San Diego, California
Just as in our physical life we must breathe, eat, and exercise, so in the spiritual life we must observe these three essentials to success and happiness. The Christian life is a growth, and we must not expect too great results at first, but, if we follow these three essentials to Christian life and growth, we shall have happiness and joy in Christ's service here on earth.
1) First, we must eat. What is the food for spiritual life? “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63) “When Your words came, I ate them: they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” (Jeremiah 15:16) Daily reading and studying of the Bible are necessary to spiritual growth and life. If we do not eat this food for the soul, we shall not grow, but shall finally starve spiritually.
2) Second, we must breathe spiritually. Prayer is the breath of the soul. l Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray continually.” And in Romans 2:12 we read, “Faithful in prayer.” “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. “Ask, and it will be given to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Prayer and its answer is a wonderful theme, and a more wonderful experience. It is the very breath of the soul. Without prayer, the spiritual life will perish sooner than from the lack of any other essential. (See Matthew 7:7 and Mark 11:24)
3) Third, we must exercise or engage in Christian work. We are to labor in God’s vineyard. (Matthew 21:28) In what part of it? Mark 16:15 tells us: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Jesus came into the world— “…not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
This is service and salvation for others, which is very food, and life and exercise. As we take Christ’s name, we shall follow in His steps, doing what we can to help the needy, relieve the distressed, and encourage the down-hearted. Most of all, we shall do our utmost, losing no opportunity to point sinners to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Feeding on the Word, keeping the heart constantly in the spirit of prayer, and consecrating our energies to the eternal welfare of our fellow men—that’s the ideal Christian life, the happiest, most satisfactory life that man can know on this earth.
Let me bear my personal testimony—it’s great to be a Christian! Friend, won’t you give God a chance in your life? Won’t you become a Christian? Won’t you take these steps—these steps to Christ?
To every Christian listening in, let me say: If you are living for Christ, you are doing more than anything else that you possibly could do to bring men to Him. A missionary in China was telling of Jesus for the first time to a group of people in an inland town. When he had finished, someone spoke up and said: “Oh, yes, we knew Him. He used to live here.”
Surprised, the missionary said: “No, He didn’t live here. He lived centuries ago in another land.” The man still insisted that he had seen Jesus, saying: “Not so, He lived in this village. We knew Him.” Then the simple country folk took the missionary out to the village cemetery and showed him the grave of a medical missionary who had lived, healed, served, and died in their community. Ah, yes, they had seen Jesus in this man! And they thought he was Jesus.
Dear friends, do people see Jesus in you, in me? May it be so today.