by C. E. Orr


THE MORE ABUNDANT LIFE

Feed thou, today, upon the holy Book;
Be strong to conquer ‘mid the raging strife:
Help other struggling souls to win today,
For thou shalt never pass again this way.

Feed thou, today, upon the holy Book;
Be strong to make thy path without a crook;
Lend thou a hand to others lest they stray;
For thou shalt never pass again this way.

O soul of mine, be ever wide awake;
Do all within thy power, for Jesus’ sake,
To feed some hungry, fainting soul today,
For thou shalt never pass again this way.

--CHARLES E. ORR



“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. These words of Jesus furnish the foundation on which this booklet is builded. The great Judge of all men had passed the sentence of death upon all the race of man. (See Rom. 5:12). Jesus came to revoke this death sentence and to give life unto men. He says to all, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation. but is passed from death unto life.” (St. John 5:24). Passing from death unto life is a wonderful experience, but millions of earth have experienced it. Nature furnishes many an illustration of this marvelous transition. We see it all around us in the springtime. We behold it when we see the caterpillar pass from its coma state in the cocoon into the butterfly life. This experience Jesus calls, being “born again.” (See John 3:7). An angel speaking to the virgin Mary said, “Thou shalt bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus.” Luke 1:31. He told her that the Holy Spirit should come upon her, and the power of the Highest should overshadow her and Christ should be born of her. She willingly yielded her life to this wonderful and miraculous work. The Holy Spirit took the seed of God and brought it in contact with the seed of the woman and Christ was born of her.

All men are highly favored of God. He will send the Holy Spirit to every one, and all those who will yield their wills and life to Him the Holy Spirit will bring their spirit in contact with the Spirit of God and Christ will be formed in them. Certainly it is a marvelous experience, but it is the way and only way to get into possession of that life that Jesus came to give. This is the all-important event in the life of man. Except we be born of the Spirit it would be far better had we never been born of the flesh.

In the words of our foundation text, Jesus teaches, not only that man can have life, but also that he can have it more abundantly. By this He means that there is to be a constant development of this life. When man receives this life, if it is allowed to develop according to its nature he will daily grow up into the more abundant life. To aid saints to grow into more abundant life as the days come and go, is the message of this little book. May God bless it to that end. Our spirit must be brought into contact with the Spirit of God that we might have life. This is what constitutes a Christian. Our spirit must be kept in close contact with God’s Spirit that we may retain this life. There needs be as constant a flow of the life of God through Christ into our soul that we may live and grow as the branch has of the life of the vine. Jesus is the uniting link between God and man. He touches God on the one hand, and man on the other and in and through Him we are kept in adjustment with God. In Christ we are made new creatures; we have a new life, and have a fresh start in humanity. Christianity is not a cold, staid, formal, and exact exterior, but an inward life. The external, by culture, may be brought into quite a degree of perfection, hut this will only be delusive except it flows joyously from the perfect life of Christ in the soul. We may be very zealous for the cause of God, and this zeal may serve as a cloak to hide the coldness of the inward life. God wants the worker more than the work. He wants our love more than our labor, our hearts rather than our hands. His kingdom is advanced far more by what we are than by what we do. We may do ever so much, but if our doing is not the outfiowing of the cheering, joyous, hopeful life of Christ at the center of the heart our work will be destructive instead of constructive. If we would reproduce the life of Christ in our life the interior spiritual union with God must be sustained and intensified in our souls.

Those who walk close with God tell us that there is a woeful lack of spiritual power among the people of God today. They say that there are but few who enter into that spirit of prayer that filled the life of Jesus in those early morning hours when praying in that solitary place. They tell us, however, that there are a few rare souls that are panting after God, and who are lifted up, by grace, into the atmosphere of a sincere, devout life. There are those who know how to leave all earthly things behind, and in the Spirit find heavenly sweetness in a quiet hour with God. These are earth’s choicest jewels upon which God has set His love. These are the souls that make God their first end, and their service to God their second end, and because of this they keep themselves unwearied and unworned in their service. They seek to be good more than do good, for they know except they be good their doing is not as good as it should be. These are the souls that go apart from the world and in the solemn hush of prayer fill their souls with God and then every act of their service is fragrant with His presence.

