THE life of a normal Christian is a God-breathed and spirited existence, and the daily walk, the expression of a supernatural life within. In the Scriptures, it is clearly told that this is God’s demand for His born-again ones. In experience, it is learned that the world sets the same high standard for the one who professes Christ. Failing to see the evidence of a supernatural life, the world will tear apart, like a preying vulture, the one who dares to put on Christianity on Sunday and build up the devil’s kingdom the rest of the week.
The Bible speaks frequently and forcefully concerning our daily living. “Day by day from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God” (Neh. 3: 18). “So I will sing praises unto Thy Name forever, that I may daily perform my vows” (Psa. 61: 8). “Lord, I have called daily unto Thee” (Psa. 145: 2). “Blessed is the man that heareth Me, watching daily at My gates” (Prov. 3: 24). “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9: 22). “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15: 31). “And they continued daily with one accord” (Acts 2: 46). “But exhort one another daily” (Heb. 3: 13).
The Scriptures provide a pattern that will prove to be a sanctifying influence to every Christian who will live by it. But the pattern operates only on the basis of daily application just as our bodies remain active only on condition that we eat and sleep daily. There are at least five experiences that the Bible demands if we are to live normal, victorious, triumphant lives.
I. — The Daily Crucifixion.
The Apostle Paul said: “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily” (1 Cor. 15: 31). The secret of Paul’s power among men was in the fact that he put himself in the place of death every day. To all, that place of death must be the Cross. And who of us will not agree that Paul became the outstanding defender of Christianity? Kings and mighty monarchs gave him a hearing, for even they could not deny that there was something outstandingly different about him. The daily conquest over the self-life was his entrance into a more abundant and a more fruitful life of service for Jesus Christ.
The Apostle, though speaking often of his own crucifixion, first mentions this amazing truth in his Epistle to the Galatians, when he reveals: “I am crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2: 20). Paul was crucified with Christ, not by following his blessed teachings, nor by attempting to imitate His gracious ways, nor by holding Him aloft as a great example. He was crucified with Christ by being one with Him as his substitute. When a spear pierces the heart and the life goes out, it means the death of every member of the body, and each becomes lifeless, inactive. When God breathes into man’s nostrils the breath of life, the heart begins to function and every member of the body becomes alive, active. To him, the old life becomes dead and inactive; a new life, Christ Himself, had become alive and active.
“Christ liveth in me, Christ liveth in me.
Oh! What a salvation this, That Christ liveth in me.”
Having Christ within, did not render Paul exempt from the daily testings and temptations common to all Christians, The Apostle testified: “When I would do good, evil is present with me” (Rom. 7: 18). But Paul realized that when God raised Jesus from the grave, He did not raise with His Son the sin that nailed Him to the Cross and bore Him to the tomb. Therefore, he could say through the Spirit: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6: 11). When the flesh breaks through to present claims, we must reckon it dead indeed, for God has already dealt with it when He crucified it with Christ. “For Thy sake, we are killed all the day long” (Rom. 8: 36).
In writing to the Galatians, Paul said again: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6: 14). Among the many things in which Paul could have boasted, there was the fact that he was granted the privilege of leading Europe’s first convert to Jesus Christ (Acts 16: 14, 15). It was to Paul that God first had revealed the mystery “that the gentiles should be fellow-heirs and of the same body.” To glory in these things would have been nothing short of a proud boast in the flesh, but death had separated him from this.
II. — The Daily Cross.
Our blessed Lord said: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9: 20). When laying down this prerequisite for discipleship, our Lord was not asking His followers to do something that He Himself was not willing to do. Jesus had just finished predicting His Cross, and then he presented the disciples’ cross. What a striking contrast between the two! That of the Son of God was a logical necessity—“The Son of Man must suffer many things . . . and be slain” (vs. 22). That of the disciples was a matter of individual choice. He must take His; they might take theirs. Christ’s Cross was ordered in eternity past; theirs was optional in the present. His was verified before the foundation of the world; theirs was voluntary in face of the world system. To deny self and take up the cross daily was the acid test. All else depended on that decision alone.
