Saintly Living from the Heart
If you would gain a saint’s reward in heaven you must live a saintly life on earth. You will have to live this life for yourself; no one can live it for you. You must get from God how He wants you to live, and then you must live it from your heart. This is the point I desire to emphasize. You can live a saintly life only as your heart is taught of God. There is far too little heart-living among the people of God. We insist on more living from the heart.
We want to make plain and understandable what we say, and we do not want to write in such weakness that we do but little good. Weak teaching makes weak saints. To be strong we need some meat. We do not want anyone to take any liberty from what we say to serve the flesh, yet we want to give you liberty. You have a right to your liberty. God gives you such a right (Galatians 5:1). God has great concern for your spiritual welfare. He is grieved because of your imperfections, yet He does have respect for your moral freedom. He will never compel your obedience. Man’s most glorious endowment is his moral freedom. You might be surprised to learn that by far the majority of Christian professors are not exercising their moral liberty. Nearly the whole of the Catholic church are under the rule of man. This is largely true throughout Protestantism, and the saints in light are not wholly free from it.
Many religious professors are taking advantage of what Paul taught and are serving the flesh. Paul said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22) Many have taken liberty from these words to serve the flesh. Those who will take advantage of what man says to serve the flesh are far from being saints. They are not living unto God. They are not serving God from heart choice. Now listen: If you are doing right things because some man teaches these right things, you will likely do wrong things if this same teacher teaches wrong things. You are not to do right things because man teaches these things, but because God has written these right things in your heart. If you are not doing them from a righteous principle in your heart, you are not living saintly. Can you not understand this?
Do you want liberty to serve the flesh? God gives you that liberty. He weeps over you when you are serving the flesh, yet He gives you your moral freedom. If you take advantage of that liberty to serve the flesh you will have to pay the penalty. God will let you do as you please. I would not take that liberty from you. I would not exercise any man-rule over you. I would not lord it over the people of God. I believe in letting people do as they please. Maybe some will say that is a compromise; that it gives people liberty to serve the flesh. I will try and help you to understand what I mean.
Suppose I teach that it is wrong to use coffee. You may say, “Such teaching takes away my liberty.” Now I do not want to take away your liberty. I want to teach that it is wrong to use it, and give you the reasons why, but if you do not get to God and get light into your own soul from heaven that it is wrong, and let God deliver you from it so that you find great liberty in leaving it off, it will do you but little good to quit its use. It may help you physically, but not spiritually. I would have you do as you please, but I would like to help you get to that place where your highest pleasure is to please God, and you leave off every wrong thing because God has showed you that it is wrong, and not leave it off merely because someone teaches it. Can you not understand what I mean?
Some may say, “I understand you, but what is the need of teaching on such lines?” Now I will try and make clear to you the great need of such teaching. There is not enough living from the heart among the saints. There is too much coldness, formality, and dullness among us. This is a plain statement, but it is the fact. The reason why there is such formality and dullness is because there is not enough heart-living. There is too much doing and not doing because it is taught that we should do certain things and not do certain things. The things we do and do not do should be done from the power of a living “truth in the inward parts.” (Psalm 51:6) This only will save us from cold formality. If you were only able to receive it, I would say that too many are doing things merely because the Bible says so. Wait a moment, and let me explain. The Bible teaches (in principle) and preachers teach that it is distrusting God to take medicine. Now you can say, “I will not take any medicine because the Bible says God will heal all my diseases” (Psalm 103:3; Matthew 4:23)—and yet you may not be healed. Why is it? It is because you have not made that word you see on the printed page a living power in your heart. Jesus says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7) Multitudes are claiming that promise and getting no results. What is the trouble? It is because the word is not abiding in their heart in its power. Peter said, “Such as I have.” (Acts 3:6) He had something. He had healing truth as a power in his heart, and he gave it from himself to the lame man, who was instantly healed.
That is I am insisting upon. It is the word of God as a mighty, working, force in the heart. Preachers can teach plainness of dress, divine healing, the church of God, and yet the sick not be healed, the people getting more worldly, and gradually losing sight of the church. Why is this? It is because the theory is preached, and it is received as a mere theory, and not made a living reality in the soul.
The teaching of the new birth, of holiness, of sanctification, of the church, of divine healing, of dressing in modest apparel, of the death of Jesus, of His separation from the world—all these received as theory while the congregation grows more formal, lifeless, immodest, and worldly-minded.
When the Holy Spirit takes a soul down into the death of Jesus, and there that soul dies in the death of Christ, there will be a resurrection to a life of power that will stir the country for ten miles around. It did it at Pentecost and it will do it today. We see what are called conversions and sanctifications today, and they are so cold, tame, lifeless, that they create but little or no joy in the heart of the saints. There are those today who can look back to the time of their conversion or sanctification when they felt more like a creature of heaven than of earth. They lived in a heavenly realm. They walked in a spirit of prayer. They lived in constant communion with God. The word of God was a fire in their bones. Diseases were driven back, and sinners awed by their presence. I have known the sick to be instantly healed by the presence of preachers coming into the room. It is different today. Why is it different? Because the living truth has not been kept burning on the altar of the soul. The theory is held in the head, but the fire has gone out in the heart.
Too many are trying to live what someone else teaches instead of getting the truth in the heart. Did you not know that you can get nothing from heaven except there be a heart conviction by the spirit for the thing desired? You want to be saved because you do not want to go to hell; you want to be healed because you don’t want to be sick; you want your daily bread because you don’t want to go hungry—but there is no heart conviction for the things you are desiring. You pray with your lips, but there is no mighty pleading of the Holy Spirit in you, and you get nothing from heaven to your life. You may think that I am severe. I am telling you truth because I love you.
Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) You are to hear more than the preacher’s voice, but there are those who are hearing no more. You are to listen for the voice of Jesus in the voice of the preacher, and if you cannot hear it, do not follow. You have heaven to gain for yourself. You have your own life to live. Do not look around and compare yourself with someone else. Look to heaven and live to please God. He will tell you how to live. His Spirit will write it in your heart.
No two lambs bleat just alike. Jesus knows each sheep by its own particular bleat. No life will ever be just like yours, because there never was anyone just like you. It takes your own individual life to complete the all-glorious temple of God. Seek the God of heaven to teach your heart how to live. You can live the life God wants you to live, but you cannot live the life of another. There are some variations in every life. It is the law of heaven. Get your eyes off of others. Jesus says, “What is that to thee? follow thou me.” (John 21:22)