All life was created with an end in view. God has garnered in every seed hidden principles of life which will develop after its kind. There are forces in all life which struggle to bring that life to its designed end. There is power in life. It is a mistake to seek after power. It exposes the soul to deception. Seek after life. The measure of your spiritual life is the measure of your spiritual power. Where there is little life there is little power. If you do not have power with God in prayer, if you can not lift your soul up into the presence of God and commune with Him in closest intimacy, you are wanting in spiritual life. Something has hindered the development of those life-forces born into your soul at regeneration. If you are not living a victorious life amid the annoyances and provocations of every day life, you need more of that abundant life which Jesus came to give. You are allowing something to prevent the principle of life developing after its kind. There is a block somewhere. The contact with God is broken at some point; the channel is clogged somewhere. Maybe there has entered your soul an inclination to go after earthly things. Maybe you are adorning the body for its sake; or maybe you get worried and fretted by some of earth’s losses, or seek enjoyment from the creature rather than the Creator. 0 soul, flee earthly things, and lay hold on eternal life. A seed is sown into the ground. It springs into life. There are forces in that life that push it upward through the crust of earth. Every day it is on its march toward the end for which it was created. Those life principles bear it onward and upward instinctively to its designed end. It rises into the stalk, the blade, the tassel, and the full ear. The soul in which has been born the life of Christ contains those principles and forces that struggle for growth and development. They are ever reaching up and taking hold on that which will bring them to maturity. Life links itself with life. The soul that has the life of Christ is linked with Christ and longs to rise to the fulness of Him. That life in the egg shell has power to burst open the door of its prison house and come forth to a higher state of existence. The soul in which has sprung up the life that Jesus came to give is imprisoned here in the body of flesh. While here it is ever struggling for that higher liberty for which its life calls. Heavenly life in the soul is not reaching out after earthly things; it is ever reaching out after that which will carry it on to the fulness of its type which is Jesus. That soul is not spending much time, nor is it so greatly interested in its “earthly house.” It groans and longs for that “house which is from heaven.” (See 2 Cor. 5:1, 2.) There is a glorious liberty awaiting the children of God. (Read Rom. 8:21.) It is that liberty the soul will have when it lays aside this mortal body to be clothed with an immortal body when this vile body shall be changed and “fashioned like unto His glorious body.” (Phil 3:21). 0 child of God, make sure that you have left all earthly things behind, and are reaching forth to those things that are before; that you are pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:13, 14). That “high calling of God” is the call to that glorious body in which you will not be seeing through a glass darkly, and shall know even as you are known. Give diligent heed to the culture of your life. See that you are rising higher every day into more abundant life. Beware lest you admit something into your life that would hinder the growth of your spiritual life. Give full liberty to those principles and forces of eternal life in your soul, that they be not hindered in their reaching out after God. Give full freedom to the Holy Spirit to work around in your heart producing in you that which is well pleasing in God’s sight. (See Heb. 13:21.) See that your spirit is ever the throne-room of God, and that you enter often into that innermost seclusion and fertilize your spiritual life by His virtues. If you would be constantly growing up into more abundant life, you must hide your life with Christ in God. You must dwell with the Most High in that secret place where the voices of the world cannot disturb the sweet, solemn hush of your soul’s communion with eternal things, and where there is such a sacred calm that you can hear the whis¬perings of the Holy Spirit as He is instilling every thought and desire into your life. 0 man of God, flee earthly things; go often into that solitary place and sup in holy communion with the gentle Lover of your soul. Jesus speaks of four things which, if the Christian would rise higher into that more abundant life, must daily practice.

The first is:

“COME UNTO ME”

The sinner must come to Jesus that he might find life and rest. Christ says, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:40). Reader, is that true with you? Coming to Jesus to obtain life is only the starting point in the race along the narrow way to that fullcr life in our “house which is from heaven.” But after you have received life there must be a constant, daily com¬ing to Jesus for the bread of life. Those physical life principles and forces in the life of children call loudly for such food as will enable them to develop into higher and stronger life. The same is true of your spiritual life. It seeks after and must have nourishment that will expand the life principles into more vigorous life. This is the only way to soul rest. If your spiritual life is denied being fed for only one day you will suffer some loss of full assurance which is necessary to perfect rest. The growing child is a heavy feeder. The soul that is in health requires much at the bosom of God. It can become so habituated to stated hours for feeding that it will experience an unrest if the time is passed by. This is true in the life of a child, and why should it be less true in the spiritual life? And if regular feeding of the child is necessary to the best development of its life, why is not the regular feeding of the soul necessary to its development? We beseech you to not neglect the proper feeding of your spiritual life.

What is the best soul food? Jesus says. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). As the body feeds on bread, so the soul on the Word of God. It was in those early morning hours in the solitary place and those all night on the hill sides in prayer to the Father that Jesus fed His spiritual life. If it was needful for Him to do this, can it be less for us? Jesus says to us, “As the living Father hath sent me, and T live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” (John 6:57). The words “hath sent me” teach us that Christ lived constantly in the thought that He was sent of God, and that He must always be about His Father’s business. To do this He must live by the Father. He must live by His Father’s strength, by His Father’s will, by His Father’s life. To feed on Christ is to not live ourselves, but for Christ to live in us. We live by His strength, we triumph by His power, we pray in His name, and we do all things for His glory.

To be constantly growing into the more abundant life there must be a prompt obedience to His every command to “come.” If you would walk on the water (keep above the things of the world, and the circumstances of life) you must heed His word “come.” Christ has the words of eternal life. In those words are just such nourishment as our spiritual life demands for its growth and development. “As new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” 1 Pet. 2:2. Moffatt renders this, “Thirst for the pure, spiritual milk to make you grow up to salvation.” The word “salvation” here means maturity, or to the fulness of Christ. To neglect feeding on the word of God is to neglect the culture of the soul, and the consequence is to soon become weak and powerless in the Chris¬tian life. To have power to live a holy life the word of God must be brought into the heart. (See Psa. 119:11). The words of Jesus must be eaten in the heart, digested, assimilated, and thrown into our soul-life. When the oxygen in the air is taken into the lungs and there thrown into the blood it kindles a fire and fills us with a physical energy. There are just such elements in Christ’s word as are adapted to the needs of our spiritual life. When these elements are brought in contact with our spiritual life they kindle a fire and fill us with spiritual energy and power. The great mistake multitudes are making is that they are feeding their intellectual life instead of their spiritual life.

