Essay, Research Paper: God And Christian Life

Religion

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A healthy, vibrant, growing and happy Christian life requires a regular routine
of communion with God through prayer, study His Word, and in Christian service
to mankind. Like eating, sleeping, and exercising, it demands daily attention.
And like our bodies, our spiritual life quickly withers and dies without
spiritual food. I. Communicating Your Mind with Him The story of Enoch is a
great example of a man who spent much time in prayer and communion with God. In
fact He kept his mind in tune with God in every respect of his daily living—in
thought, in word and in deed. To him prayer was as the breath of the soul; he
lived in the very atmosphere of heaven. Because he lived so close to God, he was
translated to heaven without seeing death. How can we achieve in our individual
life the same holiness that characterized his, a state that will enable God to
place us among the 144,000, to seal us, and to take us home with him without
seeing death? Friends, only Time Alone With God will give us the experience of
Enoch. The disciples had worked hard fulfilling Christ’s commitment. But now
after their return from their missionary journey. He invited them to retire to a
quiet place with Him. They needed to enjoy not only a little rest but also a
period of close communion with the Saviour. “And he said unto them, Come ye
yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). In the
close and private setting with the future apostles, Jesus could communicate
freely with them, correct their mistakes, encourage them, strengthen them for
the great task they were soon to do. As did the disciples, we too require the
refreshing company of the source of all power, comfort, and wisdom. Every child
of God vitally needs precious moments of private communion with Him. In our
hurries and worries of life, even in the work of God, every Christian must have
time dedicated to his private devotions. The Master’s loving reproach to the
busy and concerned Martha also illustrates this point. “Martha, Martha, thou
art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary
hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke
10:41,42) Every one of us needs “that good part, which shall not be taken
away”—to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus, like Mary, and commune with Him.
But the time factor is extremely important. As Enoch spent hours alone with God,
we need to devote enough time with Him. We live in an age of hurry. Many voices
require our attention. And we try to do everything briefly. Our meetings, our
presentations, our articles, our interviews, are short. But one thing still
takes time, even in our day. To develop a love relationship we must invest time.
The young man who falls in love with a girl wants to spend as much time as
possible with her. As he courts her, he does not count time by the watch.
Neither does she. And the more time they take to be together, to communicate
with each other, the more they know each other, the more they appreciate each
other, the more intense their love becomes. Friends, our private hour of
devotion alone with God is an absolutely vital need. Every Christian must
meditate alone and talk with his Father alone. It was during his hour of
seclusion with God when Jacob won his victory, when his character received the
needed divine touch and he consequently received his new name. Paul really
changed the whole aim and direction of his life during the three days he spent
by himself with God after his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road. Without
sight, he had enough time to mediate on the scriptures that referred to the
first advent of Christ. And there he yielded completely to the Spirit’s voice.
During his hour of solitude with God Elijah heard the “still small voice” of
the Holy Spirit speaking to his heart and bringing him courage and hope. The
Spirit can communicate with us much better when everything is quiet. If we are
not constant and regular in our devotional life, we are not safe. May God give
us the willingness to cut out the superfluous and secondary things of life in
order to dedicate more time to daily communion with God. Only then will we have
the strength to win life’s battles and, fully prepared, enter with the Saviour
in the mansions above. II. Filling Your Mind with God’s Truth In order for the
Christian to have a vital experience he must really know Christ—know Him as
his personal Saviour, as the Master Teacher, as his Greatest Friend, as the Lord
of his life, and as the sole source of spiritual power. In that personal
knowledge of Christ resides the very secret of eternal life: “This is life
eternal,” Christ said, “that they might know thee they only true God, and
Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). A practical and experiential
knowledge of Christ is so fundamental that Paul wrote, “I count all things but
loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” A few lines
later he expressed his longing for that knowledge: “That I may know Him”
(Philippians 3:8,10). He had come to know Jesus so well that he really fell in
love with Him, conveying his experience in the immortal words, “For me to live
is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). Is Christ the center of our lives? Can we say
conscientiously, “For me to live is Christ”? Or is it something or somebody
else? But the main question is, How do we achieve this complete and wonderful
knowledge of Christ that comes with its saving power? First, by reading and
meditating His Word. We “see” Jesus and come to know Him in His Word:
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). So
powerful is the Word of God that the psalmist had discovered in it the secret of
a victorious life, and he prayed, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I
might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). And Jesus referred to the same
principle when He admonished His disciples, “Abide in me:…for without me ye
can do nothing.” Immediately He indicated the way of abiding in Him: “If ye
abide in me, and my words abide in you…” (John 15:7). The Word has power
because it is identified with Christ Himself. Jesus is in His Word. Christ is
the Word made flesh. As we eat daily to keep our strength, we need to feed daily
on the Word of God, our Heavenly Bread. Have we reached this stage in our
spiritual development? The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us. To neglect it
would be disastrous. We will soon loose sight of God and our spiritual life
would wither and die. In this times of peace let us not neglect the Word of God.
There are no shortcuts to salvation. Shortcuts are dangerous. You walk down the
mountain on the hike, and you see signs along the path: “don’t cut trail.”
Why? That’s dangerous. “Oh, but it takes me longer to stay on the path.”
