An Old Word of Exhortation

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Yet another year has rolled away, and we know not if we shall see another, or even a part of another; for "the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." One of the greatest proofs being, alas! (though with much to praise and thank our gracious God for) the general low, lukewarm state of things among us, lukewarmness to Christ Himself, manifested in so many ways. And chiefly, I think I may say, in the fact that (with exceptions that bring glory to God) most "seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." That is, He has not His proper place in our hearts-our own things being in His place. So, though not wrong things in themselves, perhaps, yet the heart unduly occupied with them, even if right, and a duty to attend to them, the Lord Jesus as the Object to live for and serve, is lost. His presence is slipped away from, and the soul is at a distance from Him. Spiritual discernment is dimmed and spiritual power is almost gone. There is little or no caring for the things of Jesus Christ, as there once was, even if the outward walk be right, which it too often now is not, through covetousness getting into the heart.
Suffer me then, dear brethren, to urge upon you, and myself too, the truth that we are "not our own," but "bought with a price." And what a price! He gave Himself for us. Himself! That we are not left down here merely to live decent, moral, and respectable lives, and attend to our business and families, and try to get on in the world till the Lord comes. But to live unto Him in our families and businesses, as witnesses for Him, and in some little way to serve each other and souls around us, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice unto God; that is, an all day, every-day sacrifice unto Him, which is our reasonable service; and "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds."
And what a happy thing this is! How we prove "what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God," when heartily and really yielding ourselves up to Him as those that are alive from the dead. How self is practically gone too when content with earning an honest living and giving up ourselves to God and for others, we thus "walk in love." (Eph. 5.) What a sweet savor to God! If you ask me for the secret spring (and I believe the only way to be able thus to be devoted in heart to Him), how thus to have Christ as the Object for our hearts, as He ought to be, it is in seeing that we are an object to His heart-in seeing that His heart is always thinking of and caring for us, that we are His treasure, that treasure hid in a field, in order to possess which He sold all that He had and bought the field. As one has said, "It is as true of Him, as it is of us, that where His treasure is, there His heart is also." Yes, dear children of God, He is always thinking of, sympathizing with, watching over, caring for and loving us. Oh, to take it in more! Let us dwell upon this, meditate upon it. Ask God to enable our poor, dull hearts to take in Christ's great, and wonderful, and unceasing, unchanging love to us, as really His treasure, and really dear to Him, and we shall find Him becoming an object to our hearts. This is what draws our spiritual affection toward Him to whom we owe so much; yes, to whom we owe everything, and to whom we belong. He will then become our treasure; and where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. If there is one thing we fail in more than another (the root failure, I think), it is in not really believing how much He loves us, or in forgetting it; and then come all kinds of other failures out of this one. Let us judge ourselves for this, dear brethren, praying that prayer in Eph. 3 which ends in asking that we may know the love of Christ toward us, which passes knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.
A word or two more, my brethren. Do we pray for laborers, and for those who edit periodicals? And when you hear, or read, do you go to the Scriptures that are referred to and see "whether these things were so"? Oh! do not let anything take you from the written Word of God. If you have little time for reading, and you find yourself reading periodicals, and not your Bible, rather read your Bible. And always read the Word with the periodicals. Honor God's Word first. I am more and more persuaded of the importance of searching God's own pure Word for oneself, though thankful for and not despising any written ministry, for that would be very wrong and displeasing to God who gives it. And let me urge on you, too, to read prayerfully and with the sincere desire to do God's will. And if in periodicals or reading the Word by itself, or other ministry, we get any light or help or stirring up, or have things brought to remembrance, let us pray God to enable us to live out what we get from Him thus, that He may be glorified, and our own souls really and truly blest during the "little while" that we may still be left in this scene. J.B. Dunlop
"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:1313Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. (Psalm 34:13)