All For Christ # 1
There is an exquisite hymn of Christian experience which tells of the writer's growth in grace. It testifies of an increasing sense of Christ's preciousness. In the four verses four steps show the progress made:
"All for self - and none for Thee."
"Some for self - and some for Thee."
"Less for self - and more for Thee."
Then comes the blessed outcome:
"Higher than the highest Heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea:
Lord, Your love at last has conquered;
Grant me now my soul's petition:
None for self - and all for Thee."
"All for Christ" is the aim every Christian should cherish in life. We can only enjoy the comfort and peace which Christ gives, in proportion as we walk as He directs. If we desire to spend a happy, useful life, if we desire to meet the trials and the cares it may bring in quiet confidence and hope - we must not only rely upon the Saviour's all-sufficient grace, but carefully obey the precepts He has given us.
Doing this, we need never be afraid. Dark clouds may overshadow our path,disease and death may visit our homes, losses and bad debts and hard times and multiplied troubles may come upon us - but doing God's will, trusting in His never-failing providence, relying upon His free grace and mercy in Christ, we are assured that He is with us, and will never fail us.
"All for Christ" is our motto. The Apostle Paul gives it in a few striking words: "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by Him" (Colossians 3:17).
We mark here, that true Christian principle has universal sway and operation. It has deep foundations. It rests on the solid rock of revealed truth. It takes its stand on sound doctrine, the Divine Sonship, the atonement, the resurrection, the mediatorial power and dignity of the Lord Jesus, on the renewing and regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, as the source of all peace and consolation. But, resting here, as the ground of hope and security.... the conscience purged through the sprinkled blood, the heart changed and the will molded by the Spirit, the believer goes forward in a spirit of lively gratitude to carry into daily practice the lessons which grace has taught him.
And in the obedience to be rendered, there is no limitation. The precept is as broad as the promise. "Whatever you shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it to you." "All things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." Thus runs the promise. (John 16:23; Matthew 21:22). Exactly parallel runs the precept: "Whatever you do ... do all in the name of the Lord Jesus;" or again, "Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). On the one hand you have the "whatever" of promised good; on the other, the "whatever" of obedience commanded. You have the "all things" given in love to the believer; you have the "all things" to be performed out of gratitude according to God's will.
So we see that the precept takes in the whole field of a Christian's life and duty. It covers every inch of ground. It distinctly bears on every act and word and thought, and on every moment of our time. It permits no exceptions. From our first waking thought in the morning to the last breath we draw before we sleep at night, from the first day of January to the last day of December, and that of every year of our lives, until our course is run - all is to be yielded, gladly and willingly, to the service of our Redeemer-King.
"Business is business, work is work, religion is religion," is the thought of some who profess and call themselves Christians. Not so! Business is religion, work is religion, our common everyday duties are religion, if only they be done as the Master bids us.
A commercial traveler once gave me his idea on this subject: "Our clergyman comes out of a hot bed," said he, "and preaches on Sunday a sermon on our duty far higher than we can reach. So I listen to what he says, and then go back to my work on Monday remembering my chief duty is to provide for my wife and my family."
There was a measure of truth in his words. I admit that the precepts of Christ are "far too high" for a man of the world. To do as Christ commands must be as intolerable bondage to one who has no living faith, who knows nothing of Christ's love, nor has received the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. But it is not too high for one who is a Christian indeed. No aim can be too exalted for one who has been purchased by the blood of Christ, and who has yielded himself as a living sacrifice to the Father in Heaven. We dare not to please man, lower the standard or lessen the responsibility which is laid upon us. We dare not, and we must not, narrow the limit of our service or the extent of our obedience.
The standard which the Apostle gives, reaches to every sphere and concerns every part of life. It touches the hidden world of the heart, and claims a control over every thought and motive and purpose. It comes to the little world of the family circle, and is our guide as to all we should speak and do amidst children or others about us. It follows us into the social world of friends and acquaintances, and is to control our pleasures and recreations, the amusements we frequent, the books we read, and the company we choose.
It pursues us to the world of business, and takes note of our course of action in the shop, in the counting-house, in the market-place, or the exchange.
It does not leave us in the world of politics, but marks how far, in the use of our influence, in giving a vote at an election, we have regard to the upholding of His truth, and the interests of His kingdom. In the religious world we are still to be directed by the same precept. What worship we offer, what liberality we show, what labor we are willing to give - all this is taken into account by Him who searches the heart and knows all our ways.
(continued with # 2)