Helps To Holy Living
By Charles Orr
INTRODUCTIONTo get professing Christians to live holy lives, is an exceedingly great task. To live a strictly holy life, just like our blessed Lord, is grand and glorious — but it is difficult to get people to live that way. It can be done — but it is not being done by very many. There are many who desire to live holy — but they fail to put forth the earnest effort and live up to what they know they should. They want to live closer to God — but they do not do it. They do not mean to neglect — and yet they do neglect. They know they should pray more — but they do not pray more.
Many of these dear people confess that they talk too much and speak impatiently — but we see little or no improvement. They fret and worry and are anxious, and know they should not be — and yet they continue on in the same life. They are not getting the heavenly joys and holy comforts out of life that they should. The purpose of this little booklet is to help just such people.
Dear saints, we do not mean to censure you or condemn you — but we tell you in plain words with a heart full of love — you must live better! You speak too sharp and harsh in your home; you speak light and idle words; you talk too much — and you pray too little. Is this not true?
Well, why do you not live better? You may say that you want to, and you try — but you do not succeed. You improve a little, for a few days after hearing a stirring sermon — and then you are back in the same way. You must try harder, be more determined, more resolute — never give up, take time to pray, guard against talking so much, and ask God to help you.
To the man using tobacco you will say, "You must get so decided that you will quit it if it kills you." It is so with your impatient speeches, your frets and worries, your too much talk; you must quit these if it kills you. You need to pray more, meditate more, lift up your soul to God more, have more reverence and holy awe upon your soul, live more in godly fear, have more of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon you, and more peace and power and glory in your soul. You can have it. It will cost you something — but you can have it, if you will.
We want to help you. We promise you that by His grace, we will live just what we preach to you. If there is one who after reading this little booklet, will get in earnest and walk closer to God — we shall be repaid a thousand-fold for our labor. Our hearts are burdened. Too many of God's saints are living beneath their privilege!
Working Out Your Salvation
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12). What are you here told to do? Work out your salvation. How are you told to do it? With fear and trembling. Are you doing it? You are burdened down with the cares of this life, and are not much alarmed over it. Do you not know, that it is the cares of this life which choke out the Word of God? Then just a little of the cares of this life, ought to alarm you. You thought salvation was by faith, and not works. But faith and works go together. You must have faith — but if your faith is genuine — it will be attended with works in fear and trembling.
A little girl comes home from school with a fever. The fond mother says to the father, "I fear it is a contagion."
He replies, "I fear it is, and we must do something."
They get in earnest and call mightily on God and the little girl is well in the morning. Thank God. A few evenings later some trouble comes up in the home. The husband speaks in a harsh, cutting tone to the wife. She replies in the same manner. There is a contagion in that home — a terrible contagion. Now is the time to fear and tremble, and to call mightily to God in deep repentance and not to cease until the heavenly winds are wafted down and that contagion is swept out of the heart and out of the home — and a sweet peace is shed over all. That is working our salvation in fear and trembling.
A man buys a home. He pays cash — all he has. The contract is made out and signed, and now he goes to working out the monthly payments. He moves in, takes possession and goes to work. One day the final payment is made and the warranty deed is given. A man gives all he has to Christ and gets saved. The contract is signed. He takes possession and goes to work in fear and trembling. Some day he will have it all worked out and his heavenly home is forever secured.
When the "little foxes" get in — get them out at once. That is part of your work. Another part is to go about helping others all you can. Another work is to do much praying and keep the heart full of blooming flowers for the Master.
Meditating On God and His Word
"Blessed is the man . . . on his law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1-2
To meditate is to calmly and quietly fix the mind upon the great truths of God and His Word — until those truths have time to enter the mind and pervade it with their influence. Meditation is the quiet thinking, the applying of the mind attentively to the great truths of the Bible and the Author of it. We must meditate on God's law — that we might come to know it as we should; and then to love it and then to practice it. No one can live a holy life — without serious and frequent reflection of the mind upon the truths of our great salvation. You may be able to live a good moral life; you might have an exterior life good enough to hold the confidence of man — but holy living comes from the living Word of God hidden in the heart.
Holy living is not only the refraining from doing the wrong and the doing of the right — but it is the refraining from doing the wrong from an inward principle of holy hatred of the wrong, inwrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit. It is more than good deeds done; it is good deeds done by the life of God in the soul. There is a vast difference. There is danger, great danger, in professors attending to the outward life — to the neglect of the inward life. So long as they do not do anything wrong, and so long as they do things that are right — they think themselves safe. We can live good lives and — yet, like the church at Ephesus, lose our first love for God. Right living may be only man in action; holy living is God in action.
Meditation is positively necessary to the keeping of God in the heart. Meditation is the holding of Bible truths in the mind — until the virtue is steeped out of them and enters the mind and heart. The more fully you lose yourself in meditation on God — the more you will be like Him. You cannot love Christ very deeply, without meditation. You cannot become strong or pure or deep in God, without letting the mind dwell lovingly on Him.
Dear Christian reader, do you meditate? Do you go apart each day and with the mind wholly detached from everything of earth — fix it quietly, calmly on God and some portion of His Word? Do you become lost to everything of earth — in loving meditation on God?
"There is a blessed pavilion,
A sacred inner court,
The place of God's own dwelling,
With all the world shut out.
Oh, holy resting place!
Oh, calm and pure retreat!
Where God unveils His face,
And life is only sweet."
