Do You Feel Like Giving Up?

By David Wilkerson

A growing number of ministers have been writing to me in recent months, telling of their concern for those in their flock who are simply giving up. Today, more and more Christians are at the breaking point. None of the talk about giving up has to do with the Lord. Few Christians would even dare entertain thoughts of quitting on their love for Jesus. Most despairing Christians think only of giving up on themselves. You hear it so often now, "I can't go on anymore. I just can't make it. It's totally hopeless! Why try?

I hear some ministers today who con­tinually preach only a positive message. To hear them tell it, every; Christian is receiving miracles -everybody is getting instant answers to prayer  -everybody is feeling good, living good, and the whole world is bright and rosy. I really wish all those good and healthy things for God's people, but that's not the way things are for a great number of very honest and sincere Christians. How sad to hear such shallow theology being pushed from pulpits today. It's an insult to a lowly Jesus who became poor, who died a failure in the eyes of the world. It is this kind of materialistic preaching that has so ill-prepared an entire generation of Christians to endure any kind of pain. They have not learned to be content with such things as they have to be abased and not always abounding. Serving God becomes a kind of Olympic race in which everyone must strive for gold medals.'

No wonder our young people give up in defeat. They can't live up to the image created by the religion of a happy-go-lucky, rich, successful, always positive-thinking Christian. Their world is not that idealistic. They look in a mirror reflecting a face covered with ugly pimples. They live with heartbreaks, hour-by-hour crises, and horrible family problems. They look into the uncertain future, frightened and worried.

Positive thinking won't make their problems go away. Confessing that these problems don't really exist doesn't change a thing. These "apostles of the positive" should not exclude the Gethsemane experiences of life. The cup of pain, the hour of isolation, and the night of confusion were all part of the Master's lifestyle. Our great achievements, our successes, ought to take place at Gethsemane, not Fort Knox!

The sawdust trail for many has become the gold dust trail. The Bible has become a catalog, with unlimited order blanks for life's goodies. Anything having to do with job-like pain and suffering is considered negative. God is good and one should always think on good and honest reports -but pain, poverty, and suffering have befallen some of the saintliest of God's people -just like righteous job. 


What do you say to that wife whose home is breaking up and she seems powerless to stop it? She's been advised by her friends, counselled by her pastor, and has been exhorted over and over again to "stay on your knees and believe God for a miracle." So she fasts, and she prays. She bends over backwards, to the point of crawling on her knees to her husband.

... when everything seems to be coming apart, a voice deep within cries out, "Walk away from it all ... Pack it in! Escape! Why put up with it? Run away ... you don't have to take it. Do something drastic!"

She exercises faith with every ability she possesses. But in spite of all her honest efforts, he grows hard and bitter, demanding a divorce.

Not all marriages are healed through prayer or good intentions. It takes two to make a marriage work, and even though prayer may bring down the power of Holy Ghost conviction upon a straying mate, that mate can resist all God's efforts and abort the solution.

Some may be wondering why I've spent so much time lately talking about marriage, divorce, and the home. The reason is simple enough. In my crusades, I talk to so many kids on the brink of suicide. An overwhelming majority tell me their depression stems from trouble at home. Their parents are having trouble, or they have already gotten a divorce.

Multitudes of husbands and wives are giving up on their marriages. A successful marriage counsellor took me to lunch recently, and before the entree was served, he confessed his own marriage had been in jeopardy. "You just can't take any good marriage for granted anymore, he said. "I'm convinced Satan is determined to break up my marriage - and every good Christian marriage. It's a well-planned attack on the best of marriages. If Satan can get the strongest, most admired marriages broken up - then weaker ones will be tempted to quit struggling and give up."

The secret struggles in the Christian's personal life are just as critical. The inner battles of the average Christian today are staggering in intensity and proportion. Multitudes are involved in situations too hard to comprehend.

Paul said, "For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened." (2Cor. 5:4) I doubt we could even count the great numbers of Christians who groan in secret because of the burdens they carry. Paul also talked about  "... that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life."

(2Cor. 1:8)

If you pulled back the facade from every great preacher and every admired personality, you would find moments of deep depression. You would find the same infirmities you find in any normal Christian. We all have seasons of despair accompanied by feelings of failure. At times, we have all thought of quitting. We have all had thoughts of giving up. 


