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How to Live a Holy Life

C. E. Orr




DEVOTIONAL READING.


A person may almost be known by the books he reads. If he habitually reads
bad books, we can pretty safely conclude that he is a bad man; on the
other hand, if he habitually reads religious books, we can reasonably
presume that he is a religious man. Why is this? It is because the nature
of a person's books is usually the nature of his thoughts; and as a man
thinks, so he is.

Consequently, our reading devotional literature is a great aid to our
being devotional. Too few, I fear, realize how important to our spiritual
advancement is the cultivation of a taste for devotional reading. As a
rule, those who have a taste for spiritual books and gratify that taste
prosper in the Lord, while those who have no relish for such books labor
at a great disadvantage. Some one has said that "he who begins a devout
life without a taste for spiritual reading may consider the ordinary
difficulties multiplied in his case by ten." The most spiritual men of all
ages have had a strong love for reading spiritual books. If, however, my
reader happens not to have such a taste or such a love, he should not be
discouraged, for it can be created and increased through perseverance in
reading devotional literature. Just as a person who does not relish a
certain food may learn to like it if he will persist in eating it, so a
person who does not have a taste for devotional books may come to enjoy
them if he will diligently and prayerfully peruse them.

Spiritual reading invigorates the intellect, warms the affections, and
begets in us a desire for more of God's fulness and for a more heavenly
life. It is especially helpful to prayer. When the mind is dull and the
spirits low and we have no inspiration for prayer, the reading of a
spiritual poem will often so stimulate the mind, raise the spirits, and
animate the soul, as to make it easy for us to pray.

As to what books to read, the Bible, of course, is the best of all. But we
need others. Although no other book can take the place of the Bible and
none of us should neglect reading it, there are many books that can
profitably be read in connection with it.

But whatever devotional book you are reading, do not read too fast. Think
and digest as you go. Let there be a frequent lifting of the heart to God
in prayer. It is not the bee that flies so swiftly from flower to flower
that gathers the honey, but the bee that goes down into the flower. A few
sentences taken into the mind and heart, and dwelt upon until they have
become a part of us, are better than many pages read superficially.




PREFACE.


If the reading of this little book encourages any on their pilgrim way; if
it arouses them to greater diligence; if it creates in them a stronger
desire to live more like Christ; if it gives them a better understanding
of how to live, - this poor servant of the Lord will be fully rewarded for
all his labor.

Even among the children of God in this beautiful gospel light of the
evening there is an inclination, on the part of a few at least, and maybe
more than a few, to slow down and not be their very best and most active
for God. We hope that this little book will arouse such ones to greater
zeal and earnestness. Diligence, yea, constant application, is the secret
of success in all manner of life and especially in the Christian life.

This volume is written for all those who desire to please God with a well
-spent life. It is sent forth in Jesus' name, with a prayer - that God bless
and help both the reader and the writer to live life at its very best and
fulfil the purpose of God concerning them.

Your humble servant in Christian love,

The Author.




INTRODUCTION.


We have only one life to live, only one. Think of this for a moment. Here
we are in this world of time making the journey of life. Each day we are
farther from the cradle and nearer the grave. Solemn thought. See the
mighty concourse of human lives; hear their heavy tread in their onward
march. Some are just beginning life's journey; some are midway up the
hill, some have reached the top, and some are midway down the western
slope. But where are we all going? Listen, and you will hear but one
answer - "Eternity." Beyond the fading, dying gleams of the sunset of life
lies a boundless, endless ocean called Eternity. Thitherward you and I are
daily traveling.

Time is like a great wheel going its round. On and on it goes. Some are
stepping on and some are stepping off. But where are these latter
stepping? Into eternity. See that old man with bent form, snow-white
locks, and tottering steps. His has been a long round, but he has made it
at last. See the middle-aged. His round has not been so long, but he must
step off. See the youth. He has been on only a little while, but he is
brought to the stepping-off place. He thought his round would be much
longer. He supposed he was fairly getting started when that icy hand was
laid upon him and the usher said, "Come, you have made your round, and you
must go." The infant that gave its first faint cry this morning may utter
its last feeble wail tonight. And thus they go. But where? Eternity.

If you were to start today and ask each person you met the question,
"Where are you going?" and, if possible, you were to travel the world over
and ask each one of earth's inhabitants, there could be but one answer -
"Eternity."

"Oh, eternity,
Long eternity!
Hear the solemn footsteps
Of eternity."

Only one life to live! Only one life, and then we must face vast, endless
eternity. We shall pass along the pathway of life but once. Every step we
take is a step that can never be taken again. With this fact in mind, who
does not feel like calling upon the All-wise to direct his every step. If
when we make a misstep we could go back and step it over, then there would
not be such great necessity to step carefully. But we can never go back.
We are leaving footprints. Just as our steps are, so will the footprints
be which will tell the story of our life. If we had a score of lives to
live, how to live this one would not be of such great moment. We should
then have nineteen lives in which to correct the errors and sins of this
one; but alas! we have but one. What, then, should we seek more earnestly
than to know how to live?

