This blog focuses on the quest to know and please God in a constantly increasing way. The upward journey never ends. My prayer is that this blog will reflect a heart that seeks God and that it will encourage others who share the same heart desire.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Fear of the Lord

What is the fear of the Lord? As a teenager, it seemed to me that was the second most popular question, (following, "How can I know God's will for my life?") Is the fear of the Lord being scared of Him, having reverence for Him, somewhere in the middle, or a combination of both? In spite of multiple sermons on the subject, I was aware that I did not understand the concept. Years later my understanding awakened as I was reading through Proverbs and recognized the link between wisdom and the fear of the Lord.

I believe my understanding was first triggered by Proverbs 8:13, which states, "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil." Part of the fear of the Lord is to hate and therefore avoid the things that God hates and declares to be evil. If I fear Him, I will want to be careful not to offend Him or violate His commands. Instead I place myself in a position of humble obedience. This understanding relates to the negative side of the fear of the Lord, leaning toward the interpretation associated with being afraid of Him.

The opposite is also true. If I fear the Lord, not only will I want to avoid what He hates, but I will also want to do what He loves. I will want to please Him by involving myself in what is precious to Him. I will want to be His servant or attendant, constantly doing things that bring Him pleasure. This positive side corresponds to the interpretation of reverence, admiration, or devotion.

Both aspects are dependent upon seeing God as big and myself as small. Both are also dependent on knowing how God evaluates things - what He loves and what He hates. This is where the Bible comes into the picture. Through the Bible I learn about God's attributes; as I see how great He is, it is natural for me to see the contrast of my proper place. God is someone to honor and not to offend, and my role is to give Him honor and avoid offense.

As I read the Bible, I also gain wisdom to know how to achieve those objectives. True wisdom comes from God’s Word, from a life-long pursuit of learning more and more of God’s thinking. This wisdom from the Word is far more than academic knowledge; it is something beyond a theological mastery of biblical facts. Truly valuable wisdom is prompted by motive and is gained as I understand the fear of the Lord through the pages of God's Word. Practical wisdom for the everyday Christian life is found as I long to know God so that I can better please Him.

Only with that motivation for my diligent seeking  will my heart be prepared to fully grasp the wisdom that God's Word provides. Deep wisdom does not come automatically to everyone who reads and studies the Word; it is only with the additional component of the fear of the Lord and the accompanying humility that the barriers are broken down and God really starts to show His truth. "He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. . . . Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. . . . The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him" (Psalm 25:8b,9,12,14a).

I had often wondered why "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom"; I didn't understand what the two things had to do with each other. In part, I had never fully understood that verse before because I had never really grasped the concept of the fear of the Lord before. It takes humility to be convinced that I don’t have the answers and that I am truly dependent on God for Him to show the way. That humility comes when I properly understand the relationship between God and myself. When I fear Him, I now have a reason to seek His wisdom.

Wisdom can be found as I seek it in the Word. Wisdom personified speaks in Proverbs 8:17, "I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me." As I diligently seek the Word, I will see the glory of God and begin to fear Him, which allows me to receive wisdom. It is freely offered to all who will seek, regardless of their innate ability to start with. Wisdom calls out, "'Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!' To him who lacks understanding, she says, 'Come, eat of my food'" (Proverbs 8:4-5a). This wisdom enables me to live out the concept of the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord is being so aware and in awe of who God is that I diligently seek to learn what His desire for me is in every situation of life so that by doing the right thing I can please Him rather than offending Him. Both the knowledge of God and the wisdom for knowing what to do come from a diligent seeking in the Word of God. The fear of the Lord is the starting point for wisdom; it is what drives me to seek true wisdom, which can only be known by learning to know God and His Word. I seek the wisdom not for its own sake, but because I am concerned to please the God I fear.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Proverbs 9:10 (NASB)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Long Battle

         The Long Battle (Sonnet 48)
A battle fierce portrays the Christian life;
It’s muddy, nasty, hard, and ugly, too.
Exhausting, daunting, unrelenting strife
Is marked by blood and dirt unfeigned and true.
A focused effort’s always in demand.
There is no rest; the fighting is profuse.
Day after day, defeat seems close at hand.
Discouragement proclaims, “It is no use.”
Days don’t show progress taken one by one,
Yet each is working in the grander scheme.
The triumph sure will come when battle’s done;
There will be peace and sunlight’s golden gleam.
“Stand strong, fight on,” we hear our Captain ask;
“My armor will be equal to the task.”

