in the
 
The Great Obligation of a
True Christian 
From the writings of Gerhard Tersteegen - (1697-1769)



Gerhard Tersteegen was a German contemporary of John Wesley. He wished for a secluded life, but crowds besieged his dwelling place, eager to feast on the words of wisdom that fell from the lips of one who had been closeted with his Maker. Everywhere he went, crowds gathered by wayside, in barns, and in homes where their famished souls feasted upon the Bread of Life. Tersteegen was also a prolific hymn writer.

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If true Christians possess so great and sublime a dignity, they have also a great and sublime duty to observe, and that for the very same reason-they are not their own, but God's, both as it respects body and soul. Hence it is said in the words of our text, "Ye are not your own; therefore glorify God in your bodies and in your spirits which are God's."... The life of my spirit, the life of my body, my powers and faculties, belong not to me, but to God...

I must desire neither grace, nor long life, neither health, nor bodily powers, except for the sole end and purpose of applying them to the service of God to Whom they alone belong. I must devote all my powers and faculties to Him; all must be for him. If I only employ them in eating and drinking, in amassing money and possessions, or in attaining honor in order to live in ease and pleasure, I commit a culpable [accountable] wrong. I have no right nor authority over my bodily powers, no right nor power over my property. I must offer them up to God and devote them to His service...

This is that real and complete service which God requires of His people even as we read in Romans 12 that we are to "Present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God." [This is our "reasonable service."]... Therefore, since Christ has purchased my body and my senses, I must not lend my ears and eyes to hear or see anything sinful. Like Job, I must make a covenant with my eyes and ears that I do not desire to hear, see, taste, and feel anything that does not lead me to God...

I dare not love the world, nor that which is in the world-the lust [desires] of the flesh, the lust [desires] of the eye, and the [self-elevating] pride of life. My heart belongs entirely to God. I must, therefore, present and devote my love, my inclinations, and desires to him, or else I commit real sacrilege... Ought I to take pleasure in vanity? Have I not enough in Christ? Why ought I to desire anything else beside Him? This would be just as much as if I said to Him, "Thou alone art not enough. I must therefore have something else for my gratification besides Thee!"

This be far from us! Let us delight ourselves in the Lord alone and entirely, for He alone is able to give us all that our hearts can wish and desire both in time and eternity. Christ, Who has bought our hearts, not with gold and silver, but with His precious blood, and has, therefore, the greatest right to them, will not have them half and divided, but is desirous of possessing them entirely...

My will is not longer my own, since Christ has purchased me and has weaned my spirit from the world... I dare not use my will anymore according to my own will or my own good pleasure, for self-will must no more be mentioned amongst Christians.

The words, I will, and, I will not, are disgraceful in the mouth of a true Christian. Our will must be resigned to Christ. We must be prepared to live according to His will and not according to the will of the Gentiles [unbelievers]. We must ever be ready and willing to follow the smallest intimations of His good pleasure... We ought to renounce all right over our own will in order that Christ, by His Spirit, may alone will and not will in us...

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jer. 10:23)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom. 8:14)

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh {as he dies out to the self-originated way of life} hath ceased from sin {self-will}; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2)
Therefore as much as we do not seek to walk according to our [God-ordained] vocation, holy and blamelessly in the sight of God...God is not only not glorified by us, but rather dishonored and disgraced. For when those individuals who have the appearance of being particularly devoted and attached to godliness, [live]...as the world does, the latter [the world] is then ready to say, "Look... These are the people who wear the name of pious saints and regenerate, and yet they are no less fond of vanity than the world and seek after wealth and riches and after great honors. It is all mere hypocrisy with them. It is true, they have the name that they live, but they are not less spiritually dead than other men."...

 

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