Set Your Soul To Go Through With God
Charlie Studd, famous sportsman of Cambridge University, found a greater love than cricket when he found Christ as his Savior.
Studd wanted Godís guidance for his life, so he sought it through prayer and reading the Bible. He asked counsel, too, of his friends. Finally Studd decided he would study law until God clearly revealed His will to him.
One day he picked up an atheistic tract which challenged the reality of Christian faith. The atheist said if he believed, as Christians do, in an eternal existence, he would put everything he had into seeking souls, from early morning until late at night.
Here was the answer to Charlie Studdís heart cry for guidance. He was stung into action by an atheist to go as "all out" for God as he had for cricket.
"I at once saw," he said, "that this was the truly consistent Christian life. When I looked back upon my life, I saw how inconsistent it had been. I therefore determined that from that time forth my life should be consistent. I set myself to know what was Godís will for me!"
That was the moment in Charlie Studdís life when he set his soul to go through with God.
It is the "set of the soul," as the poet has expressed it, which decides our goal.
Our human wills are comparable to the sails of a boat. When we have set our will to go through with God, then the storms of temptation and trial and conflict will not swerve us from our course. Instead all these are used, as a sailor uses a headwind, to carry us forward.
God recognizes this determined setting of our will to do His will. And the Bible encourages those who are naturally weak. They, too, can go through with God if they set their sails in the beginning.
Out of Weakness Made Strong
Consider Simon Peter. The Lord knew all about him Ė his weak, wavering nature. But Jesus did not see only the unstable, impetuous man. He saw beyond the rough, self-confident fisherman with all his faults and weaknesses to the man that Peter would become because of the set of his soul.
It was no immediate, miraculous transformation. Peter had many failures. But his decision to follow Christ kept him on the right course. Every time Peter hit into a squall in his life, he straightened up and kept right on.
Peter eventually became a power for God. Fear, weakness, arrogance Ė all these were gone. Boldly he preached on the Day of Pentecost and his hearers were pricked in their hearts and 3,000 souls turned to Christ in one day. He triumphed over the stormy trials of life because his sails were set the right way.
Seek First the Kingdom of God
John Wesley, unlike Peter, had natural strength of character. But if he had not strongly set himself to do the will of God, he might have yielded to temptations to swerve from his course. There was a pull on his heart toward many things in this world. He was a scholar, but he put aside his love for books. He spent much of his life on horseback, riding from one poor church to another, helping men and women to find Christ.
Wesley had a passion for the art of this world, especially for music and architecture. But he used his talents instead to bring the richer beauty and light and glory of the love of Christ into the sad, dark lives of men. As he tenderly pointed them to Christ who could mend their shattered hearts, it helped him to forget his own broken and "inly bleeding heart."
One day he visited the home of a wealthy Englishman. As he looked at the well-kept grounds, he felt the sheer ecstasy which tugs at the heart when beholding beauty.
"I, too," Wesley said, "enjoy these things Ė but there is another world." His soul was set to reach that better world.
When we set our wills to go through with God, He does not always require us to give up other worthy goals. But He counsels us to seek "first the kingdom of God" and then these other things will be added to our lives.
Moses had the chance to rule an earthly nation. But he set his soul for the things of God; he chose rather to "suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Heb. 11:25). And after Moses made that choice, God gave him a high position of spiritual leadership over the people of Israel.
Do or Die Determination
Paul the Apostle was warned by his friends of the storms which were ahead of him. But Paulís reply was, "I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 21:13). Paulís mind was made up. He was going to do "one thing," to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).
Down through the years Christians have been setting their souls to go through with God. Like Jesus who "set His face like a flint," they have refused to be turned back.
It is the set of the soul which will determine the course of our lives. Catastrophe enriches one life and pauperizes another. Physical deformity makes a poet of one man and a pirate of another. Two boats on the water may be going different directions, and yet they are propelled by the same wind.
Poverty helps one man to find God, and he becomes a minister. By tacking his sail he goes against the winds of adversity. But another man, who lives in the same poor district, goes with the wind and becomes a gangster.
So set your sails the right way. Seek God with all your heart, and make a complete surrender of your will to His will. Commit your life into Godís keeping. Let Him be the Captain of your life.
"One ship drives east, another west,
By the selfsame winds that blow;
íTis the set of the sail, and not the gale,
That determines the way they go.
Like the winds at sea are the daily tests
As we voyage on through life:
íTis the set of the soul that determines
And not the calm or the strife."