The battle must be faced with God's truth. No matter how difficult, prolonged, or hopeless the battle may seem, God's Word has the answer. The key is to keep the truth of the Bible ready and close at hand.

It is not difficult to compile a list of verses particularly suited for temptations. Many verses are so familiar that the believer needs only to focus his mind for a few moments, and he will remember verses regarding particular topics. A concordance or study Bible can also provide a quick list of pertinent verses. Friends, family, or spiritual leaders can suggest verses. Many online resources are also available to direct readers to verses on particular subjects.

Memorizing selected verses is a great way to have the right weapon ready. When verses are committed to memory ahead of time, the Holy Spirit can bring them to mind in the time of need. When faced with the temptation, the believer also has a great opportunity to choose an appropriate verse and commit it to memory. The memorization must be more than merely parroting the words, however. The verse will be effective in the believer's heart when he has taken the time to thoughtfully consider the verse and understand its meaning.

Posting verses in a prominent place is another good method. This practice does not require creativity or artistic ability. A plain old pen and a simple three-by-five card will do the trick. The verse card can then be posted on the mirror or the kitchen sink, carried in the pocket, or placed in the front of a Bible. It can be inserted into the clear pocket on the front of a notebook or propped against the computer screen. The idea is to have the verse in a visible place where it can be seen easily and often throughout the day.

In particularly trying times or in seasons of sustained attack, a compilation of verses can surpass a single card. The believer can systematically write down special and appropriate verses that come his way throughout the course of the temptation. Some he will read in his own quiet time, some will be shared by friends, while still others will be from church services or books. This gradually growing collection of verses highlights the preponderance of support from the Bible. The variety allows different verses to be helpful on different days.

This assortment of cards can be placed on a ring, and the believer can flip through them, seeing verse after verse to help in his current situation. Perhaps certain verses will be favorites, but each one can contribute to gaining the victory. In the quest to deeply understand the truth of the verses and mine out their true value, the Christian may find it helpful to underline or circle certain words. He can draw lines or arrows to connect parts of the verse and can jot down notes of explanation and insight. This meditation makes the verse into a reassuring and well-suited weapon that is primed for the attack.

Whatever the particular method used, the believer under attack must return frequently to the Bible. He must remember its truth and trust the God of the truth. With the Bible as his powerful weapon, the temptation can be conquered and victory can be achieved.

"Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You." Psalm 119:11 (NASB)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Battles: The Weapon

Recent posts have examined the topic of spiritual battles, which are very real and very serious. They are waged against enemies too formidable for man to face or defeat on his own. Christians are blessed to be provided with armor from God to protect against the perilous attacks. The defensive pieces of armor give great confidence and assurance, but the Christian is not limited to being only on the defensive. The Christian also possesses a great offensive weapon to help in the battle.

"And [take] the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17b). The Word of God allows the believer to go on the attack. When used properly, Scripture can pierce right through a temptation of the flesh, leaving it wounded, struggling for air, contorted in pain, until it actually dies. When the devil comes with an attack, the Word of God can frighten and intimidate him until he runs away in defeat, forced to seek a better weapon or a more opportune moment.

The Bible can do these things because there is no other book like it. Hebrews 4:12 describes the Word of God as being "living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword." No matter what the focus of the attack, the Bible has the answer; it also has the power to drive that answer home. This same verse reveals that the Bible has the ability to do what other sources cannot do: "piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

The Bible can penetrate areas that earthly weapons cannot touch. The Bible gets right to the soul and spirit. It reaches the thoughts and intentions of the heart. In other words, the Bible is a spiritual book and is effective in the spiritual realm. This is important because the battle is a spiritual battle. It "is not against flesh and blood" (Ephesians 6:12). In a battle that is beyond the physical, the believer needs a weapon that can fight effectively on the spiritual plane.