How to feed the soul on the word of God, is what many want to know. We shall tell you in the simplest way we know how, and that is the way God has taught us. Let there be a daily reading of the Bible and meditation upon it. Do not neglect the meditation. You will suffer in your spiritual life if you do. In proportion as we neglect to meditate on the word of God we shall be weak in our souls. Remember I do not say that you must study your Bible. Thousands are studying it by one and another meth¬od and are growing powerless in their soul life. There is a vast difference between studying the Word, and meditating upon it. Study will bring it into the mind, meditation brings it into the heart. Beware of those schools, and ‘correspondence courses” in which you are required to pay a fee for your instruction. The Holy Spirit must be our Instructor and His instructions are free. We shall give you five general rules for the getting of God’s word into the heart. For example, let us take Matt. 6:24-34. We would advise you to follow no prescribed course of Bible study given by schools, but you pray God to guide you in the portion of Scripture for your meditation. If you follow man’s selection of Scripture you may miss that por¬tion your soul needs most.

Physicians may prescribe a general course of diet that is good in a general way, but this is not safe for every one to follow, for what one needs may be the opposite to the needs of another. We may write books that are good in a general way, hut we cannot select the Scripture portions that are the best for the culture of your spiritual life. What one needs another may not need. You and the Holy Spirit -your Teacher---know best the portion of Scripture that will best meet the needs of your life. Whatever portion of Scripture God leads you to read, we shall give you five rules for the reading of it. The Holy Spirit may give you more and other rules. I am giving you what the Spirit has given me.

First. Read your Scripture selection over carefully and prayerfully, inviting the Holy Spirit to interpret its hidden meaning to your understanding. If you are reading Matt. 6:24-34, we would say that there are depths in these words that few, if any, have ever descended into. They need to be read slowly and prayerfully while you ask God to give you light on their meaning.

Second. Gird up the loins of your mind. Concentrate your thoughts on the words. Do not let your mind wander. If it starts to wandering, bring it back. The school boy will have to do this if he understands his lesson. You must exercise your will power. If your will power is not exercised it will not increase, and if your will power is not increased by the reading of the Bible you are not reading it rightly. Do not think that you can get much out of reading this Scripture without great labor. The school boy needs to labor to get mental food, and you will have to labor to get soul food. It will cost you some effort to concentrate thoughts and mind upon your reading, and especially is this true if you have not been long in Christ’s school.

Third. But you must do more than give the close attention of your mind to your reading. There must be intention. Do not forget this. Attention is to study; intention is the purpose of your study. You are not to study the Bible that you might be able to preach it, or teach it, but read it for the purpose of feeding your spiritual life that you might grow up into the fulness of God. Turn your heart as well as your mind to the reading. By your spirit take such hold upon the words in such a way as to make them a part of your life. Christ’s words are spirit and they are life, and it is only by your spirit that you can feed on those spiritual words.

Be praying while you are reading. Keep your soul lifted up to God while you read. Your mind and your heart are to feed at the same time. You are to read in the spirit. Reading the Bible is the listening side of prayer. You pray when you talk to God, and it is no less prayer when you listen to God talk to you through His word. Reading in the spirit deepens the union of your spirit with the Spirit of God. It will loosen the hold earthly things may have upon you, and deepen your interest in things eternal. It will bring God near, and reveal Him in wondrous beauty to your soul. It will fill you with renewed courage and make you strong on the battlefields of life. It will infuse into your inmost being a sense of holy fear, and make the acts of life an act of worship.

Fourth. Set your will, aided by God’s power, to reproduce in your life what you read in the Book. Jesus says, “Take no thought about your life, what you shall eat, or drink or wear.” See that you put into momentary practice what you have read. It will do you but little good to read the Book if you do not practice what you read. It is the practicing that makes you strong. What you ~at of physical food will give life to your muscles, but if you do not give exercise to those life forces it will all be lost. You had better not read the Bible at all than to read it and not practice it. How much time did Jesus ever spend thinking about what He should eat and wear? You may say that he had power to get Him what He needed. But Jesus never used that power out of God’s ordained way. He went into the field for wheat when He needed to have wheat to eat. He sent the disciples into the town to buy food when they needed it. He refused to turn stones to bread merely for his body’s sake. He did nothing for His body that He will not do for yours. If you are God’s consecrated child, your body is His, and He will care for it as certainly as He cared for His own body. That body that Jesus lived in while here was no more His own than is your body, and He loves your body, which is His, as much as He loved his own. There is a sense in which Jesus took thought about something to eat. He took enough thought to send the disciples into the town to buy something to eat, but He was not all the morning or even an hour or a few minutes thinking about what they were going to eat. He never took thought about the future. This means that He never borrowed any future trouble. He never became anxious about the things of tomorrow. He sought the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and God gave Him all He needed for His body. If you will make God’s business your business, He will make your business His business, and He will see that you get along in your business. It is your business to extend God’s kingdom and righteousness IN your business. Do not leave God out of your business. This is the way the Book reads, and you should set your whole heart to reproduce in your life the truth taught in the Bible. Practice what you read.

Fifth. Be wholly consecrated to God. This, maybe, should have been our first rule of direction for the reading of the Bible. It should also be our attitude of heart at the close of each reading of the Bible. If you have read the Bible prayerfully and in the spirit-if you have lis¬tened in your heart to what God has been saying to you through the Bible, you will feel like renewing your consecration to Him. If in the reading of God’s word you do not get a clearer vision of God, you have not received the good you should have. The Gospel of Christ is a mirror in which we are to see the face of God. If you have look¬ed into it, and have not seen the face of God, there is some veil of the flesh over your eyes. Oh, that flesh! It hinders multitudes from seeing God in His Book.

