energies and which are perhaps after all, only selfish matters.