The Influence of a Heavenly Life
We are told that the weight of the atmosphere round about us is fourteen pounds to the square inch, yet none of us feel this pressure because it is pressing equally in all directions. Just so our lives are creating an atmosphere which is pressing with weight and fashioning those who come in contact with us. We are here in life but a short time, but our influence lives as long as time lasts.
A young man was converted. Soon after, he met with an accident which proved to be fatal in a few days. As he was dying, he said, “I am going to be with Jesus; I have made my escape from eternal death, but will you please bury the influence of my life in sin with me?” That, they could not do. “[Abel] being dead yet speaketh.” (Hebrews 11:4)
A woman came into a room where there was a small company. She carried an alabaster box of precious ointment. She anointed the feet of one of the company, and the fragrance filled the room. This act stands as a memorial of her. Our lives should be an alabaster box out of which sweet odors are emitted.
The story is told of a little girl who stood on a summer’s evening looking intently and thoughtfully at the great bank of clouds piled like mountains of glory about the setting sun. “Mother, I wish I could be a painter,” said the child.
“Why?” asked the mother.
“Then I could help God paint the clouds and the sunsets.”
It was a strange fancy and a beautiful aspiration. We may do something far nobler than that. Our common work of everyday life can be done in such a heavenly way as will touch to hues of loveliness the lives of others. As the bright warm rays of the sun give the soft blush to the rose, and paint its petals in such beautiful colors, so the life filled with the love of Jesus will cheer and beautify the lives of others.
If you “want your life to tell for Jesus,” you must allow Jesus to dwell in you, controlling your will and all the powers of your life. When Christ is the controlling influence of your life, then, your life will tell for Him in the most glad and beautiful way. If you want to influence the world for Christ, your life must be influenced by Christ. If you want to move the world toward heaven, you must live heavenly. If you would bring thoughts of God to others, you must live in the thought of God. If you would feed others on the living bread, you must feed on that bread. If you would comfort others with the comfort of God, you must be comforted by God. If you would lift men to a higher life, you must live the higher life. You cannot move the world if your feet are planted on the world. Plant them in heaven, and then the world can be moved by you. If you would leave the impress of heaven on the lives of others, your life must bear the impress of heaven.
Every day we are scattering seeds of some sort, and these are falling into the lives of others. We have read of a sculptor who chiseled beautiful images in Italy, had them packed in straw, then moved to his home in Copenhagen. When the statues were unpacked, the straw was scattered about on the ground. The next summer, flowers from the garden of Italy were blooming in Copenhagen. You may scatter seeds of truth into other lives and have flowers from the kingdom of heaven growing where otherwise there would be bleakness and bareness. You may never be able to preach the gospel with the tongue of an angel, but you can translate the Bible into holiness of life that others may read it.
A certain minister asked a friend to carry a Bible to a man who seemed to be interested in Christianity.
“No,” remarked the friend, “he is not ready for the Bible yet.”
“I do not understand you,” replied the minister.
“It is too soon to take the Bible to him,” continued the friend.
“What do you mean?” asked the preacher.
“I mean this,” answered the friend, “he is not ready for the Bible. He cannot understand it. You are his Bible. He is watching you. If you fail Christ, then the Christian religion fails.”
There lives an old man today who tells that when a young man, he had desires to be a Christian, yet for certain reasons had resisted the grace of God. One night when in a strange city, he roomed in a hotel with a young man who was a stranger to him. Before retiring, this young man knelt down and silently prayed. “Though his prayer was in silence, it spoke loud to my soul. That noble example ennobled me. Half a century has rolled away, but that silent prayer still wields an influence over my life.” A life made lovely by contemplation of God will reflect the loveliness of God. A beautiful farm house has been built out of the boulders that lay scattered over the farm. You can take the unpromising things of life, the difficult and objectionable things, and transform them into beauty of character and life.
We are told that we should be an “example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) We should think on these words. Is my life an example in all these respects? Are my words so seasoned with grace that they minister grace to the hearers? Do I so love God that my love provokes others to love? Is my faith an encouragement to the faith of others? Am I so spiritual that my life incites others to greater spirituality? Is my life so pure that it turns the thoughts of those who associate with me to things that are pure? The apostle said, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” (Philippians 3:17) “Copy me, brothers, one and all of you and notice those who live by the example you get from me.”—Moffat.
A cultured Chinese gentleman was one time given a copy of the New Testament by an American missionary with the request that he read and consider the question of becoming a Christian. The Chinese read the Gospels for the first time in his life. After a month or two of thought upon the subject, he returned the book to the missionary with the remark, “I have read your book with great interest. It is a great Book, and I am inclined to try its teachings: but according to this Book, you are not a Christian.” “Why so?” asked the missionary. “These writings state clearly the characteristics of a Christian. No one need be mistaken in them. I read that a Christian is a man who has no anxiety and worry and is to be a happy man. He is the one who knows that his God, who cares for the falling of the smallest bird, will surely care for him. This Book promises the gift of peace to its followers. Jesus promises that those who believe His words shall not be harmed by anything. If they drink any poisonous thing or are bitten by a poison reptile, it shall not hurt them. You are the most worried man I know. You have a thousand cares. You do not rely on the promises of your God when sick or in danger. There is a contradiction between your life and the Book.”
Again we are told by the Book that we should “walk in wisdom toward them that are without.” (Colossians 4:5) The love of souls will cause us to walk carefully lest someone be turned aside by some misstep of ours. Some things may be lawful for us, but are they expedient? (1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23). What influence will it have upon another? It is better to have a millstone tied to our necks and be cast into the sea than to cause a soul for whom Christ died to stumble. The more heavenly is our walk through life, the greater will be our influence for good. The more perfectly we imitate the life of Jesus in our life the greater blessing we will be to the world. If we take an opal in our hand and hold it tightly for a few moments, it will shine in brightest splendor. We can shine for God only as we lie in His bosom and receive the warmth of His love.
What is the stamp we are leaving on the world as we pass along? It is a stupendous fact that in our daily walk, we are leaving footprints on the sands of time to be read by men in the years to come. In a certain cemetery are three marble slabs. On one are the words, “He was a man of great learning.” On another were the words, “He was a lover of nature.” The third slab bore the words, “He walked with God.” What will they write on the slab that marks the place where my body lies waiting the resurrection call? Is the mind and character of God reflected upon the world by our lives? Do we live in such nearness to God that we imprint Him upon that with which we have to do? Is “Holiness to the Lord” written upon the acts of our life? There is an eloquence in a holy life. It speaks in tones not to be forgotten. There is music in them. Pure thoughts and deeds speaking through a righteous life touch the hearts of men and lift them up to something nobler in life.
The seraphims, as they flew, cried one to another, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:3) The ambition of holy souls is to incite others to more grateful praise and a more intense love of God. From my bedchamber, in the early morning hour, I hear the cock’s clarion call, and then the welkin is made to ring from every quarter. One bird sets the whole community of fowldom to calling. Is your soul full of burning love to God? Then sing it out and awaken a song in the hearts of others.