Like any soldier, the Christian needs to learn how to use his weapon so that it is effective. Certainly there is more to spiritual warfare than simply waving one's Bible in the air when he senses an attack. Jesus provided a demonstration during His own temptation, recorded in Matthew 4. Satan came to Jesus with three attacks that are specifically recorded. In each case Jesus quoted a verse of Scripture that was appropriate for the particular temptation.

John 3:16, for example, is a wonderful verse, but it is not the weapon particularly suited for every attack. The believer must familiarize himself with a variety of verses so that he has effective weapons for the varied attacks he faces. In temptations of long duration, the Christian may have time to search out a weapon or add to his arsenal, but in spontaneous attacks, he will be better able to achieve victory if his weapons have been prepared ahead of time. This is particularly true if the believer is aware of an area of recurring temptation. A few examples might be beneficial.

·         A mother plagued by worry about her children might keep this sword sharpened and at hand: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).

·         A father who loses his job and fears being able to provide for his family might recall, "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

·         A young lady who has realized her boyfriend is not walking with God but she believes herself incapable of breaking the relationship can thrust out with "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

·         A young Christian who faces discouragement and despair at ever reaching spiritual maturity can brandish "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).

·         And an elderly Christian who quivers at the fear of death can boldly wave "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).

The devil will cringe and flee when the right truth is presented to parry and repel his blows; additionally, the believer himself will be strengthened and stabilized as he remembers truth. The defensive armor is based on God's work and God's truth, and the believer needs to trust God and have confidence in that armor. The offensive weapon is also based on God's truth, and the believer needs to remember the truth so he can fight off the attack.

These attacks are very much centered in the battlefield of the mind. The victory comes when the mind is disciplined to think on the right truth. In speaking of spiritual warfare, II Corinthians 10:5 states, "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." When the thoughts are brought into subjection, the believer is able not only to withstand the attacks, but also to fight back and win the victory. God's Word has that kind of power.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses." II Corinthians 10:4 (NASB)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Battles: The Armor

Thankfully, in the fierce battles that face the Christian, he is not defenseless. Satan, along with the worldly system that he governs, presents a formidable foe. While the Christian does feel the intensity of the onslaught, he does not have to crumble under the attack. It is possible for a believer to stand firm when he is sheathed in the armor of God.

The description of the Christian's armor in Ephesians 6:10-18 makes it abundantly clear that the defense depends upon God. Left to himself, the believer would never be able to face the daunting attacks. With God to strengthen and protect him, however, the result is much different.

The believer is first commanded to be strong. Twice in verse 10, that strength is attributed to being God's: "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." There is no human strength capable of meeting the other-worldly enemy.

The second command is to "put on the full armor of God" (v. 11). It is sometimes assumed that the various pieces of armor relate to something the believer is supposed to do - like being truthful, being righteous, and sharing the gospel. On the contrary, each piece of the armor is something God provides as protection for the Christian. The believer's only hope is in clothing himself with the armor that only God can manufacture.

"Having girded your loins with truth" - Truth is the belt that holds everything together, but it is not man's truth. It is God's truth. The believer takes the truths of God's Word, and those truths help to protect him against the attacks. The stabilizing truths of God tell the believer that God has redeemed him, that God always loves him, that God is always with him, that God has power to defend him. In the midst of the battle, there is no room for doubts, errors, or wrong thinking, but a believer can stand firm when he is surrounded by God's truth.

"Having put on the breastplate of righteousness" - Righteousness is the protection that covers the most vulnerable parts. One powerful thrust through the heart and man would be finished. He needs therefore a breastplate that no sword can pierce. Man's righteousness is not sufficient. When someone is saved, Christ's righteousness is imputed to him. Christ's righteousness is so perfect that the armor has no chink that can be exploited. There can be no ultimate defeat and no condemnation when Christ's righteousness provides the protection.

"Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace" - The gospel is what carries the believer on his journey. The gospel is one of peace; the salvation that Christ provided not only brings peace to the condemned soul but will ultimately lead to peace in His kingdom - the only true peace the world will ever know. Christ will end all wars by winning the ultimate battle. The awareness of this gospel gives hope and confidence to the believer to be able to move forward.

"Taking up the shield of faith" - Faith is the shield that is able to withstand the brunt of the attacks. The attacks are not always the same. The flaming arrows may at times represent doubts or fears or confusion or any other temptation, but faith in God and in His Word can stop every arrow. Just as a shield can shift positions, the Word of God is so versatile that it can be directed effectively regardless of the focus of the attack. God's Word, God's promises, and God's character are worthy of faith. When the arrows fly, the believer responds with "But God says . . . ," and the extinguished arrows fall harmlessly to the ground.

"Take the helmet of salvation" - Salvation is the protection for another vital area of the body. Again, one well-placed blow to the head would finish the soldier, but God's salvation cannot be conquered. Once for all His salvation is complete. Those who are saved are now invincible through the efficient work of Christ. They cannot be destroyed and cannot taste of eternal death.

Each of these pieces of defensive armor is from God. The armor is not about what the believer does. It is about relying on what God has already done and already said. The believer is protected due to his position in Christ, and as long as he remembers the protection, he can stand firm without fearing the battle.

Standing firm sounds like a great challenge in the midst of a ferocious battle. The fact that it can be done attests to the quality of the armor. When the believer trusts the armor and has confidence in it, he can stand firm under a barrage of arrows and under unending attacks. He knows that no real damage can be done and that the assault is powerless. If the believer forgets or loses confidence in the armor, he will fall down, surrender, be captured, hide, or retreat. He can allow himself to be defeated needlessly and to give up when the victory is at hand. The armor of man would give reason to despair, but the armor of God means victory is always possible.

"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Ephesians 6:13 (NASB)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Battles: The Enemy

There is no question that a Christian faces battles as he attempts to live for God. It is a given that there cannot be a battle without an enemy. As a soldier fights, he must be aware of who the enemy is. Who or what is the enemy of the Christian soldier?

My mind goes to a phrase that I must have heard repeatedly as a child. I do not believe the phrase is from a verse of Scripture; perhaps it is not even based on a particular passage of Scripture. Nevertheless, I believe it is a valid biblical summary of the Christian's enemies. This phrase identified the dangers to the believer as "the flesh, the world, and the devil."

First, the Christian does battle the flesh. When he is saved, a Christian becomes "a new creature" (II Corinthians 5:17). He still lives, however, in a weak body of flesh. When reading Paul's testimony in Romans 7, I used to think he was exaggerating or dramatizing. After all, how could the apostle Paul literally mean, "The good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want" (v. 19)? His words make it sound like he was constantly fighting against himself as he struggled to do the right thing.

The further I go in my Christian walk, the more I think I understand his words. As a believer grows closer and more sensitive to God, he notices things that he did not notice before. Perhaps there is greater success in doing the right thing in terms of outward actions that are expected (or not expected) from a believer. The battles become more subtle or refined, and the greatest battles are now in the mind and the will.

Instead of going to church or not going, for example, the battle becomes the attitude with which one goes, the sensitivity to respond to the message, the determination to truly worship God, the negative thoughts toward other church members, the struggle to properly show love, and so on. Beyond merely wanting to stay home and relax, the flesh wants to focus on itself rather than submitting to or serving someone else in these ways.

When a believer becomes more aware of these temptations, he can relate more fully to the apostle Paul's struggle. Like Paul, the Christian with a heart for God can "joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man," (v. 22); he can sincerely desire to do right. Like Paul, he also becomes aware of the flesh, which Paul said was "waging war against the law of [his] mind and making [him] a prisoner of the law of sin" (v. 23).

