Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24
Godliness must be our principal business or we shall lose our reward. Precious things cannot be had without the greatest difficulty. They that desire great reward must run through many dangers. Nature herself will not bestow her precious treasure without much labour. Dirt lies common in the streets, but gold is buried deep in the earth. Stones may be found everywhere, but pearls are hidden in the bottom of the sea. Excellence is not gained without industry. Do you think that God will reveal such things as eye has not seen, not ear heard, nor interred into man’s heart, to lazy men who lie on beds of idleness? Those who seek to win the crown must prepare themselves, buffet their bodies, and stretch themselves to the utmost. He that loiters is sure to lose. It is Satan’s constant business to hinder godliness. When he is cast out he will age. With what force and fury he pursued Israel to bring them back to their former bondage. The cross is a Christian’s calling. The wind blows sharp and keen on the saints. Holiness is usually followed with much hatred and hardship. Satan especially is watchful to undermine souls. He is fitly called Beelzebub, the ‘master fly’, because as a fly he quickly returns to the bait from which he was beaten. Does not this fully show the necessity of making godliness our business? We will not conquer without much diligence. We must wake out of sleep and put forth all our strength. Our spiritual was admits no intermission and no truce. The time is short, the task is large, the work is important. We must shake off sloth and gird up the loins of our mind, to pursue godliness with industry against all opposition, to persevere in it with constancy, and make it our main and principal work.
In this classic devotional, John Calvin urges readers to apply the Christian life in a balanced way to mind, heart, and hand. Rather than focusing on contemplative otherworldliness, the book stresses the importance of a devotedly active Christian life. In style and spirit, this book is much like Augustine’s Confessions, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. However, its intense practicality sets it apart, making it easily accessible for any reader seeking to carry out Christian values in everyday life. Chapter themes include obedience, self-denial, the significance of the cross, and how we should live our lives today.