Cross-bearing means a definite decision. For most of us, it is a parting of the ways. The world’s table of dainties is spread sweetly before us, and it speaks invitingly to persuade us to enter into and enjoy its offer. If we are attuned to His voice, it is then that we hear the Lord Jesus say: “Love not the world . . . follow Me.” No doubt, we of ourselves would choose the world, but at the Saviour’s bidding, we deny ourselves and decide for true discipleship. The task we would have turned down, we now take up. The money we would have gained, we gladly give. The life we would have held, we willingly yield. This is a daily decision. Not one of us would hesitate to offer one sacrifice, suffer untold pain and sorrow, or say one long prayer, if we thought we could begin and end with that one decision. But each new day brings a new cross or a new obstacle, a greater need and a more tremendous task! Jesus commenced bearing His Cross in the cradle in Judea and bore it daily until His enemies nailed Him upon a wooden gibbet on Calvary in Jerusalem.
But cross-bearing delivers dividends. The Lord Jesus said: “But whosoever shall lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9: 24). Our Lord promises: “If any man serve Me, him will My Father honor” (John 12: 26). A Christian is constrained to feel like Paul when he said: “Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy” (Acts 20: 24).
III. — The Daily Call.
“Lord, I have called daily upon Thee” (Psa. 88: 9). The eighty-eighth Psalm is probably one of the most sorrowful in all the Psalter. Other Psalms that began with distress, closed with victory. But here the Psalmist commences with distress and closes with the word “darkness.” The Psalm describes a great sufferer whose “soul is full of troubles.” It depicts a “man that hath no strength.” Yet through all of his tribulation, he called daily upon the Lord. His praying was not spasmodic; it was a daily call to the God of Heaven.
A greater Sufferer than the Psalmist, passed through even more than is written in this Psalm. He too, called daily upon His Father in Heaven. No greater suffering has been experienced than that of our Lord in Gethsemane’s Garden. The agony of Christ’s passion in the Garden was a solitary one. No one was near to offer Him comfort or consolation; for even Peter, James and John had fallen asleep. “He began to be sorrowful and very heavy.” In that hour of unequalled loneliness, He prayed. He had said to His disciples: “Sit ye here while I pray” (Mark 14: 32). And then “He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed” (vs. 35). We are constrained to believe that calling upon His Father was Christ’s daily portion, and that each daily decision was made on His knees. As soon as Jesus had finished praying for the will of His Father, while the storm still raged in His soul, “there appeared an angel unto Him from Heaven,” strengthening Him for the Cross and the agonies of Calvary. He then went out to meet the traitorous Judas, and unhesitatingly He suffered the shame of the Cross. A calm and a tranquility swept over His soul and before Him His tormentors stood amazed in the face of a courage they could not understand. But there can be only one analysis of such quietude; namely, He called daily upon His heavenly Father. “Lord, I have called daily upon Thee.”
“What a wonderful salvation,
Where we always see His face!
What a perfect habitation,
What a quiet resting place!
Blessed quietness, holy quietness,
What assurance in my soul!
On the stormy sea, He speaks peace to me,
How the billows cease to roll!”
Since the daily call of the Psalmist and of our Lord Jesus Christ, was their victory in every trying circumstance, we too, need to learn its importance. It is the Christian’s most important weapon against the attacks of the enemy, and by faith, it is his first line of offense in the warfare of this life. Here the enemy is met and conquered; here foes are subdued; here the battle is fought and won. The daily call aids in attacking and in bringing into submission, the high towers of the enemy; the arrows of the foe are received and repulsed; and the strategy of the invader is discovered and dispelled. Here our wills submit—unresisting, uncomplaining, and subdued; and in the time of trouble come strength and deliverance.
The daily call provides a sufficient amount of grace, not only to endure affliction, but also to rejoice in it. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4: 16). It is at the throne of grace that we are equipped to walk blameless before the world (2 Cor. 1: 12). Before no other throne can the believer find consolation and good hope (2 Thess. 2: 16).
The daily call makes possible a life of fruitfulness. “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (John 15: 7, 8). If our lives are not fruitful, it is because we are not abiding in Him and asking of Him. Can you say, “Lord, I have called daily upon Thee?”