Do you enter into this holy place with the world shut out — and there commune with God, there think of His love and the great plan of salvation — until your soul is aflame with heavenly love and light and peace — making it the easiest thing in the world to come out and practice the wonderful truths of Scripture? If you will meditate on the theme of salvation as you should — life will become sweet and the truths of salvation will naturally live themselves out in you.
But the question is: Do you meditate? Very, very few of you do. Oh, how can we help you? Will you not spend fifteen minutes twice a day to deep, profound thought of God? We beg of you to do it. Will you not do it for your soul's sake and for Jesus' sake? If you do not — there will be things get into your life that ought not to be there. There will be . . .
a little too much talk,
a little restlessness and impatience,
a little fret and worry,
a burdening of the cares of this life, and
perhaps bits of worldliness will get in, and you will not know it — and you may go to some places where Jesus really would not go.
But O, beloved, if you will practice meditating on God and His law day and night — there will be a holy flame enkindled in your soul and such heavenly sweetness and peace — that the cares of this life, and fret and worry will no more light on you, than flies on a heated furnace.
There are many preachers and thousands of people professing holiness who talk beautifully about meditation, saying what a blessed and glorious thing it is — and yet they do not practice it. My dear reader, you must do more than talk and more than read this and say it is good and true. You must actually meditate on God and spiritual truths. Meditation fixes God in the soul — and causes you to live holy in every act of life.
"You show that you are a letter from Christ" (2 Corinthians 3:3). Another translation reads, "All can see that you are a letter from Christ." The Christian is Christ's "Open Letter." His life is a message from Christ to the world. His daily walk is a genuine letter from the Savior of men. The Christian life is written by the same hand that wrote the New Testament — and they should read just alike, word for word. If you profess to be a Christian — be sure your daily life is the handwriting of Jesus. Your life in your home amid its trials and provocations — should read like God's Word. It is very confusing and discouraging to others — if your life and the New Testament read differently.
The purpose of a letter is to convey the thoughts and mind of the writer. The Christian is that kind of letter. Men come to know the thoughts of God — by reading the Christian's life. He shows Christ's patience in his patience. His life is not his life — but Christ's life in his life. The life of a saint — is a letter in which the world can read Christ's gentleness, kindness, humility, sobriety, calmness, sympathy, love, holiness, separateness from the world, and hatred of sin. Do not think this standard is too high. If you will take time to pray and seek after this life with determined effort, leaning hard on Christ's helpful arm — it will surprise you what a wonderful and beautiful letter you can get to be.
Mind The Little Things
Take care of the pennies and the dimes — and you will have the dollars. A pin scratch has caused the death of folks. If you begin to think a thing is too small to be given attention, you are entering a dangerous path. Little bricks build a great house. Just so, little sins make a great sinner. You can put more love in doing little things, than in great things. There is less danger of promoting self in doing the little things, than in doing great things. By guarding against every little evil and fault, and faithfully doing every little good thing possible — you can build up a beautiful holy life. Guard your little thoughts and little words. Lift up your soul to God many times a day. Keep the Lord set before your face. Spend your spare moments on your knees in a sweet little talk with Jesus.
"She has done a beautiful thing to Me!" (Mark 14:6). This woman had an emotion in her soul — and it swelled and longed for expression. She was charged with wastefulness. No, no it was not waste. Had she not poured out the fragrant ointment then — there would have been waste. Her soul panted for some way to express her devotion. Had she not given expression to her love, she would have lost love, and there would have been the waste. Whatever elevates us and serves to make us more capable of doing good, is not waste.
Everything done from the stirring of love in the heart for Jesus, makes it a good work.
True devotion is that disposition of heart that moves it to perform with tender affection and burning fervor — all its services to God. The bowing of the knees, the prostrating of the body on the ground, the lifting of the eyes heavenward, the wringing of the hands, and the pious sighs and groans — are not proof of a devoted heart. In all acts of true devotion — there is a high esteem, a profound respect, a holy adoration for the Divine Majesty; there is a humble acknowledgment of the soul's dependence and duty; there is an intense desire to lavish the heart's love upon Jesus — by doing all things for His sake.
No exercising of the soul is so ennobling, so hallowing, so consoling — as the performing of humble, sincere acts of devotion. True devotion is attended by self-sacrifice. Devotion is more than sentiment. It is a principle fixed in the core of our being. We cannot always be in acts of devotion — but the principle is in the soul, and it expresses itself on every fitting occasion.
"As the deer pants after the waterbrooks — so my soul pants after you, O God!" (Psalm 42:1). Here is intensity. By intensity, we mean that burning passion of the soul after God. That intense desire to be as holy as He is holy — and to glorify Him in all words and acts of life.
"I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands." (Psalm 119:131). Here is intensity. Panting after the commandments of God — like a thirsty animal for water. The great task of the overseers of God's church today, is to keep God's people out of a careless, easy-going, indifferent life. How few pant and thirst after God. How few thirst and hunger for the salvation of souls. Preachers may go over the country holding revivals and find entertainment and enjoyment in doing so — but even of those, how few have such a burning passion for souls, that they will wrestle with God in the midnight hour or early morning hour — for the salvation of the lost. They may think more of what gain they will make. This would be an awful crime — but it may be one of which some are guilty. There are Christian professors who act very much as if no one were going to Hell. Others act as if they were just as holy as they cared to be. They seem to have no thirsting for greater perfection of life. They act as if there were no improvement to be made.
The need of today, is a greater passion for godliness, a more intense longing for greater Christlikeness, and a greater burden for those for whom our dear Savior gave His life.
