The Challenge of Christ

[Eph. 5:14]---'Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.'

These words are not Paul's own words, but an echo from some Christian challenge ringing through his soul. It is quite possible they are a quotation from a message of Jesus not found in that form in the gospel. Whether they are literal words of Jesus or no, they contain the authentic note of Christ's message to man. The message of Jesus and the message of Christianity is a summons to life. Jesus went about always calling to sunken souls lying in some quiet backwater or stranded like a derelict on some shore of slackness or indifference--- 'Rise up and walk! Go, and sin no more!' He was always summoning men to life, challenging them out of their foolish ease and contentment, to leave all their unrealities and false values and to come into the great reality, which is to come face to face with God.

People talk about their weak wills as keeping them out of the Kingdom. It is not their weak wills that keep them out. That is the wrong understanding of psychology. The weak will does not keep us from rising. It is the fact that we believe our will has not the power to rise. That is what modern psychology is teaching us, and it is perfectly right. We can, because we think we can. That was the power of Jesus Christ. He made men think they could, and wherever He did that they arose. That is His power today. In the atmosphere of Jesus hope springs up, and the fatal burden is lifted from the will. Only listen to Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus of the Cross, the Jesus of the risen life, the Jesus who is alive today, with all the forces of God's universe and God's heart, focussed in Him for us. Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead---whatever it is---and Christ shall give thee light.

Jesus came to preach a life which is Christian through and through in all its relationships, and to preach the possibility of it. Christ knew of a world which, with all its resources, physical and spiritual, waits to back the man who will step out in faith and follow Him to the end. If a man is willing to go where God leads, God will see him through to the end of the journey. It is a long road, and there are many difficulties, but if a man is looking for a road in which there are no difficulties, he is looking for an impossible place. The very fact that we are getting somewhere is often just revealed by the fact that we are getting into difficulties. You may be very suspicious of the road of life on which you are walking, if it leads you into no difficulties. They are there to stimulate us. They make us strain our brains and our effort. They make men of us. They deliver us out of the vegetable stage. And wherever Christ leads, He has power to light the way. 'Awake, thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light.'

In Christ, timothy.