“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46
This passage is truly “the burden of the Lord” on my heart at this time, and I almost unwillingly prepare to examine and meditate upon it, because I am ashamed to know what cause the Master has to speak such tenderly reproachful words to me. There will be some, at least, of my readers who will sympathize with me in this feeling. Shall we, then, go hand in hand into His presence, bearing “the indignation of the Lord, because we have sinned against Him,” hushing our souls to a solemn silence while we listen to the grave charge He makes against us?
In what pathetic tones He pleads with us to note the inconsistency of our words and actions! “Lord, Lord,” we say, professing to be His happy and devoted servants; but, as a matter of fact—do we not constantly do our own will rather than His? We please ourselves in most of the matters which should be subject to His approval, and we constantly comport ourselves, as if no vows of obedience and consecration had ever passed our lips. Is our time at His disposal and command? Is our money spent chiefly for His honor and glory, looked upon as absolutely His, and lent to us only for His service and kingdom? Do we ask the Lord’s counsel over everything which occurs in our daily life?
Of course, there are occasions when, with a start, we wake up to a sense of our deep responsibility to our Master as His professed servants; but does our daily, hourly life show that we are striving in everything to do His commandments, and thus prove our love and loyalty to Him?
Dear friends, my sense of shortcomings, in this respect, is so painfully strong that I would sincerely write with tears, rather than with ink, if I could thereby bring you and myself to a practical realization of our duty to our Master if we have once taken His vows upon us, and called Him “Lord.” I do not wish to judge you; but if, in judging and condemning myself, you should find your own experience described and repeated in mine, I earnestly pray that you will receive my words as a message from God to you personally, and not rest until your sin has been confessed and pardoned.
When I measure myself by the standard of Christian maturity given by the Lord Jesus in His Word, I feel ashamed to call myself His follower at all, so far do I lag behind in running the race, so destitute do I seem of those traits which would prove me to be the Lord’s. I came across the following paragraph in a book I much value; read it carefully, dear friends, and if your heart does not condemn you, (as mine does me,) then lift up your voice in thankful praise to God—that His grace in you has gained so great a victory—
“An ill-tempered Christian, or an anxious Christian, a discouraged, gloomy Christian, a doubting Christian, a complaining Christian, a demanding Christian, a selfish Christian, a cruel, hardhearted Christian, a self-indulgent Christian, a worldly Christian, a Christian with a sharp tongue or bitter spirit—all these may be very earnest in their work, and may have honorable places in the Church, but they are not Christlike Christians; and, no matter how loud their professions may be, they know nothing of the realities of a devoted, consecrated life.”
To be Christlike, is the duty and privilege of every believer. God’s Word distinctly settles that matter when it affirms, “Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” I ask myself—oh, will not you do the same—how much of His likeness has been visible in my conduct during this day? How far have I been from that which my Lord expects me to be—His representative in this sinful world? If bearing the cross after Christ is the chief work of the Christian, have I borne it in patience, and obedience, and full surrender to His will in all things; or have I, as far as I was able, put it aside, and thought my own thoughts, walked in my own ways, and done what pleased myself without any reference to Him or recognition of His right to “reign over me”?
“There are Christians who think they have liberty to do their own will in a thousand things. They speak very much as they like; they do very much as they like; they use their property and possessions as they like; they are their own masters, and they have never dreamed of saying—Jesus, we forsake all to follow You.” May God keep us from the sin and error of thinking that we can accept Christ as our Savior, and yet practically deny Him as our Master! How must His loving heart grieve over the wounds He thus receives in the house of His friends!
“O Lord, it is a hard task which I have undertaken, to try to show to myself and others of Your people, what a low standard of practical piety has hitherto satisfied us! I am unable to set forth our shortcomings, to describe the deceitfulness of our hearts, or to repeat the excuses which the flesh makes as it “lusts against the Spirit,” and seeks to delude the soul into false peace, and an unspiritual contentment. Your hand alone can do the work; only Your own gracious Spirit can convince us of our wrongdoing, and set our feet in the right path. O Lord, revive Your work in us! Help us to cry mightily to You for grace to walk closely with You, that we may be more conformed to Your blessed image!”
“We know, in our hearts, what You mean by “the things which I say.” They are Your gentle commands—Your loving counsels—Your easy yoke—Your tender teachings; henceforth, dear Master, may these be the rule of our life and conduct! Self set aside, Your will paramount; Heaven more near, and better loved than earth; then, indeed, without a question, we may call You “Lord,” and rejoice in the blessedness of union with You. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6