"Rivers of water run down my eyes, because they keep not your law." (Psalm 119:136). Here is intensity. When did you shed a tear over sinners lost? Do not these words shame you? Dear people, the house is on fire — how can you keep on sleeping!
Sometimes the word "Sanctification" means that which is set apart, consecrated. Holiness means inward likeness to God. Holy living means that the outward life is in full harmony with the will of God. It means very much to be holy as God is holy, and to live in harmony with the Divine mind. It can be done — but it is not everyone who professes holiness, who is doing it. We ought to live in this way, for Jesus' sake. He is happiest — when we are holiest. He is glorified — when we do all things to His glory. In those who live holy lives, is His ideal realized.
We should not seek holiness, that we might be happy — but because it is God's will. Doing the will of God should be our food and drink. We cannot do God's will, except we are holy; therefore seek holiness and holy living. Be careful, oh, be careful about being holy in the little things of life. If people live holy at all — it is in the greater things. If they come short of living holy in the little things of everyday home life — they have missed true holy living.
A Fable With A Lesson
Have you read the story of the traveler whose horse was eaten by a wolf? The story says that a traveler riding through a lonely district on horseback was attacked by a wolf. The traveler, somewhat heedless of the wolf, went on his way. The wolf from behind began eating on the horse without the traveler's knowledge. He ate and he ate until he had eaten into the horse. He kept on eating until finally he ate to the head and to the feet, and the traveler came riding into his town on a wolf instead of a horse. All that was left of the horse was the skin. There was a wolf inside.
Some folks start out for Heaven. They are attracted by the cares of this life, by impatience, by idle words, by the pleasures of the world, by worldly thoughts. To these, they do not give much heed. But they eat and they eat, and they feed on the spiritual life, and they do it so slowly and so subtly — that the traveler is unaware that his spiritual steed is being eaten away. It will be well indeed, if he discovers before he reaches his destination, that he is riding on an empty profession.
Holy Thoughts for Quiet Hours
1. Anything less than full dependence upon God, is a denial of Him.
2. Life has a language. To live holy, is to have all our words and deeds to say, "Hallowed be Your name."
3. The rays of light that proceed from the sun, are as pure as the sun. The life that flows from God, must be as free from imperfections as He.
4. If the human soul would grow in moral stature and moral beauty and fruitfulness — it must keep open to the light of God and absorb that light as it falls upon it.
5. If you are not showing to the world around you that there is something better than wealth, honor, position, earthly pleasure, and the good opinions and praise of men — you are not showing forth the life of Christ.
6. He does not love us truly — who does not love us well enough to tell us our faults. To love one another, is to have an intense desire to see one another free from faults. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom." Colossians 3:16
7. The man who fails to give us reproof when needed — but gives us approval instead or holds back deserving rebuke for fear of offending — is more cruel than he who withholds bread from us when we are starving.
8. He who will listen to any words of levity, jesting, foolishness, tale-bearing, tattling, and shows no disapproval — makes himself a partaker of the sin.
9. The nearer you live like Christ — the nearer you live like you ought to live. The more you love Him — the more you will be like Him.
11. The trouble is not that you do not know what is right; the trouble is that you do not lay hold upon God to help you to live like you know you should.
The Fear of Man
We doubt if there is any other one thing that prevents God's people living unto God as they should — so much as the fear of man. It is so very subtle and cunning, that many may have it, and not be aware of it.
Holy living is to live unto God — though all the world might oppose. Our dearest friend on earth must not be allowed to cause us to deviate one hair's breadth from trueness to God. Here is one of the places in the Christian's life, that should be closely watched and guarded. Peter swerved from the true path, when he refused to eat with the Gentiles for fear of the Jews. This was after Pentecost. Paul reproved him. This took some courage on the part of Paul — but faithfulness required it.
"The fear of man brings a snare." (Proverbs 29:25). Many a one has fallen into this snare. Alas, how many have made compromise with man — for man's favor! Conscious dependence upon God — will drive out the fear of men. Perfect love for God — casts out all fear of man. Those who can be influenced by men — are not made perfect in love.
It is argued by some, that we should desire all men to think well of us — that we might do them good. This is true — but oh, how careful we need to be, that it is solely that we "might do them good." Beware lest there be something of self there. We should desire to have influence with men for Jesus' sake — but for no other purpose. If faithfulness to God causes you to lose influence with men — then it were better for them and you also, that you lose it. If you have to step aside from godly living to have influence with men — you are ensnared.
The apostle said, "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment." (1 Corinthians 4:3). To suppress or modify truth by word or act, is coming short of holy living. To give aid, or to abet by word or deed — any spirit of levity, worldliness, or untruthfulness through man's influence, is unfaithfulness to God.
Lifting Up Jesus
"I will lift up my Savior
In everything I do;
I will keep self far out of sight
That Christ may be in view."
Is Jesus seen in all you do? Is this true in our life all the year through? Is it true all the day through? When things go wrong in the home and you are tried and tempted — do you lift up Christ in these times? We sing the song heartily — but do we really and truly live it day in and day out? It is dangerous to sing such songs — and then pass on and not live them. To know to do a thing — and then through neglect or carelessness fail to live it — is a very serious matter. Keep self out of sight — and set Christ in view.
Two men went to hear a preacher preach one Sunday morning. One said to the other after the preaching, "That was an eloquent discourse; he is a wonderful preacher." In the evening they went to hear another preacher. After the services one said to the other, "What a wonderful Savior is Jesus."
