All For Christ # 3
3. Do all for the GLORY of Christ. The passage, Colossians 3:17, "Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," is well explained by the parallel passage in 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do - do all to the glory of God." The leading idea seems also precisely the same. Whatever is done, even in the commonest matters of life, the food we eat, our conduct at the breakfast table or the dinner table - is to be done for the glory of the Father and the Son. We must seek grace that "to live" may be "Christ, that He may be magnified in our bodies, whether by life or death!" (Philippians 1:20, 21); that "the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in us" (2 Thessalonians 1:12).
Here is the very highest aim it is possible for man to cherish. No angel or archangel before the throne can rise to a loftier height. "To glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever," is Heaven on earth - and Heaven above. And this one desire will simplify a Christian's life, and give to it a unity and a beauty which nothing else could yield. Men are often swayed hither and thither by a variety of motives, sometimes in a right direction, and sometimes the very reverse. Passion, or pleasure, or self-interest, or a kindly feeling toward another, or the desire for man's praise or favor, or the reproof of an uneasy conscience - will actuate them in turns, so that there is no consistency about their conduct.
But let a man ever set this before him: "What will most honor my Redeemer-King? What will bring glory to Him in the world? What will advance His kingdom? This I must do!"
Let a man follow an object like this, and it will give a fixedness, a steadfastness to his walk, which will prove greatly in the end for his own true peace. It will at once solve many a difficulty, and direct a man in the course he should pursue.
"To do all for the glory of Christ" will bring an immediate decision in most all cases. Self and ease and luxury will be sacrificed, and Christ will be honored.
In many other matters the same motive will afford the guidance that is needful. Two courses of action are open to a Christian. There are strong reasons on each side, and both are lawful. Which shall be followed? For example, a young man is choosing his vocation for life. A door is open for great advantage in business, or in some secular profession - but a desire is awakened for the ministry of Christ's Church. But in this latter there may seem but little prospect of worldly promotion. It may be that for many years the slender stipend of a pastor's assistant may be all he may obtain. What shall be the choice?
In his earlier life, Dean McNeile had something of this difficulty. Large property from a relative with the probability of high advancement at the bar, offered on the one side. On the other side, the loss of a fortune, and far less apparent likelihood of temporal advantage. But he chose the latter, and great was his reward in the honor God bestowed upon him in being so useful a champion of His truth.
In many similar cases - in the choice of friends, in the arrangement of our households, in the disposal of our time - we shall never err if we act in the same spirit. We shall never regret hereafter, what we have done "for the glory of Christ."
4. Do all to PLEASE Christ. This is closely connected with acting for the glory of Christ; but it has a distinctness which it is well to bear in mind. It is strongly brought out by the Apostle Paul, in speaking of the Christian being a good soldier of Jesus Christ. "No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who has chosen him to be a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:4).
Servants also are bidden to obey: "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men." (Colossians 3:22, 23).
Ever seek to please Christ! In one sense you ought to "please all men in all things; not seeking your own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." Whenever, for the good of others, you can deny yourself, or please them - fail not to do so.
But to please Christ must be your chief desire. Though you may have to displease man, though you may have to risk hard words, unkind suspicions, ridicule, and persecution - yet if you please Christ it will be well. "Teach me to do the thing that pleases You, for You are my God!"
But how can you please Christ? With so much evil in you, and so many infirmities - is it possible to please the Holy Saviour? Oh yes, Christ is not hard to please! He is no "hard man, reaping where He has not sown, gathering where He has not scattered seed." Nay, if only done in humble love, the least thing is pleasing to Him. Both the alabaster box of ointment and the widow's two mites, were alike acceptable. The least gift you offer, the least upward glance of the heart, the effort to do common work as before Him, a word spoken by the way to guide a little one, to comfort a mourner, to stir up a sleeping professor - each and all is pleasing to Him when done with a single eye for His sake.
5. Do all in the PRESENCE of Christ. Nothing will help you more than this. Live ever seeing Him who is invisible. By His Spirit, He will manifest Himself to you, as He does not unto the world. "The world sees Him no more, but you see Him" - and seeing Him ever near at hand, you shall better be able to please Him. To live ever as in the presence of Christ, seems to me to be the one special preservative against four great disturbers of the Christian's peace.
a. The fear of man. This is ever coming in to mar our usefulness. We are afraid of following that which conscience approves. We are afraid of confessing Christ, or standing alone in the reproof of sin, or speaking a word in a railway station to win a soul for the Master. But if we see Christ by our side, we shall conquer. "Those who are with us are more than those who are against us."
(continued with # 4)