Why do we feel like giving up at times? Mostly because we act like God has forsaken the earth. We don't doubt His existence or, His reality. But our prayers seem to go unanswered. We cry out for His help in such desperation, and He seems not to hear. We struggle along, making one mistake after another. We make promises to do better, we get into the Bible, we cry and pray, and stay busy helping others and doing good. But we are so often left with an empty, unfulfilled sensation. The promises of God haunt us. We hold onto those promises -in what we believe is honest, childlike faith -but time after time we fail to receive what we ask for. In the hour of temptation - down we go!

Doubt creeps in and Satan whispers, "Nothing works. Faith in God doesn't produce results. In spite of your tears, prayers, and trust in God's Word - nothing really changes. Days, weeks, and even years go by, and your prayers, hopes, and dreams are still unanswered and unfulfilled. Quit! Give up!"

Every Christian on this planet reaches that crisis point at one time or another in life. And in that moment, when the walls seem to be caving in and the roof appears to be collapsing, when everything seems to be coming apart,; a voice deep within cries out, "Walk away from it all. Pack it in! Escape! Why put up with it? Run away ... you don't have to take it. Do something drastic!"

David, overwhelmed by the evil in his heart, cried out to God, "Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise! Do not cast us off forever. Why do You hide Your face, And forget our affliction and our oppression?" (Psalm 44:23-24)

Christian - does it amaze you that great men of old faced the same battles you and I face today? The Bible says, "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." (IPeter 4:12-13)

How can we learn to hold on and live one day at a time? You can begin by forgetting all short cuts and magic cures. The Christian doesn't need a supposed demon of despair cast out, as if his going would make life easier. Nor will God come down and do our living for us. The tempter will not be destroyed until that day God casts him into prison. Satan will always be here, deceiving, accusing, and trying to rob every believer of his faith.

The longer I live for Christ, the more difficult it is for me to accept easy, cure-all solutions. But in my own struggles, I've found great comfort and help in two wonderful absolutes.

The first absolute is: God really loves me. God is not in the business of condemning His children - failures or not. He yearns over us as a loving father, wanting only to lift us out of our weaknesses.

I caught a glimpse of that love recently while walking in the woods around our ranch. Suddenly, there on the ground just ahead flopped a crippled little bird. I stooped to pick it up. It was then a familiar Scripture came flashing through my mind. "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will." (Matt.10:29)

God is with us, even when we fall. He does not abandon us on our way down. Our Lord never gives up on any off us!

Have you also fallen? Do you relate to that crippled sparrow, flopping helplessly in the dust? Are you wounded, hurting, and feeling lost and lonely? Do you ever think to yourself, "How can God put up with someone like me? How can He still love me when I've failed Him so badly?"

Often, we can recognize His great love only when we have hit bottom. Don't panic. Deliverance will come. God answers us by showing His love. And when we have learned how weak we are and have learned to trust His love and forgiveness - He will stoop down and gently help us back to the nest.

The second absolute is: It is my faith that pleases Him the most! "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." (Heb.11: 6) God wants so much to be trusted. That trust He counts as righteousness. (Rom. 4:3)

What do I do when temptation rolls over me like a flood? When my inadequacies' overwhelm me and I see the reality of my weaknesses? Give up? Quit? Never!! I bring to God all I've got left - my faith in Him! I may not understand why He seems to take such a long time to intervene, but I know He will. He will keep His word to me.

I am convinced Satan wants to rob me of only one thing-my faith. He really doesn't want my morals or good deeds or my dreams. He wants to destroy my faith and make me believe God has forsaken this earth.

A fall is never fatal to those who keep their faith intact. In spite of despair and pressures that bog the mind and sap the strength, I believe God. I believe He will  "keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy," (Jude 24)



Breaking up the Fallow Ground



 By Charles G. Finney

This article is for Christians who have had trouble finding the true peace that is promised with conversion.

For those who are frustrated because they are constantly struggling with weakness and sin,

this could well be the very help they've been praying for. Charles Finney saw countless tens of thousands of true conversions -

and all before the days of radio,  TV, or mass publications. We thank God for continuing to anoint and use his writings.

Many thousands have been helped by this article to break through to God's precious forgiveness.

Remember one thing as you read this -God loves you so much, and is waiting for you to be

thoroughly cleansed by His grace through repentance.


" Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you."   Hosea 10:12

The Jews were a nation of farmers, and it is therefore a common thing for God to refer, in the Scriptures, to scenes from their daily lives as illustrations. Hosea addresses them as a nation of backsliders, but uses words that farmers and shepherds are familiar with. He rebukes them for their idolatry and sharply warns them of the impending judgments of God.

Fallow ground is ground which has once been tilled, but has gotten hard and now lies waste. It needs to be broken up and made soft again, before it is ready to receive seed. If you mean to break up the fallow ground of your heart, you must begin by looking at your heart - examine carefully the state of your mind and see where you are. Many people never even seem to think about doing this. They pay no attention to their own hearts, and never know whether they are doing well in their walk with the Lord or not - whether they are bearing fruit or are totally barren. Now you must draw off your attention from all other things and look into this right now! Make a business of it, do not be in a hurry.

Self-examination consists of looking at your life, considering your motives and actions ... calling up your past and seeing its true character. Look back over your past history. Take up your individual sins one by one, and look at them. This doesn't mean that you just take a casual glance at your past life, see that it has been full of sin, and then go to God and make a sort of general confession, asking forgiveness. General confessions of sin are not good enough. Your sins were committed one by one; and as much as you are able, they ought to be reviewed and repented of one by one. It's a good idea to take a pen and some paper as you go over them, and write them down as they come to mind.

Go over them as carefully as a businessman goes over his books; and as often as a sin comes to your memory, write it down! Now begin, and start with what are usually, but improperly, called sins of omission (i.e. things you didn't do that you should have!).

  1. Ingratitude (Unthankfullness ). Take this sin, for example, and write down under this heading all the times you can remember where you have received great blessings and favours from God for which you have never given thanks. How many cases can you remember? Some remarkable protection where your life was spared, some wonderful turn of events that saved you from ruin. Write down the instances of God's goodness to you when you were still in sin, before your conversion, for which you have never been half-thankful enough - and the uncountable mercies you have received since. How long the list of times where your ingratitude has been so black that you are forced to hide your face in shame! Get on your knees and confess them one by one to God, and ask Him to forgive you.

As you're confessing these, they will immediately remind you of others ... write them down too. Go over them three or four times in this way, and see what an incredible number of times God has given you mercy for which you have never thanked Him! 

  1. Lack of Love for God. Think how grieved and alarmed you'd be, if you suddenly realized a great lack of affection for you in your wife, husband, or children - if you saw that someone else had captured their hearts, thoughts, and time. Perhaps in such a case you would almost die with a just and holy jealousy. Now, God calls Himself a jealous God. Have you not given your heart to other loves and infinitely offended Him?

  1. Neglect of the Bible. Put down the cases where for perhaps weeks or longer, God's Word was not a pleasure to you. Some people, indeed, read over whole chapters in such a way that afterwards they could not tell you what they had been reading. If that is so with you, no wonder your life has no direction, and your relationship with God is in such a miserable state.

  1. Unbelief. Recall the instances in which you have virtually charged the God of truth with lying, by your unbelief of His express promises and declarations. If you have not believed or expected to receive the blessings which God has clearly promised, you have called Him a liar.

  1. Lack of Prayer. Think of all the times you have neglected private prayer, family prayer, and group prayer meetings; or you've prayed in such a way as to grieve and offend God more than if you hadn't prayed at all.

  1. Neglect of Fellowship. When you have allowed yourself to make small and foolish excuses that have prevented you from attending meetings. When you have neglected and poured contempt upon the gathering of the saints merely because you "didn't like church"!

  1. The Manner in which You have Performed Spiritual Duties. Think of all the times when you have spoken about God with such a lack of feeling and faith, in such a worldly frame of mind, that your words were nothing more than the mere chattering of a wretch who didn't deserve that God should listen to him at all. When you have fallen down upon your knees and "said your prayers" in such an unfeeling and careless way that if you had been put under oath five minutes later, you could not say what you had been praying for.

  1. Lack of Love for Souls. Look around at all your friends and relatives, and think of how little compassion you have felt for them. You have stood by and seen them going straight to hell, and it seems as though you didn't even care! How many days have there been when you have failed to make their wretched condition the subject of even one single fervent prayer, or to prove any real desire for their salvation?

  1. Lack of Care for the Poor and Lost in Foreign Lands. Perhaps you have not cared enough about them to even attempt to learn of their condition. Do you avoid missions magazines? How much do you really know or care about the unconverted masses of the world? Measure your desire for their salvation by the selfdenial you practice in giving from your substance to send them the Gospel.