As we get a clearer vision of God through the reading of His word our hearts will respond with a deeper dedication or consecration to Him, with a prayer that His beauty might be on us. When we come to see more clearly the beauty of God’s holiness, our hearts will reach out longingly, pleadingly that that beauty might grow upon us, and it will. Every prayerful, meditative reading of the Bible makes us more like God. Jesus said, “Come unto Me.” Let there be a daily coming to Jesus through His word. There can be no substitute for the Bible in the building of yourself up in the more abundant life. It is the Gospel of Christ that nourishes spiritual life. The Bible leaves an imprint on your soul by the prayerful reading of it. Go to your Bible reading with as full intention to feed your soul as you go to the table to feed your body. The Word in the heart is the secret of a holy and victorious life. If you will spend some time each day feeding the soul upon the “living word” you will be strong to triumph over every temptation. It will be a power in you causing you to live above the petty annoyances of every day life, and fill your soul with peace from heaven.

There needs to be a keener relish for the word of God in the life of many. Those who sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word are not numberless. There are so few who pant after God’s commandments. (See Psa. 119:131.) Oh, that there might be a greater panting for the Word of Life! There are not many who are rising at midnight to give thanks to God for His judgments. (See Psa. 119 :62.) It is not the multitudes, even among the holiest of God’s saints, whose souls are breaking for the longing they have for God’s Word at all times (See Psa. 119:20); not too many today that are esteeming the words of God above their necessary food. (Job 23:12). How our souls are grieved to hear of the religious conventions of the present day where the banquets, the watermelon cuttings, and sight-seeing trips are the greatest enticements. Rivers of water run down our eyes because they esteem the banquet and feasting and the socials more than they do God’s word. But our heart is still more grieved to see those of God’s own children so neglectful of the blessed Bible. God Almighty, give thy people a more ravenous appetite for Thy Word!

God’s word is a lamp to guide our feet as we are making the journey of life. (Psa. 119:105). It is a sword to enable us to conquer the foes that may meet us on life’s way to heaven. (Eph. 6:17). It is a mirror to reveal ourselves to ourselves. (James 1:23, 25). It is a water to cleanse the soul and keep it pure. (Eph. 5:26). It is milk to nourish the soul. (1 Pet. 2:2). It is meat to invigorate. (Heb. 5:14). It is honey to delight. (Psa. 119: 103). We beseech you, holy brethren, to keep an intense love in your heart for the Bible. Do not neglect to feed daily upon its sustaining food. Pray the Holy Spirit to bring it to your heart with power as you read it. You need to be greatly alarmed if your heart is getting calloused so the Word of God does not make much impression upon it. The finger of God wrote on stone tables in the law age, but now under grace the Holy Spirit inscribes God’s laws only on melted and tender hearts. Jesus, help us.

The second word that Jesus gives by way of inviting us on to more abundant life is,

LEARN OF ME

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of ME.” (Matt. 11; 29). To come unto Christ is not merely to come near Him, or into His presence, but to come into Him-into His heart. To “learn” of Him is not to learn about Him, or of Him, but to learn Him. In speaking of the sad state of the Gentiles the apostle in writing to the saints at Ephesus said, “But ye have not so learned Christ.” (Eph. 4:20). Those who are well acquainted with the oldest Greek manuscripts say that words “not so” are not found in this sentence; it would, therefore, read, “But ye have learned Christ.” This gives better sense to the reading. Learning Christ changes things. The better we learn Him the more we are changed. Those who learn Him do not walk as do the Gentiles.

The exhortation of Peter to Christians is to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18). This is the way up into the more abundant life. To be a strong, vigorous saint there needs to be a constant learning of Christ. We must ever be knowing Him better. To the soul that values its spirit¬ual life, this is worth more than all else in the world. Paul says, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil. 3:8). We shall have occasion to refer to this text later.

To learn Christ is not to have Him revealed TO us, but IN US. (See Gal. 1:16). No one can learn another any thing of Christ. We may teach each other, but we can not learn each other. Every one must learn Him for themselves. You must put your mind, and heart in such a prayerful, spiritual, receptive attitude toward God that the Holy Spirit can come and reveal Christ to you in the se¬cret depths of your soul.

“There is a blest pavilion,
A sacred inner court,
The place of God’s own dwelling,
With all the world shut out.

Oh sweet and tranquil home
Where only God is known.”

God can make Himself known to us only in the “inner court” of our own spirit. It is there and there only that the Holy Spirit can give you a sense of Christ’s purity; it is only there the you can have sweet tastes of His love; it is only there that you can behold His glory. 0 soul, it is there and only there that you can truly know Him; and to know Him is life eternal. (See John 17:3). A sister gives this testimony of her experiences as she sat holding the hand of a dying saint. She says, “As her hap. py spirit took its flight there came a sense of God’s glory and of I-us pleasure in the death of this saint, into my soul that I cannot describe. For several days I was constantly sensible of the presence of heavenly beings; and it seemed that the veil that divided me from them was exceedingly thin. I seemed to hear in my soul the songs of an in¬numerable company of angels as they welcomed this happy saint into her eternal home.” This sister, in this experience learned Christ as He can not be learned in the seminary, the college, or by correspondence courses. It is not our purpose to discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of these different channels of teaching Christ and His Word, only to say that the general tenor of the Scripture tells us that it is the tendency of these courses to hide Christ from the soul. Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, but he must needs get to the backside of the desert to know God. Paul was schooled at the feet of Gamaliel, but he needs spend three years in the desert of Arabia to learn Christ. It is only when the Spirit of the living God imprints Him on the fleshly table of our heart that we can know Him.

