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Conformed to Image of Christ

By Alan Redpath

      There is no type of service any of us can undertake which is beset with so much potential as is the service of the Master. On the one hand, there is so much that is rewarding, and on the other hand, so much that is disappointing. Many are the obstacles to be overcome and many the pitfalls to be avoided. On how many occasions we have taken up a task in the name of the Lord only to withdraw, beaten, discouraged, and baffled, and yet, somehow, baffled to fight better. For every discouragement has been allowed to come to us in order that through it we may be cast in utter helplessness at the Saviour's feet. Then we return to the battle again, no longer trusting in the false and insufficient human resources which so foolishly we had taken into the battle, but now trusting in the limitless resources of our risen Lord.

      Never was there a time when there was a greater need for men of passion, men of principle, men of Holy Spirit vision, in the service of the Lord. It is impossible for any of us to become any of these things unless first we have stood in the midst of the work which the Master has given to us and have seen the futility of everything that can ever come from our own imagined strength or weakness. These are lessons which most of us learn the hard way, and we learn them in a school from which we never graduate until we enter the very presence of the Master Himself.

      It is my firm conviction . . . that, in choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world, our Heavenly Father also had in His eternal plan the sphere of service with which He intended to entrust us. In doing so, surely He had in mind that through our reaction in all the testing of Christian work and through our faithfulness or lack of it in the opportunities that He is pleased to give us, we are fashioned into the likeness of His dear Son. . . .

      What a day it will be when the Lord welcomes us home! Indeed, it will be worth it all when we see Jesus. We will understand then, as we can never understand now, that the very wounds which so often have been inflicted upon us have been the means of conforming us to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of making Him all the more precious to us.

      Circumstances which we have resented, situations which we have found desperately difficult, have all been the means in the hands of God of driving the nails into the self-life which so easily complains. His dealing causes us to rejoice in the midst of affliction, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17).

      . . . . Praise God, we shall come to the heavenly Jerusalem and understand, for ". . .   then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12) (pp. 7, 8, 189-190).

                  O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
                  Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
                  I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
                  Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my guide.

                  O Jesus, Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee,
                  That where Thou art in glory there shall Thy servant be;
                  And, Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
                  O give me grace to follow, my Master and my Friend
                                                                                          -- John E. Bode

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