Second, the world is an enemy to believers. The world's philosophies and systems are driven by an attempt to escape the demands of God and to make oneself the authority and focus. The world's system is revealed through the culture, and most notably today through the entertainment industry. Sports figures, entertainers, musicians, celebrity magazines, television, and movies are constantly bombarding the Christian (either directly or as mirrored in society) with what the world perceives to be popular and accepted.

The philosophies and lifestyles promoted by these cultural icons are (with very few exceptions) in direct opposition to what God desires for His children. When a Christian "loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world" (I John 2:15-16). A fascination for the world will serve only to pull Christians away from God, and Paul shared an example: "Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me" (II Timothy 4:9).

Third, Christians face the devil as a powerful enemy. Satan is ruthless; he desires to destroy Christians and to eliminate their impact for God. This "adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8). In the Ephesians 6 passage about the armor of God, Paul states that the armor is necessary to protect against "the schemes of the devil" (v. 11) and "all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (v. 16). This battle is not as simple as a traditional earthly battle; the Christian's battle is "against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (v. 12).

These three enemies work together. Satan may not be a visible figure that Christians can observe, but he prolifically spreads his poison through the mouthpieces and philosophies of the world. He also knows the weakness of the flesh, and he targets those vulnerabilities, as he attempted to do when he tempted Jesus. The weakness of the flesh causes the philosophies of the world to look appealing as well as making them hard to resist even when one knows they are wrong. The believer fights sin - sin that his flesh longs for, sin that the world promotes as acceptable and desirable, and sin that the devil presents through his traps. The enemies of a Christian are real, and they are powerful. The believer must therefore be alert and stand firm.

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert." I Peter 5:8a (NASB)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Battles and Workouts

Growth, whether physical or spiritual, does not always come easily. The apostle Paul describes his struggle in Romans 7. This greatly admired spiritual hero faced some difficult internal battles. He wanted to do the right thing. He wanted to please God. At times, however, his flesh reared up in fierce opposition to the good that he sought.

Like Paul and many other Christians, I often find myself in difficult battles. My overall mindset for life is to want to do the right thing. Often I am even conscious of wanting to do the right thing in the particular situation of the moment. Sadly, mingled with those desires are rebellious and conflicting thoughts and emotions. Discouragement clouds my ability to evaluate clearly. Negative thoughts lead me to project a dismal outlook for the spiritual battle. It is easy to feel so defeated that future victory does not even seem possible. Spiritual progress seems doomed to remain mired in a mucky swamp.

I wish I could say that I consistently seek to leave that swamp in a timely fashion. By God's grace, I trust that I am learning to extricate myself from it more quickly and more effectively. I thank God for the many times He has led me back to solid ground and has renewed me spiritually. Rather than focusing on the prolonged stays in the muck, I want to focus on the path out.

The journeys toward victory are centered around time with God. Often they fill an evening, a Sunday afternoon, or hours in the night. The journeys start in the muck, as I express my complaint. I talk to God about what is bothering me. I try to take the nebulous and confused feelings and put them into words. In essence, I am identifying the enemy. While ultimately sin and Satan are the foe, the particular attack varies in its character.

Once I know the enemy, the error, I must think on the right truth to combat it. God's Word always has the answers to the spiritual battles. It remains for me to think on truth, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts to the right message for the battle of the moment. As I think on those truths, I must choose to submit to them. I must declare God's Word to be right rather than insisting on what I think is right.

With the sword of the Word to drive back the enemy, the momentum of the battle shifts. The grey day turns sunny. The heavy heart is lifted. What has seemed hopeless begins to shine with victory. The battle that has seemed impossible turns out not to be impossible after all.

The battle, however, is just that - a battle. Some of these spiritual struggles may last hours, even days or weeks. The victory, once it is achieved, is sweet, but the process can be draining and demanding. The act of slaying one's own will and causing it to bow in subjection to the will of God does not come easily or without cost. Such a fight can leave the believer weary both physically and emotionally, though the resulting peace and growth are well worth the effort.

