To follow Christ is not freedom from conflict. It is not child’s play. It is not spiritual idleness. All the enjoyment in Christ’s service means sacred obligations in meeting oft stern conflicts. To follow Christ means stern battles, active labor, warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our enjoyment is the victories gained for Christ in earnest, hard warfare. Think of this.
“We are labourers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Christ engaged in the great work for which He lived and died. We are to be instant in season and out of season. And why? “For ye are bought with a price,” and have enlisted under the banner of Prince Emmanuel. We are enlisted for labor, “not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27). We are to work out our own salvation with fear and with trembling. We are not our own. We are bought with a price, to glorify God with our bodies and spirits, which are His. A work is to be done. There is a faithful work to do in His vineyard. And to every man is given his work. If we are privileged with the bread of life, we must work in the Lord’s vineyard. A charge comes to us to deny ourselves and take up the cross and follow Christ. We are to run the race set before us with persevering earnestness. This oft requires energetic movements. We cannot be idlers. We are urged, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” …
We must keep constantly before the ones who are pledged to the service of Christ that it means diligence. It means to be faithful workers, to do all possible to win souls to Christ. It is a constant watchfulness to be faithful unto death, to fight the good fight of faith until the warfare is ended and as overcomers we shall receive the crown of life.
This means much more than we take in. Christ is our example. The Christian warfare is not a life of indulgence to eat and drink and dress as self-indulgent worldlings. The Lord Jesus came in human nature to our world to give His precious life as an example of what our life should be. He is the specimen, not of spiritual indulgence, but of a life constantly before us of self-denial, self-sacrifice. We have the correct view that Christ our Pattern came to give us. There is before us the Prince of heaven, the Son of God. He laid aside the royal crown and the princely robe and came to take His position in our world as a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. How few take it in!—Manuscript 156, July 22, 1907, “Diary Fragments.”