IV. — The Daily Continuance.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord . . .” (Acts 2: 46). These words denote the enthusiasm of the first Christian Church. The Lord Jesus had gone up, the Holy Spirit had come down, and the apostles went out, and that “same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” And they continued daily in one accord. It is difficult in these days to gather the saints in one accord, and much more difficult to get them to continue daily. Yet this was the secret of the remarkable growth in the early Church. Daily they witnessed from house to house, eating together with singleness and gladness of heart, “and the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2: 46, 47). When we are faithfully continuing daily, God is faithful in adding daily.
Our Lord began the greatest business in all the world—winning men to Himself. How slow and spasmodic we are in continuing the task! He left it with us, but we are failing miserably. To the early Church came results, not by the eloquence of the preacher, not by reasoning with the people or presenting them with a logical argument, but by a daily continuing, all-out effort of witnessing the truth in the power of the Spirit concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Conviction and conversion were immediately followed by instruction and additions to the Church.
When the Holy Spirit descended upon the fearful, timid followers of Christ, they became possessed of a new courage. A burning passion to preach Christ had gripped them until they could do nothing other than come out of their hiding places and undertake the mighty aggressive task of presenting Christ’s Gospel to the pagan masses. Today, the command remains unaltered, and the redeemed of God must reach the world from center to circumference with the message of salvation through the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
They continued in the Apostles’ doctrine (teaching). This was not a haphazard attendance at the House of God, but a faithful, regular continuing before the Lord. They did not listen to a few sermons, and then feel that they knew more than the Apostles themselves. They came daily for more of the soul-food that had begun to strengthen them and that had sustained them. It is small wonder that they were witnessing daily, for they were feeding daily. To become witnesses of the truth, they had come hungering to learn the truth. Not until we continue daily in saturating ourselves with the truth of God’s Word and in witnessing, will we impress the dying masses that they need the Gospel that we claim to love. May we, like the Bereans of old, “receive the Word with all readiness of mind, and search the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17: 11).
V. — The Daily Care of Each Other.
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3: 13). The writer to the Hebrews presents one of the most successful ways of keeping ourselves from falling prey to the deceitfulness of sin. He told the Christians to exercise a daily care for one another. It is grievous to hear of one of God’s dear children yielding to temptation or answering to the appeal of the world or even submitting to the subtlety of Satan. This is bad enough in itself, yet we find that we most contend with Christians critically discussing the sins of weaker and less fortunate brethren. It ever has been the ambition of Satan to enlist Christians in aiding him to carry out his evil work of “accusing the brethren.” When the “scandalizer” and “gossiper” yields to the desire to discuss the sins of another, he himself may become hardened through the deceitfulness of his own sin.
In Galatians 6: 1, the Spirit cites an example of a child of God overtaken in a fault. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” The word “overtaken” connotes surprise. The Christian hurriedly carried into sin, is oftentimes surprised by the fact of the fault itself. The need for him becomes a matter of restoration, and God is demanding that other Christians shall be the instruments in divine hands to restore him to the place of confession to and fellowship with God. To “restore” means “to reconcile factions, to set broken bones or a dislocation.”
When a Christian sins, he is not in correct relationship to his Head and to the rest of His body. He, though still a member of the body, is a dislocated joint, and needs very urgent attention. When an arm or a leg becomes dislocated, it demands immediate medical care. If nothing is done to reset the limb, the pain becomes more severe. So it is with the sinning Christian. He dare not remain in sin, for this only makes his misery greater and his restoration more difficult and bitter. Do you not see how important it is that our love, one for the other be without “dissimulation” or “hypocrisy”? The Apostle Peter said that our love for each other should be “unfeigned” (1 Peter 1: 22). This means “undisguised” or “without pretense.” Let us then exhort or draw near to one another so that the ministry be not blamed and we ourselves are not overtaken through the deceitfulness of sin.
It is the daily life that makes us an influence in the world as witnesses of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each Christian has his own responsibility in the daily service of his Lord. Therefore, there should be an intensity of purpose in the daily effort, for a Christlike live in the every day walk will convince those around us that the Gospel has power, not only to save, but to deliver daily from temptations within and without.
Beloved, we beseech you, do not miss the importance and the purpose of your calling. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3: 1, 2). Begin now! The world waits for a daily demonstration of the Christ Who lives in you.
“Our Hope” 1942