Forward or Backward.

“There can be no such thing as a Christian being stationary. We are always moving. Either there will be a pressing forward in Divine ways, or there must be declension from God and the Word of Truth. We do well to consider our motion; for on the one hand the backslider’s loss is very serious, both now and hereafter; and on the other there is great present and future gain accruing to the child of God, who steadily advances in the way of His commandments.

The annual stock-taking is of vital importance to the man of business, that he may know definitely how he stands financially and, should times be hard, stocktaking passes anxiously. None, save fools, carry on business without sometimes closing doors for an investigation of their affairs. How much rather should the Christian, in these “perilous times,” face the question in the presence of the Lord, “How am I getting on? Have I declined from the ways of God, turning to the right hand or to the left?” There can be nothing more needful for the believer than to enter his room, and having closed the door, look into the business of his soul in the Divine Presence.

How shall the mariner know that his vessel is out of her course through strong winds and adverse currents, unless he takes his bearings and consults his chart? A fine ship, with precious lives and valuable freight, has been entrusted to him, and neglect would be criminal. So with our lives as Christians: to whom much has been committed, of them much is required. “To the law and to the testimony “was the watchword of the faithful in Israel of old, when the nation’s propensity was backward (Isa. 8:20). We are facing fearful odds in these “last days,” but if there is the “purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord” (Acts 11:23), then by His grace the obstacles in our path will become so many incentives to renewed effort, and stepping stones to ultimate blessing. Even the feeblest saint may be enabled to say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).

The formation of Godly habits in life, persisted in from day to day, is the only way of spiritual growth and progression. There is no “royal road” to anything. No, it is a patient continuance in the will of God which crowns life with true success, and at the end earns our Lord’s “well done” (Matt. 25:21). May such be ours!