Let us study the words, “take my yoke upon you.” Jesus tells us that this is the way we can learn of Him. You can learn what Jesus is-learn His nature, His character-only by taking His yoke upon you. You can be told and you can read in the Bible that “God is love,” but you can know this for yourself only by taking Christ’s yoke upon you. Then, what does it mean to take this yoke upon us? It means yokeship, and yokeship means fellowship. It means that we are to have a like nature or life with Him so that we can be fitly joined with Him, and pull with Him in all His interests. It means to work for Christ and with Christ in the extension of His interests in this present world. Do you grasp the thought? You can learn Christ only as you pull with him. You yoke up with Jesus and pull with Him in His great work of saving souls, of healing the sick, of helping the poor, of spreading the Gospel, and leading the saints on to more abundant life, and you will learn more of Jesus in one day than you could ever learn in theological courses. When a company of people are yoked with Christ, and all pulling with Him, they are all pulling together. This is the Church of God. Every member in the Church of God is yoked with Christ and they are pulling together with Him, and pulling to¬gether in His ways. When one or a few begin to pull their way, then there is trouble and confusion. There is scarcely any project of any importance but has some organized system of association to further its interests. Now Jesus has organized His Church for the purpose of furthering His interests in the world among men. Please make a note of this. To learn Christ is to learn what are His interests, and to work heart and soul with Him in their extension. As we learn more of Him we learn better how to serve Him.

“I am learning how to serve Him,
With my hands, my heart, my feet,
And each day my Master’s service,
To my soul becomes more sweet.”

When we enter the Church of God we leave self-interests on the outside and then shut the door. There is no living to self in the Church of God. It is all for Christ. We no longer live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us. He died for us; we live for Him.

The devil has been allowed to set up his kingdom in the earth, and he has a great many interests. He has many who are working in his interests. And a surprising thing is that many are working in his interest when they fancy that they are working in the interest of Jesus Christ. They think they are working in the interest of Christ and at the same time endeavoring to have God’s people to distrust Christ.

Most every one has an interest in something. The sole interest of the saint is to further the interests of Jesus. They live to this end. This is their meat and drink. The deeper their interest the harder they work. The true devoted saint goes to bed thinking and praying how he can advance the cause of God. He awakes in the morning with the same thought in his mind and prayer in his soul. This is what makes for more abundant life. When you thus live for Jesus you will taste a glory the world knows not of, and a divine glory will shine forth out of your life that can be found no where besides in all the world. You get to living in the interest of Jesus with all your soul and you have found heaven on earth. Show me a man who lives in word, thought, and deed for one day in the interest of Christ, and I will show you a man who can teach others the right ways of God more perfectly than all the doctors of divinity. It would require a large volume to express all the thoughts given us on this subject of learning Jesus, but we must soon conclude this part of our booklet. However before we leave this subject let us take one trait in the nature of Christ and give it a brief study. It is His separation from the world. He makes the positive declaration “I am not of this world” (John 8:23). This is a very simple statement, but who comprehends the depth of its meaning? In what sense and to what extent was Christ not of this world? You will need to get into some solitary place, and in the hush of your soul get in the Spirit that you may have any considerable degree of conception of Christ’s separation from the world. You will just truly need to shut out every earthly thing from your mind and soul, and invite the Holy Spirit to come into your spirit and there give you light to behold the life of Jesus. “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.” (Prov. 20:27). God by His Spirit needs come into your spirit and light the candle that you may see the nature of Christ. Multitudes of professed followers of Jesus are talking of Christ’s and the Christian’s separation from the world and they have but little knowledge of what it means. We might be able to tell you something of what it means, but unless the Spirit gives you understanding you will still be in ignorance.

God loved the world, and Jesus loved the world. This means the souls of men. Jesus never loved any material, earthly thing. He never loved money or any thing that money could buy. He did have need, while doing His Father’s business in the body, of a few earthly things, but oh, how few! Can you find any where in His conversation that implies any concern or any affection for any material thing? He had meat to eat that the world knew not of. His meat was to do His Father’s will. When He looked upon any earthly thing He did not see that material object so much as He saw what it typified in the spiritual world. When man looks on earthly things and sees nothing of the unseen things which they are meant to represent, he is not into the precious secret of Christ’s separation from the world. When Jesus saw a vine and its branches He saw the Church of God. When He saw a field of grain ripening for harvest, He saw the harvest of souls. When He saw the birds of the air, or the lilies of the field, He saw I-us heavenly Father’s care of His people. When He saw the water the woman came to draw, He saw the “living water.” When He saw a flock of sheep, He thought of His own flock. When He saw a hen gathering her brood under her wings, He thought of gathering His people under His wing. His conversation and His life plainly show that He was concerned in the unseen things rather than the seen. If He had seen a man in a fine automobile He would not have admired the automobile but thought of the chariot iii which that man’s soul could ride to heaven. Alas, how prone man is to see the seen things!

