"Love for God and love for man- the essential quality for leading men to God". Growth of a Soul.
"There is nothing more contagious than spiritual joy, when it is the real thing". Growth of a Soul.
I have just finished the first half of the biography of Hudson Taylor and how encouraging and convicting it is. Let me address each quote individually- as they came from 2 separate parts of the book.
"Love for God and love for man- the essential quality for leading men to God". Growth of a Soul. Scripture backs this statement up in 1 Cor. 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
The Pharisees certainly had many of these things going for them; they knew as much or more than most in their time, they understood, they gave much but they had no love. The Word of God can get into our heads and we can regurgitate it to those around us, but if "they will not care how much we know until they know how much we care" is certainly true in our time as much as it was in Jesus' time and in Hudson Taylor's as well. Do you love people? Do you love God more than your own life? Would you lay down your life/desires for others as Christ was our example?
"There is nothing more contagious than spiritual joy, when it is the real thing". Growth of a Soul. This of course ties in with the first one. How do we know it is the real thing? In Hudson's day there were none in China who would say that joy was easy to come by. By age 27- where I am in the books- he has been through so much pain and loss and yet through it all there is joy inexpressible in his life that can only come from the Holy Spirit's working. Even pagans could see this was something different from most everyone around him, including other missionaries.
You've seen them- "Christians" who have no joy. Everything in their life is terrible. They are Eeyore wrapped up in a human shell. If it could go wrong it has happened to them and the only happiness they have is sharing their misery with everyone around them. Could they even be Christians?
This great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, Heb. 12, didn't have life easy; their lives were filled with pain and heart ache, but they had joy as they lived on unseen things. Hudson had so many trials and yet he was joyful in them. Christ suffered more than any human and yet for the joy set before Him He endured the cross.
Can we impact the world for Christ without trials and pain? Sure. But anyone can be joyful when everything is going along smoothly. The real test for us, and for others to watch, is when we are going through trials and we still are joyful in spite of the most difficult of situations. This can only come by us seeing the Prize of Christ and following hard after Him. If we lose all and yet gain Him, we gain what is best. That has to be our "best thought by day or by night".
May the evidence of Christ's work on our behalf and the Holy Spirit's work in us, be so unmistakable that the world has to say there is something different enough about us that they are drawn to the Savior because of His work. He has to do the work and provide the fruit of His Spirit in our lives so we can be different. May He use us to change the world.