People sing about Jesus being lifted up in our lives; preachers preach about it — but what God wants is some people to live it. Live it, dear Christian, in all the details of everyday life. Live it in thought, word, and deed. Have the imprint of Christ's life upon every word and act. You can do it, if you associate with Christ as with a loving friend, if you take time to read, pray, and meditate so as to assimilate the life of Christ into your own. Be encouraged and set to work with a determination to win.
Saying and Doing
Pilate said of Jesus, "I find no fault in Him." That was his conception of Christ. He saw before him a faultless Christ. Then he added, "Take Him and crucify Him." These two expressions stand directly against one another. He spoke correctly about Christ — but he acted wrongly. Many are thinking and talking rightly enough about Jesus — but they do not act rightly.
The Church of God
The Church of God is the only institution on earth that is of heavenly origin. It is the only institution on the shores of time that will continue to exist in eternity. All else will pass away with the closing of time. The glory of earthly empires, the magnificence of civilization, the grandeur of monarchies — will have no reflection amid the glories of Heaven. The splendor of earth's fortunes, the pomp and show of earth's glories, the renown of eloquence and oratory, the fame of schools of learning, the enchantments of beautiful forms and ceremonies of creeds — will find no imprint, will have no representation in that land beyond the grave. Only the Church of God will shine there. It came down from Heaven — and will return to Heaven.
The Church is Christ's body, not only on earth — but also through all eternity. The Church is God's habitation now and forever. God will dwell in His people and His people in Him — while the cycles of eternity roll on unending. The Church of God on earth is God's incarnation among men. As men read the history of the true Church — they will read the biography of God. The life of the Church, is His life. The world is God's creation as a Creator, the Church is His creation as a Redeemer. It is His own life. It lives in Him and He in it. The Church is a creation in Christ. The Church is not created in Christ by a mere creative act — but by being born of God. The Church is born of God in Christ, and is the offspring of God. God loves the world as His creation. He loves the Church as the life of His life.
The Church of God on earth contains heavenly elements — and nothing which is not heavenly. The Church bears God's image. God views His own likeness in His Church. The Church is a mirror which reflects all the Divine perfections. The Church of God is a living thing. It lives upon the life of God. God's life flows through its veins. The life of Jesus circulates freely through His Church, as freely as the blood circulates through the human body. The church is His body. It feeds on heavenly food. It breathes the atmosphere of Heaven.
God and man united in Christ is the Church. In the Church of God is the uniting of all redeemed men with God and with each other. The manifold wisdom of God, the mysteries of God, the character of God is revealed through His church. God in His beauty shines out of the Church. She is all fair; there is no spot in her. God made the sun, moon, and all the shining stars — but He does not make them His dwelling place. When He built His Church He said, "This is my rest; here I will dwell and multiply myself; here I have found such beauty and worth as to call out the fullest capacity of my love; here I find the fullest delight of my being, here I see of the travail of my soul and I am satisfied. "
The Church of God is attended by the ministry of angels. It is the only institution on earth that angels desire to look into. They pass every other thing by — but stop at the Church to admire her beauty and to bestow their ministry. It is the only institution on earth which affords joy to the angels. It is the only institution over which they sing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." All of the conquests of the Church on earth, bring joy to the angels.
The Church of God is the only institution on earth that can worship God. God, to be worshiped, must be worshiped in Spirit and truth, and nothing but the Church has the Spirit and the truth. The Church is full of heavenly instincts. God gives instinct to the bird and this instinct teaches it to do certain things. Heavenly instincts fill the Church, teaching it to do heavenly things. Its life is heavenly life. It lives by heavenly things, and divine things are wrought out by her activities.
The Church is Holy Spirit-filled and Holy-Spirit governed. The Church is in the world — but the world is not in the Church. There is no room for the world in the Church. It is filled with divine things. The fish is in the salty ocean — but the fish is not salty. If you die in the Church you do not go out of it, if you die out of it you can never get in it. There is to be no sin in the Church. Her law is the law of holiness. All honor in the Church is given to the Holy Trinity. Some day the Church of God is going to be caught up to Heaven and receive a faultless presentation into the immediate presence of God's glory and the joys of Heaven will be full and complete and be undiminished, while eternity rolls on forever.
"Mortify therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry." (Colossians 3:5). The word "mortify" means to "put to death." One translation reads, "Therefore put to death all that is earthly in you."
Now we will tell you a secret. What we are now going to tell you is the secret principle of holy living. It is the thread that runs through the entire life. It is "sacrifice." Listen, no man can keep the body in perfect control — who does not keep that body on the altar of daily sacrifice. If you cease to sacrifice — you cease to control. To sacrifice is to mortify.
Habits of virtue cannot be acquired except at the expense of sacrifice. He who is not constantly making sacrifice is not advancing in the Christian life. Sacrifice in the little things of daily life. The secret of living holy — is sacrifice in the little things. It is not in being absent from ball rooms, theaters, and such like worldly amusements. These things have but little or no temptation to redeemed people. It is no sacrifice for them to abstain from such evils. Where the holy need to watch, is to not let love of self get in. Holy people have a self — but they must guard against an undue love of self. Keep that self on the altar of sacrifice! Guard against taking too much thought about bodily comforts. It is no sin to give the body some comfort, if it is not done at the expense of another's comfort. Then you need to have a care when you are alone, not to provide too greatly for the body's comforts, lest you become selfish and find it difficult to sacrifice your comforts for another's comfort.
