To some people, Christ is a creed or a pattern for life — but not a personal friend. There are a lot of other people who know the “historic Christ,” but to them he is a figure who lived some 2,000 years ago. They read his life much the same as the lives of any other historical person. There are others who see Christ as a dream whose presence has vanished with the dawn. Then there are those who believe his Resurrection, but somehow he is still absent — as if journeying in a distant land. All of these miss the sweet blessedness of knowing Christ.
Christ does not belong to the past, nor to the far away. Rather he is friend who wants to come into the daily life of each of his believing ones. No mother has ever been closer to her child as Jesus is to those who let him in.
Doing God’s will builds character in a person. Doing God’s will builds up inside of us something which can never be torn down, because the person who does the will of God’s abides forever — Jesus said that.
Every true thing we do in Christ’s name, though it may not be seen in the world, leaves an imperishable mark on our own life. Every deed of kindness or unselfishness that we perform, with love in our hearts for Christ, though it may bless no other soul in the world, leaves its benediction on ourselves. When we do the will of God, and are obedient to Christ, though we may not give any good to another person, we will receive a blessing on our self.
A ship is made to be in the water, so the task is not to keep the ship out of water but rather to keep water out of the ship. The same is true with us. The world is our normal element which we were made to live in, so the problem is not how to keep us out of the world, but how to keep the world out of us.
Cares, worries, anxieties, and problems are all around. When we open our hearts to Christ, he does not make them go away, but he will keep them from entering the soul and bringing down your life.
“The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve” —Jesus
True life is ministry, People tend to think that they rise in this world by getting away from service, but the opposite is true. No person really begins to live at all, in any worthwhile sense, until selfishness dies. We should not be asking ourselves how we can use other people to advance our own interests and well-being, but how can we do good for them, serve them, and in some way be a blessing to them.
Stay at the feet of Christ until your heart overflows with love for everyone — even people whom you do not like. Then begin to think about them and live for them. Christ was always making people happy. You too can scatter happiness and grace as a flower scatters fragrance. It is a wonderful thing to put gladness and joy into the heart of another person.
We should not need night to come before we see how wonderful the day was. We should not need sorrow to fall upon us before coming to appreciate the joy in our lives. But it is true that too often we come to learn the true values in our lives only after they have been lost. Too often an empty chair teaches the worth of friendship. O that we could learn to appreciate our good things while we have them. Then we could have joy, and not just the dull pain of regret while looking back at blessings which are gone.
Though many Biblical editors choose to leave out the sentence, it is one which teaches us better than any the depths of human sorrow, and how to find comfort in times of deep sorrow and pain. There was a tremendous amount of “grief” which lay upon Jesus the night of his arrest. As he prayed in Gethsemane, we watch his agony and bitterness leave, and peace take their place.
What we learn from watching this is that there is no other place to go but prayer. Then, what is more, we also learn how to pray. God will never blame us for asking to have the cup removed, nor will he get defensive over the intensity of our asking. But what we must do is always pray with submission. It is when we finally say: “Not my will, but yours…” that comfort comes and the blessings of peace descend upon us.
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.” -Luke 22:44
We should look at the faults of others only through love’s eyes — with charity, patience, and compassion. We do not know the history of people around us. We do not know what scars mark another’s soul. We do not know the pains which make life hard for some with whom we are tempted to be impatient. If we knew all of the secret burdens, and all of the hidden wounds which are carried below a smiling face, we would be more gentle.
Love, in its best moments, does not stop at doing a little. It does not calculate what it will get back; it does not analyze the pros and the cons; it does not measure what it gives against what it receives. It simply thinks the highest and works for the best of another.
If our love for Christ was stronger, deeper, richer, and truer, we would not calculate so closely how much we can afford to give or do. Neither would we consider what we get out of the relationship.
“Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair;…But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples…said, ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’” (John 12:3-4) Those who do not love also do not get it…
People are tempted to be jealous and upset when viewing what other people have, as compared to themselves. If you tend to do that, think of Jesus. With all of his great power and his rich life, he never lived anywhere, or possessed anything which fit his “exalted character.”
If you can do nothing but live a true Christian life — patient, gentle, kind, pure; whether in your family, out in society, or at your work, you will perform a great service to the world and leave behind many blessings. Such a life is the Gospel, telling in sermons without words, the wonderful story or Jesus.