All For Christ # 2
In fact, there is no part of our life that must be exempted from Christian principle. Business and recreation, social fellowship, the use of our money and our time - all we are, all we have, all we do or say must be for Christ, if we would be true to Him. We must never mark out one acre, or one square yard, or one inch of our life, and say in our heart, "Christ has nothing to do with this!" If we willfully take one single moment of our lives, or one single act, or word, or thought out of the direct control of the fear and love of God - that moment, or act, or word, or thought is one of sin.
But what is it to do all "in the name of Christ"? Let us first look at it negatively. It teaches me that I must not act at random. Many are led by the impulse of the moment. They are driven hither and thither by every wind. To do this, is to be as a ship without the rudder - sure one day to be wrecked on the rocks or the quicksands. It is to be as a carriage going down a hill without a hand to direct the horses. It is to be as a train rushing on without driver, until some terrible collision or other accident brings it to a stop.
Neither must I act as the world does. Just to be like those around them, to be no better and no worse, satisfies many. But to copy the customs and follow the standard of an evil world, is far below the calling of a Christian. To set examples rather than follow them, is his duty and privilege. To be a child of God "in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation," to shine as a light in the world, is the Master's plain command.
Neither must I act merely as a good citizen, a good neighbor, a good husband, or father, or wife, or child. To be exemplary in the family relationship brings a present reward. We can only be too thankful for those who act thus. Would that there were more who endeavored to rise as high as this.
But the Christian goes further. To do all in the name of Christ is to act in everything as one of Christ's disciples. It is to live as one who bears the name of Christ, a representative here below of the great Redeemer exalted to the Father's right hand. The living Christ is there in glory. But if you are His, He dwells in your heart by His Spirit, and you are to go forth into an evil world bearing His mark, guided by His Spirit, so that men may see in you, as in a looking glass, something of the Saviour's grace, and majesty, and glory.
It is a very high standard, and there are none but come sadly short of it. But let us set it before us. Let us remember we are called to it. Let us be content with nothing lower, and then we shall be assured that Christ is with us, and will in some measure enable us to attain as we desire.
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Here is our aim. The main thought is, that in everything, the Christian acts as a representative of Christ. But in seven particulars the idea seems to branch out, and each one may assist the Christian in holy walking.
1. Do all in the STRENGTH of Christ. From first to last, a Christian has no power in himself. He has no power to resist evil or rise higher, or to fulfill a single precept. As soon may a child two years, kill a robust lion, as a Christian in his own strength conquer sin. Perhaps a man says about some particular fault or temptation, "I have no fear on that score!" But it is not at all unlikely a few weeks after, he may have to lament his self-confidence. Or perhaps a man says, "That is not one of my weak points!" and he glories that in that direction there is no likelihood of his falling. But whether it be our weak point or our strong point, there is no security except in lowly trust in the Saviour.
Moses was meek - but he was angry with the people, and spoke unadvisedly with his lips, and so was never permitted to enter Canaan. Hezekiah had been a faithful and devoted servant of God - but when God left him to try him, he soon fell into evil. But depend continually on the grace of the Lord Jesus, and you will conquer. "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might."
A working man had followed Christ for twenty years, but he found the glass of beer was getting too strong a hold of him. It was a great struggle with him what he should do; but he wisely determined, as the only safe remedy, to give it up altogether. But he found it harder work even than beginning to serve Christ at first. Friends did not understand his being so particular, and he found it rather hard crossing "the bridge of sneers," and getting up "opposition hill." One day, however, he took up an old hymn book, and his eye lighted on this verse:
"Let not my heart despond and say,
How shall I stand the trying day?
He has declared by firm decree,
That as your day, your strength shall be."
The words cheered his heart and sent him on his way rejoicing, and ever since he has been thankful for the help thus afforded him. It you wish to overcome, remember the secret. It is by ever clinging to the strong One. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
2. Do all out of LOVE to Christ. Here is to be our motive. Love makes duty light. Love makes toil and labor pleasant. Love sweetens the bitter cup, and makes self-denial easy. A spirit of grateful love, changes the character of everything we have to do. Hence nourish the sacred flame. "Let the love of Christ constrain you." Think of all He is, how infinitely worthy of the love of man and angels. Think of all that He has done for you by His life and His death.
Think of ...
His everlasting love to you,
His constant intercession for you,
His continual watching over you,
His ever guiding your footsteps,
His delivering you from dangers on the right hand and on the left,
His preparing a glorious home for you in His kingdom above.
Look for the Spirit to stir up within you perpetually the remembrance of His love. Come to His table that you may be the more quickened in the knowledge of His exceeding great love and tender mercy. Pray that your heart may be "hot with the love of Christ" - so shall you life praise Him, and show forth what He has done for you.
Once earthly joy I craved,
Sought peace and rest;
Now You alone I seek,
Give what is best!
This all my prayer shall be,
More love, O Christ, to Thee.
More love to Thee!
(continued with # 3)