Do you deny yourself even the hurtful excesses of life, such as tobacco or alcohol? Do you defend your standard of living? Will you not suffer yourself any inconvenience to save them? Do you daily pray for them in private? Are you setting aside funds to put into the treasury of the Lord when you go up to pray? (As in the story of the widow's mite - Mark12:41-44.) If your soul is not agonized for the poor and lost of this world, then why are you such a hypocrite as to pretend to be a Christian? (See Matt. 25:31-46.) 

  1. Neglect of Family Duties. Think of how you have lived before your family, how you have prayed, what an example you have set before them. What direct efforts do you habitually make for their spiritual welfare?

  1. Lack of Watchfulness Over Your Witness. How many times have you failed to take your words and actions seriously? How often have you entirely neglected to watch your conduct and speech, and having been off your guard, you have sinned before the world, the church, and before God!

  1. Neglect to Watch Over Your Brethren. How often have you broken your covenant that you would watch over them in the Lord? How little do you know or care about the state of their souls? And yet you are under a solemn duty to watch over them. What have you done to get to know them better? How many times have you seen them falling into sin, and you let them go on? And you pretend to love them? Would you watch your wife or child going into disgrace, or falling into a fire, and hold your peace?

  1. Neglect of Self-Denial. There are many professing Christians who are willing to do almost anything in religion that does not require self-denial. They think they are doing a great deal for God, and doing about as much as He ought to reasonably ask, but they are not willing to deny themselves any comfort or convenience whatsoever for the sake of serving the Lord.

They will not willingly suffer reproach for the name of Christ. Nor will they deny themselves the luxuries of life to save a world from hell. They are so far from realizing that self-denial is - a condition of discipleship, that they do not even know what it is! They have never really denied themselves a ribbon or a pin for Christ and the Gospel. Some are giving from their abundance, and giving a lot - and will even complain that others do not give more - when in truth, they are not giving anything that they need, or anything that they would enjoy if they kept it. They only give from their surplus wealth!

Now we turn to sins of commission ...... 

  1. Love of Things and Possessions. What has been the state of your heart concerning your earthly possessions? Have you looked at them as really yours - as if you had a right to use or dispose of them as your own? If you have, write it down! If you have loved property and sought after it for its own sake, or to gratify ambition, you have sinned and must repent.

  1. Vanity. How many times have you spent more time decorating your body to go to church, than you have in preparing your heart and mind for the worship of God? You have cared more about how you appeared outwardly to men than how your soul appeared in the sight of God. You sought to divide the worship of God's house, to draw off the attention of God's people, to look at your pretty appearance. And you pretend that you do not care anything about having people look at you? Be honest about it! Would you take all this pain about your looks if every person were blind?

  1. Envy. Look at the cases in which you were jealous of those who were in a higher position than you. Or perhaps you have envied those who have been more talented or more useful than yourself. Have you not so envied some, that it has caused you pain to hear them praised? It has pleased you more to dwell upon their faults than upon their virtues ... upon their failures rather than their successes. Be honest with yourself, and if you have harboured this spirit of hell, then repent deeply before God.

  1. Bitterness. Recall all the instances in which you have harbored a grudge or a bitter spirit toward someone, or have spoken of Chris­tians in a manner completely devoid of charity and love. Love "hopes all things," but you have given no benefit of doubt, and have suspected the worst.

  1. Slander (Gossip). Think of all the times you have spoken behind people's backs of their faults (real or supposed) unnecessarily and with­out cause. This is slander. You need not lie to be guilty of slander - to tell the truth with the intent to injure is slander.

  1. Levity (A spirit of excessive humor). How often have you joked before God, as you would not have dared in the presence of an earthly dignitary or important official.  You have either been an atheist and forgotten that God existed - or you have had less respect for Him and His presence than you would have had for a mere judge on earth.

  1. Lying. Now understand what lying is. Any form of designed deception is lying. If you purpose to make an impression other than the naked truth, you lie. Put down all those cases you can recollect. Do not call them by any soft names. God calls them lies and charges you with lying, so you'd better charge yourself correctly! Think of all your words, looks, and actions designed to make an impression on others contrary to the truth, for selfish reasons.