To indulge the body in late rising, in dainty foods, in luxuries, in ease, in worldly things pleasant to the eye, in idleness, in the avoidance of hardships, in the shrinking from bearing another's burden, and a disposition to lay your own on another — is the way to become selfish. Sacrifice is the law of the Christian life. Sacrificing bodily comforts daily in the home for the comforts of others — is helpful to the soul in its upward way. Where there is no continual sacrifice — there is no growth in holiness. Where there is no self-denying — there is no love to God. Where the body is not kept under control — the soul is enslaved. The beauty of holiness, never grows out of bodily indulgence — but out of bodily sacrifice. If you would live holy — then put to death that which is earthly, sensual, and lustful in you.
"Be content with such things as you have." What is it to be contented? When we are contented — we are not wishing for something we do not have. To be contented with just what you have — is to not be wishing for something you do not have. Paul said, "For I have learned, in whatever state I am — therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11). If Paul could learn that lesson — we can learn it also.
A brother was asked what kind of weather he thought it would be for the next few days. He answered, "Just the sort of weather that suits me." The inquirer was eager to know what sort of weather suited him. He replied, "Just whatever kind suits the Lord."
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6). There may be some who do not know the true meaning of these words. They do not mean that you have great gain. They mean that if you have godliness and the contentment that always attends it — you have great gain. You cannot separate godliness and contentment. If you have godliness — you have contentment; and you cannot have contentment without godliness. We come just as far short of true godliness — as we come short of contentment. If you do not have contentment — you do not godly. The fullness of God in the soul satisfies the soul. It leaves no void. Such a soul has perfect peace, fullness of joy, rivers of pleasures, and is happy in its lot.
To be contented, you must come to know, and know it well — that nothing can happen to you which is not in harmony with the will of God. Without a thorough knowledge of this, there will be discontentment. Nothing can disturb the peace of those who know in their heart, that God's will is in everything that comes to them in life. Instead of striving to be rich — strive to be contented with what you have. A contented life is yours — if you will have it. It is a grand way to live.
Sonship with God
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us — that we should be called the sons of God!" (1 John 3:1). "Father" and "son." Blessed relationship! There is fatherhood in God — but it can be realized by the man — only by being born of God. God must come into man's humanity — and man must come into God's divinity that he might realize God as his Father and himself as God's son. This is made possible in Christ. God's divinity and man's humanity are united in Christ. God can come to man in Christ's divinity — and man can come to God in Christ's humanity. God's divinity can enter into our humanity — and we become partakers of the divine nature. We can come to know God — only in Christ. We can see God — only as we see Him in Christ. We can come to be like God — only in Christ Jesus. Christ is the image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:5 ). Christ will show us the Father in Himself. (John 14 :8, 9.)
You can become like God — only to the extent you see Him in Christ. Suppose you never saw your mother's father. Your mother loved, honored and revered her father. She thought he was the most exemplary man she knew. Her highest ambition was that her son be a man like her father. She knew that to have him grow up to be such a man — she must show her father to her son. She imbibed the spirit of her father. His character was inwrought in her being. She taught in word all she could to her boy about his grandfather, and she showed the image of her father to the boy by living the life — and thus the boy saw his grandfather in and through his mother, and was fashioned into his image. Just so, if we will listen and obey Christ's teaching, look into His holy life and imitate it — then we will grow into the likeness of the Father.
God's Law in Man's Mind and Heart
"I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." (Hebrews 8:10.) To live holy lives — we must have God's Word in both mind and heart. The same hand that writes it in the heart — also writes it in the mind. Studying the Bible is good — but not sufficient. We must have what we read in the book, written in the mind by the Holy Spirit — or it will profit us little or nothing. The Holy Spirit never writes God's law in the mind — unless He writes them in the heart also. When written in the heart — then the man obeys.
"He who belongs to God — hears what God says. The reason you do not hear — is that you do not belong to God." John 8:47
"He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him — because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him — because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." John 10:4-5
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" John 10:27
Sensitiveness is the power to receive delicate impressions. The soul can be so sensitive, that it be made to feel what God feels. It can feel the presence of God.
Each of Christ's sheep can also feel the presence of evil. This is a wonderful safeguard of the soul. It feels the presence of evil — in the vagrant thought, in the lightly spoken word, in the hasty action — and flees to God at once for refuge. It feels the presence of evil in those little worldly things which many say are harmless. The sensitive soul detects evil there and avoids them.
Each of Christ's sheep is acquainted with the voice of the Shepherd. It can distinguish between His voice and that of a stranger. The more mature its growth — the more mature its sensibility. The higher we rise into the likeness of Jesus — the quicker-scented we become, the more easily we detect the presence of God, and the presence of sin.
This spiritual sensitivity is necessary to all holy living.
Many a soul today has lost the sensitiveness which they once experienced. Evil things that they once fled away from in horror — they are now embracing.
It is our privilege to grow more spiritually sensitive — as we grow in walking with God. The farther we walk with Him — the closer we can walk with Him. We can keep step with Him more perfectly.
The scriptures tell us that Christ was of such quick understanding that He did not judge by the sight of His eyes or reprove by the hearing of His ears (See Isaiah 11:3). In the margin it reads, "scent or smell." Christ was quick to detect an ill odor. He was sensitive to the presence of sin. The more we become like Christ — the more spiritually sensitive we shall become.