We must close this subject, but let us close it with a “hard saying,” and “who can hear it?” Jesus, in all His teaching, preaching, work of healing and going about doing good never took a single thought about any earthly compensation. You as a follower are to be as separate from the world as He was from the world. (See John 17:14-16). He never took a single thought about the praise of men, nor of their criticisms. A mountain of gold dollars would not influence Him one iota from His path of duty. Instead of seeing the mountain of gold, He would see the riches of God’s grace. He never used banquets, and sightseeing trips as a drawing-card to His religious gatherings. Those who for their Bible teaching, whether it be by preaching, or correspondence, have any thought about com¬pensation or make a charge, do not see Jesus in His separation from earthly things. Instead of seeing the glory of the material temple He saw its destruction. Instead of admiring the world or anything in it, He saw its destruction, and admired only that which was to endure forever. Do not be hasty to condemn the above words, but go into your secret closet and with the door shut ask God to reveal to your soul Christ in His separation from the world. Since it is the poor that is to have the Gospel preached to them, how dare we make a charge? In your learning of Jesus, study His prayer life, and seek to live in that same spirit of prayer. God’s people need more of a spirit of prayer. They need to walk in the atmosphere of prayer.

The third word of Christ to us is,

FOLLOW ME

“Come unto me.” “Learn of me.” “Follow me.”
What does it mean to follow Jesus? Is it not true that many are singing,

“I will follow thee, my Saviour,
Where-so-e’er my lot may be,
Where thou goest I will follow,
Yes, my Lord, I’ll follow thee.
“Though I meet with tribulation,
Sorely tempted though I be,
I remember thou wast tempted,
And rejoice to follow thee.”

who have hut little comprehension of what it means to follow Jesus? There can be no following of Jesus except there be a denying of self and the bearing of a cross. Jesus bore a cross, not only a wooden one up the hill to Golgotha, but also another and heavier cross from the day He entered His ministry. Read Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34, and 10:21; Luke 9:23. Note what word Luke uses that Matthew and Mark do not use. This cross is to borne “daily.” Look through the ministry of Jesus, and see the cross He bore. This is the cross you are to bear in your following of Him. You have a good home, well furnished, receive a salary for your ministry, men are speaking well of you, and recommending you as being a good preacher, and doing a good work, etc. Where is the cross-bearing of Jesus? Some may say that they have some persecutions. If you will examine closely you may find that about the only persecution you have comes from those who envy you your prominent position and good salary, and they are itching to get your position.

Jesus did not teach, and neither does this booklet, that you can not hold a legal right to a home, but He did teach that whatever you possess of earthly things to regard them as though you did not own them. You are to take that attitude toward every earthly thing you possess. That word mine is not to be found in your vocabulary. Miss Mary Bosanquet said that between herself and Mrs. Ryan and the other saints in their community, that the cold words of mine and thine were never used among them. John Wesley, in speaking of Mrs. Ryan, said: “To con¬verse with her is an unspeakable blessing to me. I can not think of her without thinking of God. Others may lead me to God, but it is, as it were, going around about, but she leads me straight into His presence.” Hold your¬self and what you possess as your own and you rob yourself of the presence and power of God. If you will read 1 Cor. 7:29-31 you will get some understanding how to regard every earthly thing even the wife of your bosom. You are to take such an attitude, not only that nothing shall hinder you in doing God’s will, but also that you are to use all to His glory purposely. You are to use nothing that you possess for any selfish purpose, but every thing to God’s glory, even to your eating and drinking. Multitudes of professed followers of Jesus will quote 1 Cor. 10:31, and give it such an interpretation, or treat it with such neglect as to allow them to indulge in many of the lusts of the flesh. You are to regard your body as not your own, but are to glorify God in it. (See 1 Cor. 6:20.) In all the uses of your body, in all you do with it, and for it, there is to be a higher consideration than self-gratification. This extends to all the little things of daily life- to the spending of every penny and of every moment of time. There is not to be a gratifying of the appetite without considering the glory of God, and there is not to be a lounging back in the easy chair in a careless and thoughtless way. Do all, even these, with the thought of God’s glory, and whatever God’s glory calls for is to be done at whatever cost to bodily comforts. If you will live this sort of life you will surely find a daily cross-bearing. That body will needs meet with many denials, and some very severe ones.

Please read the teaching of Jesus as given in Matt. 19:9-12. You may say that you do not understand these words. Do you want to understand them? Do you pray earnestly that you may understand them? It does seem that Jesus understood that not all men were able to receive this saying, and that it was said only to those who are able to receive it, but are you very happy because it is said to only those who are able to receive it? Are you ready to conclude that it does not include you? Have you ever prayed earnestly that you might be able to receive it, and thus live to the greater glory of God? These words do teach, my dear brethren, that we should keep free from all the possible entanglements of life that we might serve God more fully and intensely. Jesus will never give you a cross heavier than you can bear, but oh, beware lest you throw it down long before you get to the breaking-point. There is so little going against the flesh.