  1. Cheating. Set down all the cases where you have dealt with anyone in a way you yourself would not like at all. That is cheating. God has said that we should treat all men in the same manner we would like to be treated.   (Matt. 7:12)

That is the rule. And if you have not done so you are a cheat! God did not say that you should do what you would expect them to do, for if that were the rule it would allow for all kinds of wickedness in our actions. But it says, do what you would want them to do to you! (Have you cheated the government? i.e., unemployment insurance, welfare, food stamps, social security, student loans, etc., gained by fraud?) 

  1. Hypocrisy. For instance, in your prayers and confessions to God, set down all the times in which you have prayed for things you didn't really want. How many times have you confessed sins that you never intended to stop doing? Yes, you have confessed sins when you knew in your heart you as much expected to go and repeat them, as you expected to live!

  1. Robbing God. Think of all the instances in which you have totally misspent your time, squan­dering the hours which God gave you to serve Him, and save souls. Precious time wasted in vain amusement or worthless conversation, in reading worldly novels, or even doing nothing; cases where you have misused your talents and ability to think. Think of how you have squandered God's money on your lusts, or spent it for things which you really didn't need, which did not contribute to your health, comfort, or usefulness. Think of a professing believer using God's money to poison himself with tobacco or intoxicating drink!

  1. Bad Temper. Perhaps you have abused your wife, or your children, or your family, or employees, or neighbours. Write it all down!

  1. Hindering Others from Being Useful. You have not only robbed God of your own talents, but tied the hands of somebody else. What a wicked servant is he who not only is useless himself, but hinders the rest! This is done sometimes by taking their time needlessly. Thus you have played into the hands of Satan, and not only proved yourself to be an idle vagabond, but prevented others from working also.

  1. Idols and Other Religions. (I found as I was sitting down to write out my sins, that there were whole categories of sins that are common today, that would never even have been spoken of to the church in Finney's day. Some of these include fornication and sexual sins, the whole area of false peace induced by drugs, and occult involvement - including astrology, witchcraft, meditation, yoga, and the whole gamut of Eastern religions and philosophies, etc.)

 Some Important Guidelines To Follow 

  1.  If you find you have committed a fault against anyone, and that person is within your reach, go and confess it immediately and get that out of the way. If they are too far away for you to go and see them, sit down and write them a letter (or better yet call them), confessing the injury you have committed against them. If you have defrauded anybody, send the money - the full amount and the interest.

  2.  As you go over the catalogue of your sins, be sure to resolve upon immediate and entire reformation. Wherever you find anything wrong, commit yourself at once, in the strength of God, to sin no more in that way. It will be of no benefit to examine yourself unless you determine to change, in every aspect, that which you find wrong in heart, temper, or conduct.

  3. Go thoroughly to work in all this! Go now! Do not put it off - that will only make matters worse. Confess to God those sins that have been committed against God, and to man those sins that have been committed against man. Do not think about getting off easy by going around the stumbling blocks. Take them up out of the way. In breaking up your fallow ground, you must remove every obstacle. Things may be left that you may think are little things, and you may wonder why you don't have your peace with God, when the reason is your proud and carnal mind has covered up something which God has required you to confess and remove.

Unless you take up your sins in this way, and consider them in detail, one by one, you can form no idea of the amount or weight of them. You should go over the list as thoroughly and as carefully and as solemnly as if you were preparing yourself for the Judgment!  (ICor.11:31)



Devotions or Devotion?

By Charles G. Finney

"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God "  1Cor.10:31


"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him ....... And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men."  Col. 3:17, 23


"For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's." Rom. 14:7-8


These Scriptures reveal the true nature of what devotion to God really is. In discussing this subject, I propose to show:

  1. What true devotion to God is not.

  2. What true devotion to God is.

  3. That devotion, and nothing short of devotion, is true Christianity.

  4. Several mistakes commonly made upon this subject.


  1. What True Devotion To God Is Not.

  1. What True Devotion To God Is

Devotion is that state of the heart in which everything - our whole life, being, and possessions - are a continual offering to God, that is, they are continually devoted to God. True devotion must be the supreme devotion of the will, extending out to all we have and are -to all times, places, employments, thoughts, and feelings.


Let your own ideas of what a pastor ought to be illustrate my meaning. You most likely believe that a pastor, in preaching the Gospel, should have only one purpose in mind - to glorify God by the salvation (and later the sanctification) of sinners. Since he professes to be a servant of God, you feel that he ought to study, preach, and perform all his ministerial duties, not for himself, not for his salary, not to increase his popularity, but only to glorify God. Now you can easily see that if he does not have this singleness of eye, his service cannot be acceptable to God. For it is not an offering to God, it is not a devotion to God - but a devotion to himself.


