*Hold Fast Your Confidence
“The word of the Lord endures forever.”
1 Peter 1:25 NASB
It is far easier to conceive than to express the unspeakable violence with which Satan urges temptation on those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness. They see in a strong, clear light, on one hand, the desperate wickedness of their own hearts. On the other hand is the unspotted holiness to which they are called in Christ Jesus.
Many times, there is no spirit left in them. They see the depth of their total corruption and alienation from God and the height of the glory of the Holy One, and are ready to give up both faith and hope. They are nearly ready to cast away the very confidence whereby they “can do all things with Christ strengthening” them. Yet through this alone will they receive the promise.
When this assault comes, hold fast, “I know that my Redeemer lives and shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” And “I now have redemption in His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
Thus, being filled with all peace and joy in believing, press on in the peace and joy of faith to the renewal of your whole soul in the image of the One who created you. Meanwhile, cry continually to God that you will see the prize of your high calling, not as Satan represents it but in its native beauty. Not as something that must be or you will go to hell, but as what may be to lead you to heaven.
*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
In this sixty-seventh lesson on prayer, Wesley gives encouragement to those who find themselves in the crosshairs of Satan’s bow, not always able to dodge the fiery darts of the enemy. Satan uses temptation because he can draw on something within us that he himself is familiar with. Our own lusts (see James 1:13-14) are the handles he uses to pull us out from under our faith, peace, and joy in Christ Jesus.
The writer to the Hebrews in chapter 12, verses 1-14 sets us straight on the path to staying focused on our salvation through the struggles of our encumbrances.
“1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ” MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 14Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:1-14 NASB).
Wesley finishes with, “Meanwhile, cry continually to God that you will see the prize of your high calling, not as Satan represents it but in its native beauty. Not as something that must be or you will go to hell, but as what may be to lead you to heaven.”