Christianity is a life. It is a Divine life. In that life there are senses that can sense Divine things. That life is susceptible to the impulses of the Holy Spirit. The sensitive soul can feel God, taste Him, hear Him. It is "alive unto God."
The soul, in this Divine life, is not only inwardly sensible to all the movements of the Holy Spirit — but is also sensitive to the feelings of men. The sensitive soul feels, not only what is in God — but is sensible also of what is in man. It is thus that when one member in Christ's body, the Church, suffers — all the other members suffer with it. They feel what the suffering member feels.
The sensitive soul weeps with Christ over a lost world. It feels what Jesus feels.
The Loss of Soul-Sensitiveness
Is it not true that in other days, the bond of sympathy between members in the Church of God was stronger than it is today? Did not all the members suffer more keenly with the suffering member? When the soul is quivering with Divine life and all its faculties functioning properly — it suffers with all the suffering members of Christ's body. It does more; it suffers with Christ, the sin and suffering of a wicked world. What were the sufferings of Christ, while here upon earth? It was not physical — but spiritual. His soul was sorrowful because of the sins of the world. It is in this way, that we are to suffer with the Savior. Instead of weeping with Christ over a sinful world, many professors are going on in their revelry, feasting, banqueting, in their pomp and show, in their entertainments, amusements, and pleasures, in their lust and pride.
Sensuality dulls the spiritual senses. None but the pure in heart can enter the realm of soul-sensitiveness. You may study the art of public speaking, you may receive degrees and honorary titles, you may occupy prominent positions, you may discourse eloquently and enthusiastically — but if you have not transparent purity of soul — you cannot feel the delicate promptings of the will of God.
The sensual cannot appreciate the beauty of purity. There are delicate lines in it which they never see. They cannot enter into communion with a holy God — though they may discourse like an angel about Him. We exhort you, saint of God, keep sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Keep the world out of your eye. Keep in touch with God. Feel with Him, love with Him, suffer with Him, rejoice with Him, sympathize with Him over a lost world — be sensitive to all the feelings of His great heart. Soul, remember that just a little affection for earthly things dulls the soul's senses. The god of this world blinds the eye. As the glass in the camera is sensitive to the light — so keep your soul sensitive to heavenly impressions.
Keep sensitive, O soul of mine,
To God's holy will and Word;
Grow deeper, deeper every day
In the feelings of your Lord.
"But to be carnally-minded is death: but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace." Romans 8:6
We ought to tremble before these words! Can you read them and then pass on in a careless way, taking but little thought about yourself to know whether you are carnally or spiritually minded? You say that you cannot give a dictionary definition. We are not asking for Webster's definition; we want you to give yours from your own experience.
It is in the mind, that thoughts are generated. The carnal mind generates carnal thoughts; while the spiritual mind generates spiritual thoughts. Carnal thoughts are thoughts about earthly things; spiritual thoughts are thoughts about heavenly things. Examine your thoughts. What are their trend? Are they mostly worldward? Do worldly thoughts crowd in on your mind — even when in the secret place you kneel to pray?
If they do, we say that we deeply sympathize with you — but we must tell you in the greatest kindness but seriousness, that you are fully to blame. It ought not to be that way. You can have it better. Our thoughts can be brought into captivity. Christ, by His grace, will help us to control them. You have been allowing your mind to dwell on temporal things. You do not have to do it. If you have for a long time been allowing your thoughts to dwell on the things of earth — and little grooves have been cut in the brain matter, like the grooves on a phonograph record, it will take some effort to change their course — but fear not, it can be done — and it must be done.
Colossians 3:2 states, "Set your mind on things above — and not on things on the earth." That is a plain, comprehensive command. Why do we not all do just what we are here told to do? How can we hope to get on well in the spiritual life — and not do what the Bible says? Now let us not make excuses, nor treat this with indifference. There is too much at stake. Death and life are before us. For our mind to dwell on "things on the earth" — means death; but for it to dwell on "things above" — means life and peace. We can have whichever we will. In this sense, we are the framers of our destiny.
Colossians 3:3 says, "For you are dead." That is why you set your mind on things above. People who are dead do not set their minds on things to which they are dead to. How can your mind be set on earthly things — and you be dead to earthly things and your life hid with Christ in God? This is a serious matter and we advise you to take it seriously.
We said in our first chapter, that we may appear to be some times a little severe. If it takes that to get you to thinking and considering — then it is best to be severe. What we fear is that even severity will not get you in earnest about this matter. We fear you will go on letting your mind float around on earthly things, nearly all day long.
You may be awake from five o'clock in the morning until nine o'clock at night-sixteen hours. Have you given one solid hour out of the sixteen to deep, profound thinking on heavenly things? Now the fact is, that a few moments at different times during the day is all that is needed for the proper attending to the things of this life, and to sum up this few moments they would not amount to more than an hour, and the other fifteen should be spent in setting your mind on things above.
Perhaps you are a preacher and you spend considerable time thinking about the Word of the Lord. That is no more proof that you are spiritually minded — than it is for the school boy to think much about mathematics. Each is thinking about the work he is engaged in. A spiritual mind does not spend nearly so much time thinking about his work of God — as it does about God Himself. We would be far more effectual preachers, by praying down our messages from Heaven into our souls — than we do by long study and sermonizing!
We would not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax — but we exhort you in all sincerity of heart — to attend to the matter of setting your mind on things above. If you spend your days with your mind mostly on things on earth — how could you enjoy Heaven if you were to get there? There will be no earthly things there to think about.