That’s all right. Take the longer way. Shortcuts are dangerous and often
longer in the end. God’s way is the only way. III. Using Your Mind in God’s
Service Like the parable of the talents, what we receive from God must be used
in service to benefit others. Talents used will be talents multiplied. Any
unused talents will be taken away or we will be as the Dead Sea in which nothing
can survive. So it is that the law of service is the law of life. There is
nothing in God’s creation that lives unto itself. Everything that God has
created ministers to some other life. Every tree, shrub and leaf gives off
oxygen so that man and animal could live. The flowers give out fragrance and
beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand
worlds. The ocean receives the streams from every land, but it takes to give.
The mists ascending from the oceans fall in showers to water the earth. The
angels of glory find their joy in giving—giving love and tireless watchcare to
souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men. They
bring to this dark world light from the courts above. By their gentle and
patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into
fellowship with Christ. The greatest example of service to mankind is none other
than our Lord Himself. He came from the courts of heaven to live, to serve and
to die for mankind. All things that Christ received from the Father, he gave to
us. In the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings, the
Father’s life flows out to all through His beloved Son Jesus Christ. In our
service to mankind we are actually representing the character of the great
Giver, the law of life. The service we rendered in sincerity of heart to others
has great rewards. Jesus promised, “Thy Father which seeth in secret Himself
shall reward thee openly.” The faces of men and women who walk and work with
God express the peace of heaven. They are surrounded with the atmosphere of
heaven. For these souls the kingdom of God has begun. They have Christ’s joy,
the joy of being a blessing to humanity. They have the honor of being accepted
for the Master’s use; they are trusted to do His work in His name. 501
Illustrations Page 99 No. 137. “More Than Life” Years ago, far back in the
interior of China, missionary John Gaskill was taking his seriously wife, Mary,
on a long journey down the river to a hospital where she could receive medical
attention. As they journeyed along in their boat, the two white-haired workers
for God reminisced over their long period of service in the mission fields. Both
agreed that it had been most rewarding, and neither would have changed the past
even if it had been within their power. After several days’ journey Mary grew
weaker, “John, can’t we stop here under a large tree for a while?” she
asked. “I’m so tired!” “Her wish was granted, and when he had made her
as comfortable as possible, she looked up into his face and said, “John, I
cannot go any further. I am going to die here. But I want to tell you again how
very glad I am that we came to China.’ And she went on to talk of the
transformation which God, through their ministry, had wrought in hearts and
homes, and in whole villagers where they had labored. “John’s heart was too
full for words, and his eyes, brimming with tears, turned to the river. Not a
Chinese was in sight. The boat crew and servants had sensed that death was near
and had disappeared. He was alone with Mary. “As John bent over her, while she
lay in his arms, she kissed him good-bye, drew one last whisper of a breath, and
was gone…. Gently he laid her on the ground, went down to the boat, took out
an oar, and walked back to Mary. “With the oar he dug her grave. He lined it
with tree boughs, then returned to the boat again, took one of his wife’s
white skirts from their baggage, and somehow made it do for a shroud. Tenderly
he lifted her in his arms and put her body down into the grave; then standing
all alone, he repeated the twenty-third Psalm brokenly but to the last, ‘and I
will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ Afterward he prayed. “Telling
a friend about the experience later, he said, ‘ It nearly killed me to push
the dirt down on her with the boat oar, but I knew that it had to be done, and
the good Lord gave me strength and courage. I left her there to sleep until
Jesus comes.’” After the lonely missionary had completed his heartbreaking
task, he boarded his little craft and once more started down the river. But he
called a halt when he realized their direction and said, ‘No, men; up the
river! Home to the mission station and to work for souls!’ Because, you see,
Mary’s last word to him had been: ‘John, I wish you would go back to our
work and stay in China and witness for God to the end of your life, or till
Jesus comes.” 501 Illustration Page 251 No. 394 “No Other Plan” According
to the story, as Jesus was returning to heaven, the angels asked Him how His
gospel work would be carried on now that He was leaving the earth. Jesus told
them of the work that John, Peter, Mary, and others had done. “They are to
continue my work,” He explained. “And if they fail in the work You have left
for them to do, what other plan do you have?” the angels asked anxiously.
“If they fail,” Jesus said sadly, “I have no other plan.” We must not
fail in the work He was given us do! To grow in our Christian experience, we to
commune with God through prayer. We also need to hear Him speaking to us through
His Word. Every moment of every day we need to depend on the Holy Spirit. No
matter how high our position, how many years we have been with the Lord, or what
our title or status, we need daily private prayer and study. We must refill our
heart with the oil of the Spirit, recharge our souls with the Heavenly Power,
and receive God’s strength for each new day. We cannot have victorious living
unless we have daily prayer, study of God’s Word, and private devotion. Our
old nature lurks in the shadows, ready to jump out at any moment of
carelessness. It constantly strives to revive. Daily, hourly, we need to
reaffirm our surrender to Christ and our dependence on Him. The secret of
Christ’s greatness and His victory was prayer. Had He not prayed as He did, He
wouldn’t have lived as He did. “Prayer in secret, prayer while the hands are
engaged in labor, prayer while walking by the way, prayer in the night season,
the heart’s desires ever ascending to God—this is our only safety. If we
want to be saved at last, “We must look to Christ; we must resist as He
resisted; we must pray as He prayed; we must agonize as He agonized, if we would
conquer as He conquered.” May God help us to make this vital commitment to Him
today. Amen.
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