I am reminded of a workout in the gym. That is not easy either. Running on the treadmill or working on the equipment can leave the athlete weary. Every muscle can feel stretched and weary, maybe even trembling. The person may want to crash on the couch and not move for hours. He may even vow never to do such a workout again.

In spite of his weariness, a wise athlete knows that the workout is worth the effort. No pain, no gain. He knows the muscles will heal themselves and be stronger than before. He knows that his level of endurance is increasing. He knows that his diligent effort will contribute to better health and a stronger body.

The spiritual struggle is just the same. The spiritual workouts can be demanding. They can require every ounce of energy. They can require focused discipline to bring oneself under the will of God. The believer's faith can be stretched to new levels. The gain of such a workout is well worth the pain. Through the process of humbling oneself, through the effort of turning toward truth, through the strain of choosing to reach for faith, through the exercise of chewing on the meat of the Word, the believer grows stronger and healthier. The spiritual battles may be exhausting, but they are battles that must be fought.

"Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." I Corinthians 9:26-27 (NASB)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Whose Fault?

             Whose Fault? (Sonnet 21)
Our Lord was brought to face the angry crowd,
And Pilate said, “I find no fault in Him.”
Not satisfied, they cried with voices loud
And made demands to pass a sentence grim.
No fault in Him at all - His life was pure.
Though tempted sore, He would not yield to sin.
Without a flaw, His innocence is sure,
A guilty charge impossible to win.
Why die condemned when Jesus had no fault?
He died for faults, ‘tis true, but they were mine.
Incapable of meeting sin’s assault,
With frequency I broke the law divine.
Though I’ve offended with transgressions rife,
He shed His sinless blood to give me life.

I am thinking once more of the Savior and of what He means to me. His sacrifice is really more than I can comprehend. He was entirely innocent, yet rather than fight or protest, He quietly endured the false accusations. He faced the anger and hatred of the crowd, and He went to a cruel death that He did not deserve.

While Christ's acceptance of suffering and death is in itself mind-boggling, it is even more amazing when I consider that He did it for me - and for every other sinner in the world. He took the place of those who had violated His law, and He died for those who were opposed to Him.

What makes this sacrifice so special is the power that it has to achieve results. Through Jesus' death and through my acceptance of His gift of love, I can be reconciled to God. I was His enemy, but He makes me His child. My sins are forgiven and my faults forgotten as I enter the family of God. I am now able to enjoy a wonderful relationship of close friendship with the One to whom I caused such unjust pain. How can I fail to love such a Savior? How can I fail to dedicate myself to living for and serving Him?

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (NASB)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I Would Love to Tell

A valuable component of any relationship is appreciation for the other person. One values his spouse or friend when he realizes and remembers the wonderful characteristics of that person. It is important for a Christian to take time to think about his Savior; Charles F. Weigle reflected beautifully in his hymn "I Would Love to Tell You What I Think of Jesus."
The chorus states,

"No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There's no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin
And darkness from me;
O how much He cared for me."

These words nail what is so precious about Jesus. He is one of a kind, completely unmatched. There is no one who can care as much as the Savior. This great love was expressed by an action that no one else could have done either. No one else could save his friends from sin. What love!

The first stanza describes Him as "so strong and true." The testimony then continues.
"I would tell you how He changed my life completely;
He did something no other friend could do."

Again, no one else could do that. Friends or family may encourage someone to make good choices. They may influence him for the better. They cannot, however, change his life completely. Only Jesus has that power and ability.

The second stanza again identifies the motive for such intervention.
"Jesus placed His strong and loving arms around me
And He led me in the way I ought to go."

The wonder is that Jesus' love never ceases. His kind intervention in the lives of His children never ends. The third stanza gives this blessed truth.
"Ev'ry day He comes to me with new assurance;
More and more I understand His words of love."

Salvation is just the beginning. From there the love of God continues. In human relationships, love can grow cold. People can get into the habit of forgetting to tell others of their love. Jesus continues to reminds His redeemed ones of His love by expressing it to them day after day. As the believer reflects on this great love, he cannot help but to appreciate his Savior more and more. He is so precious!

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (NASB)