We shall ask you to read Luke 9:57-62. Can you not feel in the reading of these words that the following of Jesus forbids looseness or carelessness in life? Life is full of meaning, and that meaning is to live it wholly unto God and never to the pleasures of the flesh. This is the cross-hearing. Some may say that the Scriptures to which we are referring are beyond the reach of the human intellect to comprehend. They are beyond the reach of the human intellect alone but if we will get down into the secret place the Holy Spirit will teach our human intellects through our human spirits and we shall know the meaning of all Christ’s teaching. Jesus never taught any thing He did not intend us to understand. If we do not understand some of His sayings, it is because we are not willing to go with Him into that death and separation from the world, and cease to “lean to our own understanding” that by His Spirit He can teach us of spiritual things. Jesus says in verse 62, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Ought we not to want to know what “looking back” means? If it unfits us for the kingdom of heaven, ought we not to seek every possible way to learn what it means to look back lest we be doing it? If you read these words and because you do not understand them, you pass them by and think it is of no great importance that you know them, you are running a great risk, and are in great danger of missing the kingdom of God. Jesus here gives a picture of the Christian life. The plough represents the service of God. The Christian enters God’s service. He puts his hand to the plough. He throws the weight of his body upon it to cause it to turn up the soil. He keeps his eye straight ahead to the work he is doing. There must be no backward glances of the eye; no turning of the head, but a constant bending forward of the body, a tight holding of the plough with the hand and an eye looking unto Jesus. The apostle forgot the things behind-put them out of mind. He reached forth to those things which are before. Alas, too many are looking back to see if man is giving them any praise, or what they may receive from the world for their service in God’s work, or some bodily comfort, ease, or pleasure. If in your work for Christ, you are taking any thought about what recompense you are going to receive and what help the world is going to give, you are not fit for the work of God. You say that your work is a faith work, but you are telling everybody that it is a faith work. If it is a faith work, have it to your¬self alone, and go on with your work. To follow Jesus is to fully depend upon Him. He can and will furnish you with all you need in His work, if you are diligently at¬tending to His work, but if you are casting your eye around upon man to see where some help is coming from, you are unfitting yourself for the service of God.

Jesus said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” John 6:38. And He never looked back. He kept looking straight forward to the Father’s will. The devil could not cause Him to look back. He tempted Him with every thing from a loaf of bread to the kingdoms of the world, but Jesus saw nothing but His Father’s will. He could turn water into wine for others, and increase a few loaves and fishes to a sufficiency to feed thousands, but never an act for Himself solely for His own sake. Here is a hard saying, but we will say it in Jesus’ name. We are to do nothing for ourselves for self sake. Alas, how many of the Lord’s own are living too thoughtlessly of God’s will. They eat, they drink, they sleep, they go about the regular routine of life without a thought of God’s will. If we will practice going to our meals, our beds, our work in the thought of doing the will of God, we will find the love of God increasing in our hearts, and life will be sweeter and Christ will be more real to us.

To be a true follower of Jesus the thought of doing His will must absorb every other thought. There is not to be only a perfect denial of self, but there must be a concentration of all our powers in doing His will. To do God’s will from the heart is no cold and indifferent hearted-ness. We do want to impress this upon your mind, therefore we repeat our warning against thoughtlessness, carelessness, and coldness. Learn to do things purposely for God. Take thought about it. Throw your heart into it with an earnestness. Learn to love God’s will and cling to it purposely. Do not go along day after day in a common routine of life and have no particular thought of God. “Remember Lot’s wife.” Lot when ordered to flee out of Sodom was forbidden to look back. Surely this will deeply impress your mind.

“I have left all the world to follow Jesus;
Never backward to its follies will I turn;
Oh, I’m on my upward way, and it’s brighter every day
For I’ve left all the world to follow Jesus.”

Mrs. Lot’s offense was only a look. But that look unfitted her for a place in God’s kingdom. Her fate should teach us a lesson. If we look back we are not fit for the kingdom of heaven.

It is possible to be deceived. We may sing,

“I am dead to the world and its pleasures,
My affections are centered above.”

and yet have our minds largely filled with thoughts of earthly things. Just now we read of a minister who says that he has many heart aches because he has been given but little money in the past few months, and has had to live on dry bread and flour gravy. Another says that he has spent many a restless night because his congregation has not kept their agreement with him, and yet they sing that they are dead to the world and its worries. To be dead to the world with Christ is to have no expectations from it, to be under no bondage to it, to not be worried a moment by it, to not spend a restless hour because of it, to take no thought about it. None of its circumstances could stop Paul from singing praise to God. No state this world could bring him into brought him any discontent. Peter slept soundly in the face of the chopping block. “And though the fig tree did not blossom, neither should there be any fruit on the vines, and the labor of the olive should fail, and the folds should yield no meat, the flocks be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls,” the old prophet would rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of his salvation. Blessed experience. It is for every child of God. Their life is hid with Christ in God, and nothing of this world can disturb that life without disturbing the life of Jesus.

The fourth word that comes from Christ to further us on to more abundant life is,

ABIDE IN ME

“Abide in me.” John 15:4. This is the deepest and closest experience the soul can find with Jesus. There are no words to fully define it. We are told that it means sinlessness of life. (See 1 John 3:6.) There is no sin in the life of those abiding in Christ. We are told that to abide in Christ is to bring forth much fruit. This fruit glorifies God. What wonderful possibilities has a child of God. It comes by abiding in Jesus. Then we are told that we can do nothing except we abide in Him. How utterly helpless we are! Then we must give Him the glory for all He helps us do. When you are abiding in Him it is His life springing up in your life that enables you to do all you do. It is not your life, but His life. But you must be dead, so dead that you can do nothing, and cease trying to do anything and let Christ live in you.