Now do not get restless — but in a calm, composed, quiet manner set to work thinking about heavenly things. Read your Bible more and keep your thoughts on it while you read. While you are about your work — think about Heaven and the great truths of salvation which God has given us to guide us to Heaven. Think about Christ and what it will be to meet Him face to face.
Do you find it a difficult thing to do? How strange! You say you love Him with all your heart — but you find it much easier to think about the things that pertain to your every day comforts and conveniences, than you do to think about Jesus!
We suggest that you begin now and meditate more about things above. Take time every day to go into some quiet place, and turn your thoughts heavenward, and think soberly and seriously about the glories and the wonders of that beautiful world. It you will attend to this, not in a strained way — but calmly and peacefully, you will soon find it easy to fix your thoughts on God and things above. If you will, a joy and gladness will come into your heart which will make it seem that you have risen to a higher spiritual plane. You will soon get to where on the moment of awakening in the night or in the morning — your thoughts will soar up to Heaven. Your first thought will be on things above, and at the same time your soul will taste a sweetness that is above any sweetness of earth.
A fear would come over my soul, if my mind gave its first awakening thoughts to earthly things: No, no, no; let my mind dwell a while in Heaven, before it takes up the duties of the day.
There is a brother who never allows a night to pass by, unless there is an occasional night when his slumbers are unbroken, without rising once and twice, and on his knees has an earnest heart to heart talk with God. On awakening in the morning he spends from half an hour to an hour in prayer and holy thought — before taking up the duties of the day. And then often through the day, he takes a few moments for thinking on heavenly things. It is not difficult to get into a life like this — and it is Heaven on earth. With all the earnestness of soul, we exhort you Christian reader, to get into it and then go forward to walking closer to God every day — so that some day you will get so close that you will never come back to earth again!
Holy Thoughts For Quiet Hours
1. You have taken a long step toward holy living — when you have learned to do much and say little. Holiness is seen in what you do — and not in what you say.
2. Those who seek and find God — seek Him for what He is Himself — and not for what He has to give. There are those who would like very much to live like Jesus — but are not willing to pay the price to become like Jesus.
3. A man may discourse very beautifully about God, and pray in public with great fervor and enthusiasm, but if he is negligent of secret prayer — then his religion is toward men and not toward God — and is nothing but a solemn sham!
4. We have obtained the true riches — only when we have obtained true poverty.
We have obtained true honor — only when we have come to be despised.
We rise to a great height — only by taking the lowest place.
We find true comfort — in affliction.
We have found true knowledge — when we are called a fool for Christ's sake.
We have found true joy and happiness — only when we are crucified with Christ.
5. If you want that peace which comes from God, if you want that fullness of joy that Christ gives — be sure that the seven-headed monster of self-love, has every head beheaded! "If anyone would come after Me — he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me!" Matthew 16:24
6. If you would have your soul to be the temple of God — see that it is . . .
kept clean of all evil,
quiet from all fears,
void of all earthly affection,
and peaceful amid tribulation.
7. A truly devoted man is one who . . .
lives solely to do the will of God,
serves God in everything,
sees God in everything,
does all in the name of Jesus, and
eats and drinks and does all things to God's glory.
8. If a man buys and sells with the sole thought of getting gain and bettering himself in things of this world, without any regard for the one from whom he buys or sells — he has a vain religion.
9. The Christian takes interest only in those things outside of Christ — which he can use for Christ. If a man engages in any business he can not serve Christ in or can not use to Christ's glory — he lives outside of Christ.
10. You are winging your flight over the narrow stream of time. If you know that God holds your hand in your flight — then why do you get so restless and flutter so? Why do such little things trouble you?
To the Christian soul, there is no music so sweet as the music of the name of Jesus. That name catches the attention, above all other names. That name is sacred to the Christian's memory. He loves to think on that name. There is an inexpressible sweetness in the thought of that name. A tender delight comes over the soul at the mention of that name. There is no circumstance in life that that name cannot sweeten. If we are in the flames of the furnace — that name quenches the burning.
A mother sits beside a little casket in which her child lies — cold, faded, and dead like a gathered lily. How deep, desperate and blank would be her woe — if it were not for the name of Jesus. As she sits looking into the face of the child she bore just three months ago — the tears come streaming from her eyes! But at the thought of Jesus — there is a smile through the tears. There is a sorrow at the heart — but there is an indescribable sweetness in the sorrow as she remembers her blessed Savior.
"Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation!" Luke 2:28-31
As good old Simeon looked into the face of the Child, he said, "My eyes have seen Your Salvation!" Who can tell what this meant to him? Who can tell what rapturous delight filled his soul? There he saw salvation in its true meaning.
From this scene, we look away to an innumerable company in white robes with palms in their hands, standing before the throne and before the Lamb and they are singing: "Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb!"
When the sinner truly receives Jesus — the "song of Salvation" begins. We hear him singing it all along the journey of life! He may sometimes be in the fiery furnace — but he never loses his song. The storm may be raging — but above the howling of the winds, you will hear him singing "salvation!" He may be misunderstood, misrepresented, despised, and forsaken by men — but on he goes singing his lovely song. He never misses a note! The adversities of life, be what they may — cannot still the song in his soul. Men may deride him — but God is listening. The world may sneer and scoff — but his song rolls as a sweet anthem up to the ears of the Great Eternal.