Devotion then, in a pastor, is that state of mind in which all his pastoral duties are performed for the glory of God and where his whole life is a continual offering to God.

Again, you feel that a minister ought to be as devoted to God in everything else as he is in praying or preaching - and in this you are right! For he not only ought to be, but really is only as devoted in the pulpit as he is out of the pulpit. If he is influenced by selfish and worldly motives during the week, then these same motives are surely in his heart on the Sabbath. If during the week his thoughts are centered upon his own interests, endeavouring to promote himself, you can be sure it's the same on the Sabbath.


You most likely also feel that if a minister's devotion is merely an outward farce -that he preaches, prays, visits, and performs all his duties mainly for the purpose of supporting his family, or to get honour and attention for himself - you would say that he was a wicked man, and unless he is converted he would inevitably lose his soul.


If these are your views on the subject, they are undoubtedly correct. Here, where you have no personal interest, you form a right judgement and decide correctly concerning the character and destiny of such a man. Now remember, nothing short of this standard is devotion in you! Bear it in mind that no particular acts or zeal or gushings of emotion - or resolutions to change, or promises of future obedience - constitute devotion.


For devotion is that state of the will in which the mind is swallowed up in God as the object of its supreme affection - in which we not only live and move in God, but for God. In other words, devotion is that state of mind in which the attention is diverted from self and self - seeking, and is directed to God - the thoughts, purposes, desires, affections, and emotions all hanging upon, and devoted to, Him.


  1. Devotion, And Nothing Short Of Devotion, Is True Christianity.

Devotion and true religion are identical.


  1. Several Mistakes Commonly Made Upon This Subject.

1.  Many imagine that there is a real difference between "devotional" and other kinds of duties - as if a man could be "doing his duty" in that which is not devotion to God. The duties of devotion are generally supposed to be prayer and reading the Scriptures, together with singing and praying in the fellowship of God's House. On the Sabbath, men imagine themselves to be devotional, while on weekdays (except for those few acts they call their "devotions") they are serving themselves and are supremely devoted to their own interests.


Now all such ideas arise out of a total absence of true devotion; and individuals who entertain such views do not yet understand what true Christianity is. Nothing is "duty" if it is performed for God. A man that is truly religious is as devotional in his daily business as he is on the Sabbath. The business of the world is performed by him with the same spirit and purpose as he prays, reads his Bible, and attends worship on the Sabbath. If this is not the case, he has no true religion.


2.   Now there are some people who really live for God and are obviously in a devotional state of mind, who do not seem to realize that every act devoted to God is as acceptable to Him as prayer or praise. If by necessary responsibilities they are kept from spending much time in prayer or going to a lot of meetings, Satan takes advantage of their ignorance and brings them into bondage. He tries to persuade them that they are neglecting their duties to God by attending to other things.


Now you who are devoted to God, should understand that if His providence should confine you at home to nurse the sick, or prevents you from observing those hours of secret prayer that you are used to keeping, you are not to be brought into bondage or condemnation by this - if you are conscious that these other duties are being done for the Lord.


3.   Others think that devotion can be sincere, but yet extend only to certain duties. That is, that a man may pray sincerely and from right motives, and yet be worldly in the transaction of business. Now a little reflection will convince any honest mind that this is naturally impossible. Devotion to God cannot be sincere any further than it annihilates selfishness. Devotion and selfishness are eternal opposites.


4.    Many mistake the religion of emotion for that of the will. You can see this from their lives - they weep and appear to melt and break down. They promise to change and offer entire consecration to God. But attempt to do business with them the very next day, and you will find them supremely selfish - they are not devoted to God at all, but to their own interests. They are ready to take any advantage, even of their brethren, to benefit themselves. Now it is obvious in this case that their melting and breaking down was merely a gushing of their emotions -not a will surrendered and devoted to God.


Some Helpful Remarks


  1. A spirit of devotion will turn the most constant cares and the most pressing labours into the deepest and most constant communion with God. The more pressing and tedious our duties - if they are performed for God - the deeper and more continual our communion with Him. For whatever is done in a spirit of devotion is communion with God.

