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"A Steady Christian Life" (posted August 5, 2007)
The path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day.
- Proverbs 4:18
The lives of believers present very different features all at the same time. We see believers, Christians, beginning their career poorly; but, learning to judge themselves under God’s disciplinary hand, they finish their course well and sometimes even gloriously. This was the case with Jacob, whose days were “few and evil” but whose life ended with a full vision of glory (Genesis 47:9; 48:8-21).
More frequently we see believers who begin their career well and finish it poorly. Such is the history of Lot who, not having Abraham’s faith, nevertheless followed in his footsteps. His life then becomes morally weaker and weaker due to his love of earthly goods, and it ends in a most shameful manner (Genesis 12:1-4 and ch. 19). Such is the history of Gideon, humble and distrustful of himself, courageous in cleansing his house of false gods, then leader of Israel and the victor over Midian---but at the very end he causes his house and all the people to sin through an ephod [a priestly garment] which he had made an idol (Judges 6:14-15; 8:22-27).
Such is the history of Solomon. He had everything: wisdom, practical righteousness, forgetfulness of self, understanding in the thoughts of God, the desire to glorify Him, and power. God uses him to communicate wisdom’s sayings to future generations. But Solomon finishes badly. He loved many strange [foreign] wives who turned his heart away after their false gods. The servant of the true God became an idolater! (See 1 Kings 11:1-10.)
Between these two paths we see the path of a believer who, from beginning to end, walks faithfully without faltering in a spirit of personal holiness and separation from the world. Such was the case with Abraham, whose faith and dependence only rarely were in contradiction and who judged his walk whenever it troubled his communion with God. (See, for example, Genesis 12:10 - 13:4.)
But such was, above all, the path of Christ, the uniform path of the perfect Servant as we see in Psalm 16. There we find not a single imperfection, but rather absolute confidence, complete obedience, perfect dependence, flawless practical righteousness, divine holiness in a Man, unshakable faith, unlimited love, unfaltering hope. When we consider such a path, we can only worship.
But we can also follow Him, and He gives us the capacity and the power to do so. Between ourselves and Him there will always be the difference between the imperfect and the perfect, the finite and the infinite; but as long as our eyes are fixed on Him we will find the secret of a walk that glorifies Him to the end in this world.
Henri L. Rossier