We doubt not but there is in the heart of the reader a strong desire to
live life as it should be lived. Thank God, you can. You desire your life
to be like the fertile oasis, where the weary traveler refreshes himself.
You have seen the rays of light lingering upon the hillside and treetop
and gilding the fleecy cloud after the sun had gone down. You desire the
beautiful rays of light from your life to linger long after your sun has
gone down. You can have it that way. The deeds you do will live after you
are gone. They are the footprints. Some one has said that we each day are
here building the house we are going to occupy in eternity. If this be
true, nothing should concern us so much as how to live. Some men are
devoting their time and the power of their intellects to invention; some
are studying statesmanship; some are studying the arts, others the
sciences; but we have come to learn a little more about how to live. Many
are thinking much about how they wish to die, but let us learn how to
live. If we live well, we shall die well.

Since we have but one life to live and with it we must face eternity, I am
sure there are many who want to make the most of life. There are many who
want to be their best in life. This is not a play-ground, or a place to
trifle with time. It is a place of work and effort, a place of purpose and
earnestness, a place to do something. Life is not given us to squander nor
fritter away, but was given us to accomplish a purpose in the mind of the
Creator. If we will set ourselves to live as we should, God will help us
and no man can hinder us. We are purchasing treasures for eternity by
making a proper use of time. To trifle away time is indeed to be the
greatest of spendthrifts. If you squander a dollar, you may regain it; but
a moment wasted can never be regained.

There is great responsibility in life. It means much to live. The time was
when you and I were not, now we are. We are, and there can never come a
time when we shall not be. You and I shall always exist somehow,
somewhere. One sweet thought to me is that I have time enough to do all
that God intends for me to do, and do it well. Then comes another
thought - a thought that awes: the good that I do, the sum of my
usefulness, will be less than it should be if I spend a moment of time
uselessly. God will give us all the time we need to accomplish all he
purposes us to accomplish, but he does not give us one moment to trifle
away.

The mission of this little volume is to strengthen and energize and help
you to spend life as you should. May it please the Great Teacher, who has
promised to "show us the path of life," to bless this little work and by
it help some one to a pure and noble life and to the accomplishment of all
God's design in giving them life.

The Author.




CONTENTS.


Devotional Reading............................................. 4

Preface........................................................ 5

Introduction................................................... 7

The Way the Sail is Set (Poem)................................ 15

The Model Life................................................ 17

How to Live the Christ-Life................................... 22

The Bible Way................................................. 25

The Heavenly Way.............................................. 29

Keeping the Commandments...................................... 31

"Be Doers of the Word"........................................ 37

Who are the Wise?............................................. 39

Keeping the Commandments a Test of Love....................... 41

The Blessedness of Obeying God's Word......................... 43

The Relationship We Have with Christ through Obedience........ 45

Our Life is to Adorn the Gospel............................... 46

The Christian an Epistle of Christ............................ 48

How We may Live as the Bible Reads............................ 50

How to Keep the Word of God in the Heart...................... 52

Man the Vehicle for Exhibiting God's Perfections.............. 54

Some Use to Jesus (Poem)...................................... 63

Godly Living.................................................. 65

Something to Do............................................... 69

Spiritual Dryness............................................. 76

Prayer........................................................ 81

Keep the Roots Watered........................................ 85

Under the Fig-Tree............................................ 87

Shut the Door................................................. 91

Alone with God................................................ 93

Prayerful Remembrance (Poem).................................. 95

He Careth for Thee............................................ 96

"Consider the Lilies"........................................ 102

Sorrowful Yet always Rejoicing............................... 105

Gentleness................................................... 113

Tenderness................................................... 117

The Christian Walk........................................... 124

The Christian is to Walk Circumspectly....................... 125

The Latest Improved.......................................... 129

The Christian's Walk a Walk with God......................... 130

A Holy Life.................................................. 148

Lukewarmness................................................. 151

Steadfastness................................................ 156

How to Understand God's Will................................. 160

A View of Jesus.............................................. 164

Devotion to God.............................................. 166

The Golden Rule of Life...................................... 174

Timeliness in Doing Good..................................... 177

The Warfare of a Christian Life.............................. 181

Life by Faith................................................ 183

A Valuable Legacy............................................ 185

Some Scriptures for Daily Practise........................... 188




THE WAY THE SAIL IS SET.


I stood beside the open sea;
The ships went sailing by;
The wind blew softly o'er the lea;
The sun had cloudless sky.


Some ships sailed eastward, some sailed west,
Some north, some southward trend.
How can ships sail this way and that?
But one way blows the wind.

