“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:3
The assaults of the adversary contribute not a little to the sense of weariness which often prostrates a child of God. To be set up as a mark for Satan; the enemy smiting where sensibility is the keenest; assailing where weakness is the greatest; taking advantage of every new position and circumstance, especially of a season of trial, of a weak, nervous temperament, or of a time of sickness—distorting God’s character, diverting the eye from Christ, and turning it in upon self—are among Satan’s devices for casting down the soul of a dear believer.
And then, there are the narrowness of the narrow way, the intricacies of the intricate way, the perils of the perilous way—all tending to jade and dispirit the soul. To walk in a path so narrow and yet so dangerous, that the white garment must needs be closely wrapped around; to occupy a post of duty so conspicuous, responsible, and difficult, as to fix every eye; some gazing with undue admiration, and others with keen and cold suspicion, ready to detect and to censure any slight irregularity—add not a little to the to toilsomeness of the way.
Notice, also, the numerous and varied trials and afflictions which pave his pathway to heaven—his tenderest mercies often his acutest trials, his trials often weighing him to the earth—and you have the outline of a melancholy picture, of which he whose eye scans this page may be the original. Does it surprise, then, that from the lips of such a one the exclamation often rises, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”
Remember, there will be a correspondence between the life of Christ in the soul, and the life which Christ lived when he tabernacled in the flesh. The indwelling of Christ in the believer is a kind of second incarnation of the Son of God. When Christ enters the heart of a poor sinner, He once more clothes Himself with our nature. The life which Christ lived in the days of His sojourn on earth was a life of sorrow, of conflict, of temptation, of desertion, of want, and of suffering in every form.
Does He now live a different life in the believer? No; He is still tempted and deserted, in sorrow and in want, in humiliation and in suffering—in His people. What! did you think that these fiery darts were leveled at you? Did you suppose that it was you who were deserted, that it was you who suffered, that it was you who were despised, that it was you who were trodden under foot? No, my brother, it was Christ dwelling in you.
All the malignity of Satan, all the power of sin, and all the contempt of the world, are leveled, not against you, but against the Lord dwelling in you. Were it all death in your soul, all darkness, sinfulness, and worldliness, you would be an entire stranger to these exercises of the renewed man.
Behold the love and condescension of Jesus! that after all He endured in His own person, He should again submit Himself to the same in the persons of His saints; that He should, as it were, return, and tread again the path of suffering, of trial, of humiliation, in the life which each believer lives.
Oh, how it speaks that love which passes knowledge! How completely is Christ one with His saints! and yet, how feebly and faintly do we believe this truth! How little do we recognize Christ in all that relates to us! and yet He is in all. He is in every providence that brightens or that darkens upon our path. “Christ is all, and in all.”