HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.–Matthew 27:22
Jesus Is Unavoidable
One possible answer to this question is:
- I shall have nothing to do with Him at all.
- I shall ignore Him and pay no heed to Him.
- If He confronts me when I go to church, I shall deliberately avoid the church.
- If He steals on me when I am quite alone, I shall do my best never to be alone.
- If He meets me in certain companies, so that I am very conscious of His presence, I shall be careful to choose my company elsewhere.
- I shall bar every window against Him. Against His coming, I shall bolt my doors.
- I shall give injunctions to my lodgekeeper that He is never to have access to my avenue.
But the extraordinary thing about the Lord is (and there are thousands who can testify to this) that to get rid of Him is utterly impossible. He is inevitable. He is unavoidable. Just because He is love, He laughs at locksmiths. As on the evening of the resurrection day, when the doors are shut, comes Jesus. Just when a man thinks that he is safe, secure from the intrusions of the Lord, He is there, within the circuit of the life, closer than breathing, nearer than hands or feet.
Indecisions That Are Not Intellectual but Are Moral
Another common answer to this question is: Really I can’t make up my mind. Folk are in perplexity today, and therefore halting between two opinions. Now I want to say, gently but quite firmly, that is often a dishonest answer. The difficulty is not in making up the mind. The difficulty is in making up the will. There are indecisions that are not intellectual: they are moral; they are based on character; they strike their roots into some secret sin. The real problem is not making up; the real problem is giving up. We are all tempted to cloak our moral weakness in the garb of intellectual perplexity. But even when the answer is entirely honest, there is one thing that should never be forgotten, and that is the great fact of life that not to decide is to decide against. A man is travelling in a railway train. Shall he get out at such and such a station? He vacillates; halts between two opinions; really he can’t make up his mind. Meantime the train has drawn up at the station and is off again thundering through the dark–and the man has decided against alighting there, just because he could not make his mind up. Few people calmly and deliberately decide against the Lord. But multitudes do it who never thought to do it, by the easy way of not deciding. And while I would rush nobody’s decision (just as I would not let anyone rush mine), a wise man will accept his universe, and never ignore the great facts of life.
Postponed Decisions May Never Be Made
Another common answer to this question is: I shall accept Him by and by. I have no intention of dying out of Christ, but meantime I want to have my liberty. Life is sweet; it is a thrilling world; I want the colour and music for a little. Leave me the gold and glory of the morning, and I shall settle matters in the afternoon. I trust my readers will not be vexed with me if I call that the meanest of all answers: nobody ever likes to be thought to mean. Who that had a loved one on a sickbed would bring that loved one a bunch of withered flowers? And yet many seem to be perfectly content in the thought of offering Christ a withered heart–and He has loved us with a love that is magnificent, and has died for us upon the cross, and is the finest Comrade in the world. It is true that there is always hope: a man may be saved at the eleventh hour. “Betwixt the stirrup and the ground, I mercy sought and mercy found.” My fear is not that Christ will mock the prayer that is offered at the eleventh hour. It is that when the eleventh hour comes a man may have quite lost the power to pray. There are things that we can do at one-and-twenty that are almost impossible at sixty. At one-and-twenty one may be a footballer; very rare are the footballers of sixty. And to surrender oneself to the Lord Jesus Christ is a far more intense activity than football. Perhaps that is why at sixty it is rare.
Christ Will Not Accept Any Place in Your Heart but the First Place
Another answer to this greatest of all questions is the frequent one: I shall compromise. I shall give Him a certain place in my heart, so far as other interests will permit. I have no intention of being out and out; I am not going to carry my heart upon my sleeve. I shall do my duty and lead a decent life, and come to church, and be present at communion. But the strange thing that the meek and lowly Saviour, who was content with a manger and a cottage, is not content with that. Offer Him a place in your life, and the extraordinary thing is that He refuses it. His peace is never won under such conditions; His joy is never a factor in experience. As Henry Drummond put it once, “Gentlemen, keep Christ in His own place–but remember that His place is the first.” “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
The Decision Must Be Made Here and Now
There is perhaps only one other answer. It is: I accept Him now. Here and now I yield myself to Him, for that is my reasonable service. Paul did that, going to Damascus, and it changed the universe for him. Augustine did that, in the quiet garden, and it freed him from the tyranny of vice. There are millions everywhere, right across the world, who, giving that instant answer to the question, have found life and liberty and power. My prayer is that these words of mine may lead to such immediate decision. “There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.” “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found. Call ye upon Him while He is near.” He will never be nearer than just now.