  2.  They are not Christians, who do not hold communion with God in their ordinary employments. If you do not hold conscious communion with God in your ordinary business, it is because your business is not performed in a spirit of devotion. If not performed in a spirit of devotion, it is sin. For  " ...whatever is not of faith is sin. " (Rom.14.23)

  3. They are certainly not in a sanctified state, who cannot attend to the ordinary and lawful business of life without being drawn away from God.

  4. Whatever cannot be done in a spirit of devotion is unlawful. If you feel the inconsistency of performing it as an act of devotion to God, it is unlawful -you, yourself being the judge.

  5. Anything not right or wrong in itself may be either right or wrong, according to whether or not it is done in a spirit of devotion. Therefore ...

  6. A selfish man may condemn a godly person for doing something that would be sinful if he, himself did it - because the motives of his heart are all wrong. The selfish man assumes that the other person's behaviour is also wrongly motivated. On the other hand, a sanctified person may give credit to a selfish person when it is not due, taking it for granted that, "when the act is right, the motive is right."

  7. There is no peace of mind but in a state of devotion. No other state of mind is reasonable. In no other state will the powers of the mind harmonize. In any other state than that of devotion to God, there is an inward struggle, and mutiny and strife in the mind itself. The conscience rebukes the heart for selfishness. Hence,  "There is no peace," says the Lord, "for the wicked." (Isaiah 48:22)

  8.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”   (Isaiah 26:3) in an attitude of constant devotion. It is impossible that they should not have peace, for devotion implies and includes peace.

And now beloved, do you have the spirit of true devotion? Do not reply, "I hope so," for nothing but a conscious awareness should satisfy you for a moment. If you are devoted to God, you know it - and if you are not conscious of being devoted to God, it is because you are not devoted.


"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."  (Gal. 6:7-8)





A Return to Paganism

(by Dr. Peter Hammond)

In some of the most unexpected places we are confronted by a revival of the old tribal practices of body scarification, body piercing and body mutilation.  Nose rings, eyebrow rings, belly rings, tongue studs, multiple earrings, nipple rings, tattoos and other disfigurements are more than an identifiable sub-culture – it is all part of an aggressive fashion statement which is challenging the Christian Church.


“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:28

Unfortunately, most Church leaders have remained silent on this practice, even while some youth leaders and Bible College students are giving themselves over to body modification. 

“They shall not make any bald place on their heads, nor shall they shave the edges of their beards nor make any cuttings in their flesh. They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy.”  Leviticus 21:5-6 

As Christians, we are called to be holy, set apart and different from the world, consecrated to God.  “Everybody’s doing it” is hardly an argument to justify Christian involvement.  The very fact that pagans practice body piercing should be a compelling enough argument against Christians being conformed to the world.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”  1Peter 2:9 

The Scriptures are clear that we must treat our bodies with respect, they are not our own to do with as we wish.  They belong to God, Who made them and Who purchased them with His own blood.  Our bodies are to be temples of the Holy Spirit.  We are to glorify God with our bodies. 

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? … Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.”  1Corinthians 6:15, 19-20 

On the other hand, the Bible records how pagans abused their bodies.  The false prophets of Baal “.... cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.”  (1Kings18:28). 

The demon possessed man of Gadara cut himself with stones and ran around naked (Mark 5:5).  It was the custom of the Ishmaelite men to wear gold earrings. (Judges 8:24). 

Biblically, a pierced ear is a public indication of permanent slavery.  When the Hebrews were led out of slavery in Egypt by Moses, they were urged “take off the gold earrings … so all the people took off their earrings … These are your gods, O Israel.”  Exodus 32: 1-4 

After God spoke to Jacob, he instructed his household to get rid of their idols and purify themselves.  Along with their stone idols, they buried their earrings. 

“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree......”   Genesis 35:2,4 

This has always been the response of pagan people when they’ve embraced the Gospel of Christ.  From Papua New Guinea to the Amazon jungle, pagan tribes engage in body scarification, earrings, nose rings, tongue studs, multiple piercings and tattoos.  Once converted to Christ, however, these tribes abandon all these body modification practices. 

“You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you '(for the Lord your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth. You shall not tempt the Lord ....You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you. And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you, .......When your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you?' "then you shall say to your son:  'We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand;...…’”  Deuteronomy 6:13-21

It is completely inappropriate for a Christian man to wear an earring – the mark of slavery.  What may be appropriate for a woman is not necessarily appropriate for a man.  What is practiced by the world is seldom acceptable for a Christian. 

