A Life of Godliness and Gratitude

David Wilkersonby David Wilkerson

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).

God’s children should make it a matter of conscience to rejoice in him at all times and in every circumstance. Rejoicing is not our choice; it is God’s command! If we treat these words as an option, we undermine God’s imperative to us.

Until God has our delight, he really does not have our heart. There are three steps that will help us maintain a stance of rejoicing in our Savior:

  • Put aside every obstacle that interferes with rejoicing
  • Persuade yourself that rejoicing is necessary
  • Practice rejoicing forever

This definitely will not be easy and you sometimes will think it doesn’t make sense. Whether the world crumbles or stands, whether we lose or keep everything and everyone precious to us, the Lord himself remains the source of our satisfaction. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

God created a place in his children for joy. This place will be filled with something, either with the toys and trivia of worldly achievement and accumulation or with heavenly things of the Creator. There will always be carnal cravings that lure us away from God. “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14).

Those who have had a new, divine nature put into them by God are not satisfied with things of the world anymore. A change of heart implies a change of desire — a pure heart after God wants what he wants. “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful” (Psalm 33:1).

A practical side of rejoicing is that it cannot be sustained if it is not continually exercised. Do not neglect this great portion of God’s salvation lest it become shriveled and crippled and too sluggish to sing out love songs to Jesus. But constant use will make it a strong fiber of your soul; willing and able to control every other emotion. Make the choice today to seek after the serene life of godliness and gratitude.

by David Wilkerson

The sin before us is a very old one!

J.C. Ryleby J.C. Ryle

The Gospel of Luke” 1858

“Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.” Luke 22:24

We see in this passage how firmly pride and love of preeminence can stick to the hearts of Christian men. The strife was one which had been rebuked by our Lord on a former occasion. The Lord’s Supper which the disciples had just been receiving, and the circumstances under which they were assembled–made the strife particularly inappropriate.

And yet at this very season, the last quiet time they could spend with their Master before His death–this little flock begins to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest!

Such is the heart of man–ever weak, ever prideful, ever ready, even at its best times, to turn aside to what is evil!

The sin before us is a very old one. Ambition, self-esteem, and self-conceit–lie deep at the bottom of all men’s hearts, and often in the hearts where they are least suspected! Thousands imagine that they are humble, who cannot bear to see an equal more honored and favored than themselves. Few indeed can be found who rejoice heartily in another’s promotion over themselves.

If we make any profession of serving Christ, then let us live on our guard against this great evil. The harm that it has done to the Church of Christ, is far beyond calculation. Let us learn to take pleasure in the prosperity of others, and to be content with the lowest place for ourselves. The rule given to the Philippians should be often before our eyes, “In lowliness of mind–let each esteem others better than themselves.” The example of John the Baptist is a bright instance of the spirit at which we should aim. He said of our Lord, “He must increase, but I must decrease.

by J.C. Ryle