Life has been given to us by the living God. He is the source of life. "It is he that hath made us and not we ourselves" (Psalm 100:3). But, we are told of life, ". . . it is even a vapour (mist) that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14). God did not prepare us to live on earth forever! However, he does want us to LIVE WITH HIM FOREVER.
What, then, should be our concept of life on earth? Surely, it is a time, granted to us by the mercy of God, to prepare ourselves for eternal living. When we think of the words of praise and power that we often sing, "How Great Thou Art," we should include in our thoughts God's greatness because of that which he offers to us - "eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). God can take our worthless lives and, as a potter, makes a vessel unto honor, so he can make something worthwhile, beautiful, and eternal of our lives - if we will let him do so. In order that we may be recipients of God's wonderful blessings, we must follow the guidelines given to us by the living God. Some of them we now observe:
"If ye love me, (ye will - ASV) keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Throughout the history of God's dealings with man, this has been a principle with God. Again and again, God said to the people of old that they were to keep (observe to do, obey) the commandments of the Lord (Genesis 22: 18; Deuteronomy 7: 11, Jeremiah 7:23). The New Covenant is replete with statements from the Holy Spirit that we are to obey God. In fact, Christ is the "author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9). The apostle John declares, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4).
God's wonderful book closes with these words, as some of the very last words of God: "Blessed are they that do his commandments (wash their robes ASV) that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22: 14). There can be no doubt; those who walk the golden street of the eternal city of God will be those who in their earthly pilgrimage were obedient to the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21).
"Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17). One cannot live the life of a Christian without prayer! Jesus, the sinless Son of God, prayed often. On occasion, he spent the entire night in prayer (Luke 6: 12). How could we possibly expect to survive or prosper in the Christian life without prayer? It is to be and must be a very important part of every Christian's endeavor to live acceptably before God. Great men of God were men of prayer. Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Paul, and Stephen kept in close touch with God through prayer. One can rejoice or weep before God in prayer and be not afraid nor ashamed, for God understands. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil" (I Peter 3:12).
"Keep thyself pure" (I Timothy 5:22). One of the obvious facts of life is that this is a personal responsibility. Mother or Dad can not accomplish this task for us. Regardless of how deeply one may love another, one can not keep this responsibility for another. It is true that we can help one another to maintain personal purity. But, in the final analysis, it must be done by the person who wants to be pure.
"Give your bodies as a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1). Of the Macedonians the apostle wrote: "but first gave their own selves to the Lord" (II Corinthians 8:5). Giving is to be the very nature of the child of God. The world is busily occupied with "getting." The Christian is to be involved in giving. Our Lord said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). The child of God will find that he cannot outgive his Father! "Give and it shall be given unto you . . ." (Luke 6:38).
A giving life is so much more bountiful than a selfish, indulgent, worldly life of constant getting. What great things we can do when we turn loose of self and go with God who " . . . gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16). Real living is never achieved without real giving.
"Let no corrupt communication (speech - ASV) proceed out of your mouth" (Ephesians 4:29). While we live in a time in which it is assumed by many that "corrupt speech" is the way everyone speaks, it should never be so with Christians. Profanity, and filthy speech, are so useless; for nothing is made better by the use of such. Though some seek to intimidate, show their "power," prove their bravery, or sophistication, by corrupt or filthy communication, it falls short of such accomplishment. It simply brands one as lacking vocabulary or the intelligence to communicate his thoughts without useless punctuation.
Cursing is so commonplace in our society that it no longer seems to be offensive to most people. In fact, we pay to hear it! In movies, on TV, and we even read it in "best sellers!" We voluntarily gather in places where it is commonly spoken; God's name in not reverenced, but profaned!
We have been taught by our Lord that out of abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). Our Lord also warns, "By thy words thou shalt be Justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:37). It is always the part of wisdom in our daily living to watch our words.
"A new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another, as I have loved you" (John 13:34). Loving others makes living so much more worthwhile. Love that reaches out into the lives of others is its own reward, but there are even additional blessings. Other lives are made happier, more responsive. Sadness, depression, emptiness are often overcome because someone cares. The Hebrew writer said, "Let brotherly love continue" (Hebrew 13:1). So let it be! Living is so much better when love of the brethren is characteristic of Christians.
So essential is love to living the life to which God calls men, that the apostle John emphatically says, "He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love" (I John 4:8).
Put these guidelines from God into your daily living. You will see the difference! You will find it to be so much better, and God will be pleased.
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