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13 

“ free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” 1Peter 2:16 

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”  Galatians 5:1 

If something is prevalent and accepted in the world, that alone should be a compelling argument against Christians adopting their fashions and fads.  We are called to be different.  We are to honour God with our bodies.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God..”   Romans 12:1-2 

Our bodies matter.  They are to be presented to God as holy offerings – in a way that pleases God.  We are not to follow the example of the pagans.  Making holes in our bodies is hardly respecting them as temples of the Holy Spirit.  Permanently disfiguring our bodies is blatant rebellion to our Creator and Redeemer. 

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,...  1Peter 2:11 

Part of the Biblical description of a harlot is that  “....she decked herself with her earrings and jewelry … but Me she forgot, says the Lord.”  (Hosea 2:13) 

“For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.” Psalm 36:2

“Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord;” Lamentations 3:40 

To draw attention to ourselves with these excessive fashion statements is hardly in keeping with the Biblical commands to be humble and modest (Proverbs 21:4; 1Timothy 2: 9 - 10). 

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”  1Peter 3:3-4  

The present obsession of many with body modification is a revival of tribalism.  It involves a painful initiation rite, which produces an identification with a certain tribe, clan or sub-culture.  The Kacipo people in Sudan stretch their lower lips to fit a saucer-sized pottery and they stretch their ear lobes to create huge holes and long earlobes.  Amongst the Nuba tribes in Sudan, multiple earrings, nose rings, body scarification and body painting are prevalent.  The Dinka and Nuer tribes in Sudan are easily identifiable by the pattern of scars across their foreheads.  Amongst the Hindus - nose studs, belly rings, toe rings, tongue studs and eyebrow rings are common.  Tattoos amongst the Amazon tribes identify the various members of a given tribe.  In Papua New Guinea, all kinds of body scarification, tattoos and body mutilation distinguish the various tribes.  And in the same way, eyebrow rings, nose rings, multiple earrings, nipple rings, belly rings and tongue studs distinguish identifiable sub-cultures in New York, London, Paris and other capitals of what is meant to be civilization. 

“The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves.”  Isaiah 3:9 

The interesting thing is that while so many Westerners rush into new age religions, body piercing and occultism, many millions in the tribes mentioned in Africa, South America, Asia and the Pacific islands, are being converted to Christ and are abandoning the body piercing practices of their pagan past.  It is very clear who are the Christians and who are the pagans in these mission fields.  The pagans wear little or no clothing and they engage in a variety of body scarification, body piercing and/or tattoos.  On the other hand, the Christians are easily identifiable – they wear clothes and they don’t engage in any body modification.   

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20 

Of course, some older people will still have the scars and the holes – testimony of the pagan past before they were converted – but all earrings, eyebrow rings, nose rings and such like have been removed.  And their children are free from these pagan disfigurements.  It is unheard of in these areas for Christians to voluntarily pierce or tattoo their bodies.  In fact, they are shocked when Western men visit them with ponytails and earrings.

“You are the children of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 14:1-2 

How then can we explain the widespread toleration and even practice of body piercing in far too many Christian Churches and even Bible Colleges and ministries in the West? 

 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.    For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.  Let no one deceive himself. .......”  1Corinthians 3:16-18 

Generally it starts off by assuming that if an earring is appropriate for a woman, then it is appropriate for men as well.  Some women then reasoned that if men were going to wear an earring, then they would wear multiple earrings.  And as so many in the world are wearing nose rings, eyebrow rings, belly rings, tongue studs, etc. then why shouldn’t we? 

“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  James 4:4 

As so many Christians have immersed themselves in pagan music, immoral videos and worldly amusements, it should not surprise us that so many of our youth are indistinguishable from their non-Christian friends.  The mind-rotting, brain-numbing, soul-destroying trash that fills the ears, eyes and minds of our youth should be sufficient explanation for the backslidden, immoral and un-Christian behaviour, which now even includes professing Christians disfiguring their bodies with pagan piercings. 

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  Romans 3:18 

It is time for Youth leaders and Pastors to study what the Scripture teaches on this subject and then to boldly, and without compromise, preach on these passages and call those people who are defiling their bodies to repent.  We need to take God’s Word seriously. 

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”   2Corinthians 7:1 

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1Thessalonians 5:23