An old sea-captain made reply
(His locks with salt-spray wet):
"'Tis not the wind decides the course;
'Tis way the sails are set."

* * * * *

I stand beside the sea of life;
The ships go sailing by;
The winds blow fair from heaven's land;
No clouds bedim the sky.

But one sails eastward, one sails west,
One north, one southward goes:
How can ships sail this way and that
With selfsame wind that blows?

A voice made answer to my soul:
"'Tis not how blows the gale;
Each voyager decides the goal
By way he sets the sail." - Selected.




How to Live a Holy Life


THE MODEL LIFE.


In doing anything, it is always well to have a model by which to fashion
our work. In fact, nothing is done without a pattern, either real or
imaginary. The little boy making a toy has in in his mind a model by which
he is framing his work. Likewise, the sculptor has in his mind a model,
and as the "marble wastes, the image grows" into the likeness of the
vision in his soul.

To live this one life of ours as it should be lived, we must have a
perfect model after which to pattern. Thank God, this perfect model of
life can be found. Of all the vast number of lives that have been lived
since Adam down to this present day, there has been only one that we can
take as a model. This one is the life of Jesus. He says, "I am the life."
To live this life of ours well, to live it to the highest degree of
perfection, we must fashion it according to the glorious life of Christ.
The life of Jesus is the model life for every other human life. He invites
us, yea, commands us, to follow him, to step in his steps, to walk as he
walked.

There have been many good men in the world, but none of them afford us a
true pattern of life. There was a man who said, "Be ye followers of me,"
but he immediately added, "even as I also am of Christ." Man may so live
as to reveal to us the life of Christ. We can then follow, not them, but
the Christ-life they manifested through them.

Let me here say a word on a subject on which we may have more to say
hereafter. The grandest, noblest work man has ever done is by his life to
reveal the life of Christ to another, thereby helping that person to be
fashioned more after the image of Jesus. A little flower grew in a place
so shaded that no ray from the sun could fall directly upon it. A window
was so situated that at a certain time in the afternoon it refracted the
sun's rays and threw them upon the flower, thus giving it color and
beauty, and aiding it to bloom. Some people are living in the dense shade.
No light from Christ has ever shined upon them. If you so live as to
refract the life of Christ and turn it upon them and thus stamp upon them
a holier life, you have not lived in vain. To set the life of Christ in
its purity and beauty before some one and influence him, though only a
little, to live better and love Jesus more, is a work the worth of which
can never be computed. He who helps another to a better way of living does
more than he who gains great worldly honor and riches. Blessed indeed is
that life which causes some other life to be more like Christ. Oh, may
this thought seize upon our hearts and fill us with a greater passion to
live the life of God.

We are told by the voice of Scripture to be "followers of God as dear
children." When children are dear to the heart of the parent, he loves to
have them obey him. God's children are dear to him, and he would have them
follow him. To follow God is to imitate him, or be like him. This is the
true way of life.

A text of Scripture as rendered by the Revised Version is very appropriate
here: "Like as he which has called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy
in all manner of living." 1 Pet. 1:15. Only those who live godly in their
entire manner of life are spending the days of their pilgrimage as they
should. Jesus has walked the true way of life; we are told to walk in his
steps. If we will step each day just where Jesus stepped, then on looking
back, we can not see a footprint of our own; but if we take a single
misstep, our footprint will show our departure from the true way of life.
How deep and awful are the words of Scripture wherein we are commanded to
walk even as "Jesus walked"! Jesus says, "I am the way." There is no other
right and perfect way. If we will walk as Jesus walked, then we shall walk
in the true path of life. This only is the pathway that leads up to the
golden gates of glory and the sweet fields of heaven. That bright world of
bliss encourages us on. If we will follow Jesus and live as he lived,
God's approval will be upon us, and his outstretched hand will help us
along life's way and finally over the turbulent river of death to the
sunlit shore of eternal rest.

Many times we may become wearied and think the toils of the way almost too
heavy; but when we remember that it is the way that Jesus trod, then the
heavens open to our view, we look forward to the mansion prepared for us,
and the toils of the way grow lighter.

See that aged pilgrim journeying down the western slope of life. The sun
is nearing the setting. Long and toilsome has been his pilgrimage, but he
has walked in the path his Savior trod. For many years his life has been
hid with Christ in God. In Him he has lived and moved and had his being.
Now he is making his last step on the shore of time; he passes out of our
sight through the gates into that land where toils are ended and the sun
never sets. But his life was the life of Jesus. He was holy as God is
holy; he walked as Jesus walked. This is how to live. This is the true way
of life and the only way to life eternal. He who does not live with Christ
on earth can not live with him in heaven, and he who does not live as
Jesus lived does not live as he should. The life of Christ was the perfect
life. Ours is perfect to the degree that we imitate him.