If we abide in Him, and His words abide in us we shall have whatsoever we ask of Him. (See John 15:7.) If we are failing to get what we ask, there is something amiss somewhere. It is possible to think we are abiding in Him when we are not. It is possible to think His words are abiding in us when they are not. In this abiding there is no dependence on self or earthly things. To trust in man or in any way make flesh your arm hinders the work of Christ in your behalf. There must be utter abandonment of all to God; a perfect renunciation of self; a concentration of all your powers in Christ’s service, and ev¬ery expectation from Him. Christ is real in such a life. He is real as life. We are conscious of His presence and of His power. We naturally, in our dependence, look to Him for help in all the details of life. We are consciouc of arising to the duties of the day in His strength rathe~ than our own. it is blessed. If you have lost an article, you ask His help to find it, and He does. If you need a penny, a dime, a dollar, you ask Him for it, and He gives it. This all comes about as natural as life when you are abiding according to John 15:7. You move and live and act in conscious dependence upon Him, and in full expectation of His help. Such an atmosphere surrounds you.

In this abiding the Holy Spirit has brought the hu¬man life through the human spirit in contact with the life of God through Christ so that that life is constantly springing up in the human life, and begets an unceasing prayer. Prayer is suggested by the words of John 15:7. “Ye shall ask.” There is a constant acting of the human life on the life of Christ; it is drinking it in; feeding upon it as the child feeding at its mother’s breast. The in-flowing of the life of Jesus is constant and makes life a constant prayer. As the little flower drinks in the dew and the rays of the sun, so the human life drinks in the life of Jesus and takes on all its beauty and strength.

But when we come to John 15:10 all we can do is to sit and marvel. We hesitate to begin to express our thoughts. When we keep Christ’s commandments even as He kept His Father’s commandments, then we shall abide in His love even as He abode in His Father’s love. In this experience the soul is weaned from every earthly thing. The words of Col. 3:2, 3 have become a glorious, conscious reality in all their beauty and power. Nothing is loved that is not loved in God. Nothing is done that is not done in God. Natural love is not destroyed, but it is purified. All things have become pure. The mother loves her child, and the husband loves his wife with more than a natural love. It is the sweetest and highest form of love. Such a one “walks in love AS Christ also hath loved us.” Eph. 5 :2. Father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, houses, lands, foods, clothing, all are loved in God. We are unable to explain this love. It is far more intense than mere human or natural love. It does rob the natural love of its fleshliness so that it may appear to the flesh as having something of a coldness. However, it is not coldness, but only robbed of the fire of fleshliness. It looks on every thing with a something of unconcern -house, lands, relatives, friends, and says, “Lord, thy will be done with all these.” It may seem cold and heartless, but it is heaven’s purest love. Jesus said, “Woman what have I to do with thee?” These words sound cold and almost heartless to a fond mother. They teach us something of the nature of heaven’s pure love. When dying on the cross He called His mother, “Woman.” He spoke of her as John’s mother, but not one time does He ever call her “mother.” He lived in consideration of a higher relationship. Things after the flesh were of small moment to Him. There is a certain emotional spooning fondness that partakes more of the flesh than of the spirit.

Abiding in Christ forbids trusting in anything but Christ. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psa. 20:7. “Chariots” and “horses” here stand for all earthly reliances. “Woe unto them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots.” Isa. 31:1. It is a woe. It loosens from Christ. It is the god of this world that blinds the soul so that it cannot perceive what it means to be free from relying on any and every earthly thing.

The abiding soul is a praying soul. In all abiding in Jesus there is a constant action of the soul, and this action is prayer. He who abides prays, and he who prays abides, but we can not have the one without the other. The soul that prays, really prays, abides in a state of quietness, re¬poses on the bosom of God, and knows no fear, save the fear of God. The slightest reliance upon any earthly thing, or the fear of any earthly thing or circumstance clogs the flow of the life of Christ. Christian freedom is to be in bondage to nothing earthly.

Prayer, to be prayer must be untinctured by self-love. Self-love clips the wings of prayer so that it cannot ascend to God.

Abiding in Christ deepens the soul’s union with Christ. It makes communion more intimate and joyful. It makes Jesus more real in life. It keeps the body, soul, and spirit in a higher state of sanctification and blamelessness. It clears the soul’s vision so it can look out upon the glorious realities of the spiritual world.

Abiding in Jesus loosens the hold of all earthly interests upon the affections and centers the heart upon God. It brings God very near. It strengthens the will to go out upon the battlefields of life in the full assurance of victory. It teaches the soul to walk softly before God, and to hold as a treasure every token of His love. It puts force and vigor in the inward life that enables us to walk with God through the shadows without a fear. By abiding in Christ we are ever plodding on in the evenness of life. Whether our pathway leads through green pastures and is strewn by roses, or through the valleys and over stony places, we are ever tranquil and go singing on our way. Abiding in Christ warms the heart with love and sincere devotion. It saves the hearts from coldness.

Again, to abide in Jesus infuses into the soul a sense of holy fear, and makes all our acts in life acts of worship to God. It keeps self-love and creature-love out of the heart, and gives us visions of God, and enables us to cry, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” Come to Christ daily. Learn of Him daily. Follow Him daily. Abide in Him constantly.

-Charles E. Orr

 

 

 

Back To Jerry's Fabulous Favorites