One day a company of angels came to bear him away to his home beyond this world of trial — and we behold him in the midst of that great throng singing his song of salvation. That is his theme! It began here on earth, when he received Jesus — and it will never have an end. It is the song that never grows old! The heart can find its fullest expression in but one word — and that word is salvation.
What does it mean to be saved? It is to be saved from an eternity in the miseries of Hell — into an eternity of blessedness in Heaven!
"Salvation is the sweetest thing
That mortal ever found;
My soul can never cease to sing,
Such love and peace abound.
Salvation is the theme so grand,
It thrills with joy my soul,
I'll sing it here, and sing it there
While ceaseless ages roll."
We must bring part one this writing to a close. We hesitant to say the last word. Oh God, is there not one word more we can say that may help someone to a holier life? The writer of these lines is nearing his three score years and ten, and being frail in body, has written this little booklet as though it may be his last. For forty years, the ambition of his life has been to walk close with God and to help others to this blessed life. He has made some mistakes — but even these have been turned to account in helping him to turn with greater eagerness to ascend higher in the Divine life. He has attained a fuller love for all men and for holy things. He hates sin with a perfect hatred. He has attained to a deeper insight into holiness of life. He sees more clearly how the love of God and true holiness can be brought into all the details of every day life; how every thought and word and act can be stamped all over with the beauty of holiness; how that an act can be done to any creature — in the tenderness of love.
Before saying the last word he wishes to impress upon all, the vast importance of being holy in the performance of the smallest duty of life. It may be needful to reprove or rebuke someone for stepping aside from the holy way of Christ — but do it in the tenderness of heaven's love. You must not assent to that which is evil, though it be in your dearest friend. You must not smile or nod the head at any remark that is light or jesty, or contains any strife, malice, or ill-will toward another. Let everything be done in the sobriety, the gravity, the holiness, the joyfulness and the love of Christ. We shall give you a few parting counsels:
1. Be prayerful. Take time to bow in the secret place and commune heart to heart with God, at least twice every day. See to it that in your prayers, your soul is lifted up into the presence of God, and that it receives the stamp of His holiness upon it. Guard against lukewarmness in prayer. Be fervent, touch Heaven — and be touched by Heaven.
2. Guard against being burdened with the cares of this life. Keep your life free from fret, worry, and anxiety. Rest calmly and tranquilly, in the helpfulness of an ever present heavenly Father. Guard against indifference and slothfulness in the spiritual life. Attend vigorously to all the spiritual duties. Come to your prayers with reverence and holy awe. Enter the place of public worship with reverence and a feeling of devotion. Do not engage in a conversation in the house of God which would interfere with or diminish the profoundness of that feeling of reverence in your soul. The house of God is not the place for conversing upon earthly themes. It is a place appointed for the worship of God. The good effect produced upon the soul by the sermon, can be destroyed before you leave the house — by a turning of the mind to earthly things.
3. See to it every day that you are detached from earthly things. Examine the heart often and closely, lest there gets to be some affection for things on the earth. See that your love for Christ grows warmer, and your interest in Heaven grows keener. See to it that you are perfectly contented with your lot in life. Be pleased with all that God is doing for you — and that you are pleasing Him in all you do. Keep such a realization of God's presence — that it enters into and makes holy and heavenly — your thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds.
4. Allow nothing to disquiet you nor disturb your peace of soul. Give no place to restlessness or impatience. Keep Heaven and eternity in full view. Live under the consciousness that God has set His love upon you — and that the least fret, restlessness, anxiety, or impatience, grieves Him. Lean upon Him — lean hard upon Him and be at rest. Keep the line of communication with Heaven constantly intact.
5. Be careful to turn every temptation, trial, and trouble to good account. Have them work growth in grace in you, for that is what they have been allowed to come to you for. Trials are the things God works with, to fashion more perfectly His image in you. Never chafe under a trial. Count them all joy. Thank God for them.
6. Do not be half-hearted in your service to God. Be intense, be earnest, be fervent; keep consecrated to God's will. Live under the control of the Holy Spirit. Put first things first. Keep a deep and sublime devotion to God in your soul. Be holy, be holy, BE HOLY! Do not be content with being just a little better — but be your best.
7. Let your mind dwell much on Heaven. It will do you good to think of death — if you think of it as you should, if you look upon it as the open door to the glories of Heaven.
Remember that death is sure to come. Learn to look upon it as you do a messenger you are expecting to come with glad tidings to you. Do not wait for Death in fear — but wait as you would for a loving friend. It has lost its sting. Jesus removed the sting and placed a blessing in its stead. Be busy while you are waiting. Guard against idleness even in your old years. Keep busy to the last. Let no moments go by unemployed. Do not give place to that inclination to slow down and take life easy because you are growing old. Do not entertain the thought that there is no more now for you to do, but to fold your hands and await the end. Let us pray that in our dying hour, we may magnify Christ. Always be of good cheer. Never let your heart be troubled. Live holy, live prayerfully, trust God in all things and for all things!
I am thinking of Heaven tonight,
Of the beautiful place it must be,
Of the glories I there shall behold
When the pearly gates open to me.
Heaven, sweet Heaven, home of my soul,
How blessed to be there it will be;
I'll walk streets of gold, and never grow old
When the pearly gates open to me.
My mind and heart are in Heaven tonight,
From all things of the world I am free:
That mansion I see where I shall e'er be
When the pearly gates open to me.
Farewell, dear reader, a loving farewell;
On you I pray heaven's blessings to be:
When you come to go, may you have lived so
That heaven's gates will open to thee.