If I want to preach the gospel, I can only use my own voice; therefore I must train my vocal powers. I can only think with my own brains, and feel with my own heart, and therefore I must educate my intellectual and emotional faculties.
I can only weep and agonise for souls in my own renewed nature, therefore must I watchfully maintain the tenderness which was in Christ Jesus. It will be in vain for me to stock my library, or organise societies, or project schemes, if I neglect the culture of myself; for books, and agencies, and systems, are only remotely the instruments of my holy calling; my own spirit, soul, and body, are my nearest machinery for sacred service; my spiritual faculties, and my inner life, are my battle axe and weapons of war.
True and genuine piety is necessary as the first indispensable requisite; whatever “call” a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry.
~ Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students
I know that Christians are to be involved in spreading the gospel, and discipling each other. And I know that both of these functions are not the exclusive job of the minister in the pulpit.
That means I am called to these things as well. In reading this book by Spurgeon, even though it is directed to those in the seminary who are on the path to the podium, I find direct application as a member of the laity.
If I am looking to impact those around me for Christ and His kingdom, then I should humbly hear the admonition of Spurgeon to those in the ministry, as I am in the ministry as well (although to a somewhat lesser extent).
I’ve made it a few pages into the book, and there is already so much to consider, and the call for a real examination of the heart is so genuine — I must strive for Christ myself.
I should not first and foremost search the scriptures to prove a point, to win an argument, or even to help another believer in their walk. I myself must submit to scripture.
How tragic if I should read the Bible and miss the application for my own heart. How devastating to have been searching the scriptures for years in order to win arguments, and never have my heart drawn to Christ.