The art of living a Christian life
(J. R. Miller, "How to Live a Beautiful Christian Life" 1880)
"Whoever claims to live in Him—must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6
We have only successfully acquired the art of living a Christian life—when we have learned to apply the principles of true religion, and enjoy its help and comfort in our daily life.
It is easy to join in devotional exercises, to quote Bible promises, to extol the beauty of the Scriptures. But there are many who do these things—whose religion utterly fails them in the very places and at the very times—when it ought to prove their staff and stay!
All of us must go out from the sweet services of the Sunday—into a week of very real and very commonplace life. We must mingle with people who are not angels! We must pass through experiences, that will naturally worry and vex us. Those about us, either wittingly or unwittingly, annoy and try us! We will meet many troubles and worries in ordinary week-day life. There are continual irritations and annoyances!
The problem is to live a beautiful Christian life—in the face of all these hindrances! How can we get through the tangled briers which grow along our path—without having our hands and feet torn by them? How can we live sweetly—amid the vexing and irritating things, and the multitude of little worries and frets which infest our way, and which we cannot evade?
It is not enough merely to 'get along in any sort of way', to drag to the close of each long, wearisome day—happy when night comes to end the strife. Life should be a joy—and not a burden. We should live victoriously, ever master of our experiences, and not tossed by them like a leaf on the dashing waves. Every earnest Christian wants to live a truly beautiful life, whatever the circumstances may be.
A little child, when asked 'what it was to be a Christian,' replied, "For me, to be a Christian is to live as Jesus would live—and behave as Jesus would behave—if He were a little girl and lived at our house."
No better definition of the Christian life could be given. Each one of us is to live just as Jesus would—if He were living out our little life in the midst of its actual environment, mingling with the same people with whom we must mingle, and exposed to the very annoyances, trials and provocations to which we are exposed. We want to live a life that will please God, and that will bear witness to the genuineness of our piety.
"Leaving you an example—so that you should follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21