Take my life, O Christ divine,
Make it holy, just like thine;
Every act and thought and word
Be an outflow from my God.

Guide my feet and keep my heart;
Let me not from thee depart;
Let me breathe thy warming love,
That my soul be drawn above.

Draw me, Jesus, closer draw;
Thy strong arm around me throw;
Draw me to thy pierced side;
In thy bosom let me hide.

Teach me all thy will and word,
That my life be filled with God;
Teach me, Lamb of Calvary,
How to live this life for thee.




HOW TO LIVE THE CHRIST-LIFE.


Man can not naturally live the Christ-life. But Christ has promised to
come into our hearts and live in us. In order that we may have Christ
dwell in our hearts and that we may live his life, there must be a giving
up of our self-life. There must be annihilation of self that Christ may
live. It is truly wonderful and as glorious as it is wonderful that man
can live the life of Christ in this world. But here is the secret: it is
man ceasing to live the self-life and Christ living in him.

Imagine a hollow brass figure in the exact image of a man. Suppose you
fill this hollow figure with a kind of life which we shall call self-life.
This life goes to using the hands and feet, and eyes, ears, tongue, in
short, all the members of this brass figure, but using them in the
interest of itself. Now you desire to make a change; you want that image
to speak, act, and think only for you. You must first put to death the
life that is using the figure, cleanse it entirely out, and then get into
it yourself. Once in, you can use all the members of that image for
yourself. Your body is that image. There was a life in you that used all
the members of your body in the interest of self. But there has been a
change. You were made a new creature. The life you once had was put to
death - was crucified; then Christ stepped into your heart, and now he
uses all the members of your body for himself. You still live, yet not
you, but Christ lives in you. Once you did things for yourself; now you do
them for Christ. Just as you once lived purposely and intentionally for
yourself, now you do things purposely and intentionally for Jesus, because
it is he that lives, and not you yourself. You remember how once you would
plan for yourself. In the evening as you lay upon your bed and again in
the morning and throughout the day you would think about what you were
going to eat or drink, what you were going to have for clothing, where you
were going to live, where you were going to go, and what you were going to
do. But now you are changed; you are a new creature. Now it is not you
that lives, but Christ lives in you. Now you eat not for yourself but for
Jesus. You now go, not where self would lead you, but where that life in
you loves to go and would have you go. You do things, not for yourself,
but for Jesus.

O Christ, I die, that thou mayst live,
That thou mayst live in me;
That all I think or speak or do,
May be, O Lord, for thee.

May not the least of self remain,
But all be put to death.
Oh, may I nothing do for self,
Nor draw one selfish breath!

To have my Savior live in me,
To occupy the whole,
To make my heart his royal throne
And take complete control -

'Tis all I ask; 'tis all I wish;
'Tis all my heart's desire,
Content if but a wayside bush
To hold God's holy fire.

Low at thy feet, O Christ, I fall
A yielded lump of clay,
For thee to mold me as thou wilt,
To have thy own sweet way.




THE BIBLE WAY.


If the Bible had not been given us, we should not always know the way that
Jesus walked. But he has given us his Word. The way of the Bible is the
way of Christ, and is therefore the true path of life. O pilgrim to the
heavenly kingdom, the Word of God will be a lamp unto thy feet and a light
unto thy way. It will lighten you home. There will never be a day so dark
but the beams of light from the blessed Bible will pierce through the
darkness and fall with a bright radiance upon your pathway. If sometimes
you can not see just where Jesus stepped, take the precious Book of God,
and it will be a lamp to show you the way he trod. One wintry morning a
father went a long distance through the deep snow to feed his sheep. A few
hours later a little boy was sent to call his father home. The child was
carefully stepping in the footprints before him, but soon a dark cloud
arose and the blinding snow-storm so dimmed his eye that he frequently
stepped aside. In the beautiful, clear light of the Bible we can see all
the way that Jesus trod. If we will walk according to the Bible, we shall
walk as Jesus walked and not show a double track. Make the blessed Word of
God your guide if you would walk aright the path of life and be happy.

"And often for your comfort you will read the Guide
and Chart:
It has wisdom for the mind and sweet solace for the
heart;
It will serve you as a mentor; it will guide you sure
and straight
All the time that you will journey, be the ending soon
or late."

'The Scriptures are given by inspiration of God and are profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be perfect' 2 Tim. 3:16. If by faith we receive
into our hearts the instruction in righteousness as given by the
Scriptures, it will make us perfect in this life. O reader, if you would
know how to live, study the Bible. It points out the way clearly and
plainly. Let its truths in all their power reach to the depth of thy
heart. Let thy soul seize upon the Bible and drink its strength and
sweetness as the bee sips the sweetness from the flower. As the animal


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Online LibraryCharles Ebert OrrHow to Live a Holy Life → online text (page 1 of 10)