If you learn of a spiritual experience which you know nothing about, take it as a challenge to move ahead, not as a topic for discouragement.
YOU ARE AN EAGLE – FLY!
If you learn of a spiritual experience which you know nothing about, take it as a challenge to move ahead, not as a topic for discouragement. If you take the love of Mary Magdalene as a cause to be discouraged, then you will not move ahead. But if you see it as an opportunity to rise to a new level, then you will rise.
When God exposes my faults, I see it as a new springboard from which to jump up. You should also not keep your eyes on the past as you move ahead. How can a man run forward while looking backward? He will surely get involved in an accident. Even if you have made a thousand mistakes in the past, forget them. And even if you have had a billion successes in the past, forget them. The eyes must be fixed ahead.
The apostle Paul says,
“Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14.)
You cannot press forward to what is in the past. There are some people who specialize in crying over spilled milk. Those are wasted tears. Even if you weep and weep, you will not have back the spilled milk and drink it. Look ahead to the new milk that will come, and make sure that you do not spill it.
We bring this message to you, believing that you are an eagle, determined to fly. We believe that when you show an eagle a new height, the response is, “I did not know that such a height existed, I will jump unto it.” This is how I have behaved in my Christian life. I have never sat down to weep, or to regret. I say, “I made a mistake. I will improve. I did not know it was so. Now that I know, things will be different.” I do not know a day when seeing new standards produced discouragement in me.
The year I gave my life to the Lord, I read the biography of Hudson Taylor. It was quite a life. I rejoiced. I said, “So there are great things to do in this Christian life? Great possibilities! So deliverance from sin can be known? So one can possibly shake a whole continent?” I began to say, “If it can be done, then I will do it.” I longed to know his secret. I read his books to see what his secret was. I found out that one of his secrets was faith. Then another was a reckless abandonment to God. I also found out that there was this spirit of wanting to do the near-impossible for God. This is how I spent the first year of my Christian life.
I told myself, “Since for everything, the answer seems to be found in this Bible, I must know it.” In my first year as a believer, I read the Bible five times from Genesis to Revelation. I also read fifty books on the Christian life. I was reading a book a week. I was in my first year in the University and did not find my studies tedious. I slept not more than five hours a day. I have improved on that now. I found it exciting to know more and more about this word, on which the whole Christian life depended.
I also decided that I wanted a first-class degree. There was a famous price for the most outstanding student in the Faculty of Science. When I asked about it, they said no one had had it for the last four years, because nobody had met the requirements. I wrote my name on it and decided to wake up at 3:30 am, spend one hour with God in prayer and Bible reading and study for two hours. I decided that I would be three hours ahead of the others. While they were still waking up, I was already three hours ahead of them.
I was also afraid that I could miss that price, so I decided I would not go on holidays. From the day I entered the University until I graduated, I did not go on holidays, except for the three weeks I spent at a Christian Leadership Training Course. Challenges are to be conquered and not seen as a call for discouragement. Challenges are a call for a forward move. They are not a call for one to sit down and weep.
IF AT FIRST, YOU DO NOT MAKE IT
When I attempt a thing and do not make it, I tell myself, “Next time I will make it.” Once we started a forty-day fast for the overthrow of the satanic prince of Malsi. I fell ill on the eight days and was so sick that I could not continue the fast, but the brethren continued. So what was I to do? Sit down and weep over the fact that I could not continue the fast? No. I turned aside and, for the next thirty days, I was working fifteen hours a day. That was when I wrote the book With Christ in the School and Ministry of Prayer.
You do not sit down and weep. You move ahead. What is not possible today, is the challenge for tomorrow. But it must be done.
I am going to ask you to impose discipline in your life. I have the mandate to say this to you. I have my meditation book to back it up. On the first page of my meditation book, I have written the goal of my life. I look at it every day. I judge everything on the basis of how much it leads me towards that goal. Then I meditate and write what God is saying. I write what I see in the scriptures. I write what the application is for me. I confess what is wrong in my life and make plans for moving ahead. The things that are critical are noted so that I can come back to them. I underline some of the things. Others are written in capital letters. Some are extracted for special cards that require urgent attention. You, rise and do the same.
You must seek God. There is what can come from a sermon. But that is no substitute for what God can tell you when you are alone, depending on where you are in your life, and the challenges before you. Get a good notebook for your daily meditation. This is because, if God is talking to you, you do not write it on a piece of paper that can easily be lost. Even the world keeps a record of national history. How much more of what God is saying to me, which I must obey?
We also ask that the children should meditate. From the time they can read their Bibles, they should begin to meditate, if they are converted. In our home, there are three hours for waking up: a few minutes before 4:00 am for myself, my wife, our first daughter, and two other adults who live with us, who need two hours to meet the Lord. At 5:00 am, we wake up the others who need about an hour to meet the Lord. At 5:30 am, we wake up the one who needs about thirty minutes with the Lord. Then at 6:00 am, we have the family worship, where the word is taught and where we pray as a family. Then we get into the day.
Talking about prayer, I have many prayer books, but there is one which I move with because I use it on a daily basis. On the first page is written the goal of my life. I rule it as follows:
In the last few years, I have had fifty thousand answered prayer requests. To me, the Christian life is a most serious life because either it is worth all that I can put in, or it is worth nothing. And if it is worth nothing, I should throw it away completely and fight against it. But the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord and merits everything. I want you to take Him that serious.
I have been applying myself seriously to chemistry and meeting up to the standards required. I cannot apply myself to Chemistry in a very serious way and then come to the Christian life and treat it lightly. God deserves more seriousness than the highest science. Let us give Him the seriousness He deserves.