And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. Exodus 9:16.
Christian life is more than many take it to be. It does not consist wholly in gentleness, patience, meekness, and kindliness. These graces are essential; but there is need also of courage, force, energy, and perseverance. The path that Christ marks out is a narrow, self-denying path. To enter that path and press on through difficulties and discouragements, requires men who are more than weaklings.
Men of stamina are wanted, men who will not wait to have their way smoothed, and every obstacle removed, men who will inspire with fresh zeal and flagging efforts to dispirited workers, men whose hearts are warm with Christian love, and whose hands are strong to do their Master’s work.
Some who engage in missionary service are weak, nerveless, spiritless, easily discouraged. They lack push. They have not those positive traits of character that give power to do something,—the spirit and energy that kindle enthusiasm. Those who would win success must be courageous and hopeful. They should cultivate not only the passive but the active virtues. While they are to give the soft answer that turns away wrath, they must possess the courage of a hero to resist evil. With the charity that endures all things, they need the force of character that will make their influence a positive power.
Some have no firmness of character…. This weakness, indecision, and inefficiency should be overcome…. Men of power are those who have been opposed, baffled, and thwarted. By calling their energies into action, the obstacles they meet prove to them positive blessings. They gain self-reliance. Conflict and perplexity call for the exercise of trust in God, and for that firmness which develops power.