Anchor

A Life That Counts

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorHe is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
—Jim Elliot

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We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life. God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes Him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that He really is. In the night sky of this world God appears to most people, if at all, like a pinprick of light in a heaven of darkness. But He created us and called us to make Him look like what He really is. This is what it means to be created in the image of God. We are meant to image forth in the world what He is really like. …

Sometimes people say that they cannot believe that, if there is a God, He would take interest in such a tiny speck of reality called humanity on Planet Earth. The universe, they say, is so vast, it makes man utterly insignificant. Why would God have bothered to create such a microscopic speck called the earth and humanity and then get involved with us?

Beneath this question is a fundamental failure to see what the universe is about. It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about Himself. And He says it for us to learn and enjoy—namely, that He is infinitely great and powerful and wise and beautiful. The more the Hubble Telescope sends back to us about the unfathomable depths of space, the more we should stand in awe of God. The disproportion between us and the universe is a parable about the disproportion between us and God. And it is an understatement. But the point is not to nullify us but to glorify Him.
—John Piper (Don’t Waste Your Life)

*

“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12:24 KJV) You know, this is a strange paradox that life will come out of death. Except you die, you’ll never truly live, just as the paradox, except you give forth, you can’t take in truly.

“Give and it is given unto you.” But “If you withhold more than is meet, it tendeth to poverty.” (Luke 6:38; Proverbs 11:24) These wonderful verses teach us this lesson. And so in the end of this verse from God’s Word, this last line: “It abideth alone.” This is the loneliness of the self-life, that if you’re not willing to die, there is this loneliness. “Except a corn of wheat fall in the ground and die, it abides alone.” This is why the self-life is so stunted and impoverished.

The ones who live so self-absorbed, and enwrapped and self-pitying, with the idea that the whole universe revolves around them, they live the loneliest of lives. They indeed abide alone, and so many times they feel the utter futility of life.

Someone has wisely said that the smallest package in all the world is a man wrapped up in himself, and that surely is true. But how different the life of a real Christian, a dedicated Christian, where self has died! They’ve been crucified with Christ and they’ve been born again as new creatures. Paul said, it’s no longer I that live, “but Christ that liveth in me.” (Galatians 2:20) No more self-absorption, no more self-motives in life, but motivated by Christ within. He loses his life in larger interests, in the wealth of satisfaction from an outpoured life—an outpoured life instead of an ingrown life.

The promise is that if it die, it shall bring forth much fruit. This new life, the Christ-life that has taken over, will suffer for others, that’s true. It will expend itself; it will bleed for the suffering, but what a harvest of fruitfulness there is! It indeed brings forth much fruit because it has germinated into communion with others; it has germinated into fellowship with God and into a self-forgetfulness that brings rest, joy, and riches eternal.

If you are suffering the loneliness of the egoist, the one whose whole world is “self,” the one who never gets away from himself, then take this verse from God’s wonderful Word and ask the Lord to take you out of yourself and into Him. Seek Him; yield to Christ. Yield all of self. Present your body to Him a living sacrifice, as that Word says: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, which is holy, acceptable unto God.” And, he adds, it’s a reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

A living sacrifice that He may come in and abide, living out His life through you until you can say with Paul, “Christ liveth in me.” Then that verse in Colossians will be fulfilled in you, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)

Oh, this is the happy life! This is the useful life. Now with the death of self, there are heights of joy that you have never known, as your feet are planted on higher ground! Higher ground is the Christ-life, supplanting the self-life. Out of self and into Him is victory.

Nothing can better depict the Christian life, the life that’s hid with Christ in God. I think this is so well portrayed in the words of Scripture in the third chapter of Colossians: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. And set your affections on the things above, and not on the things on the earth.

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then ye shall also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1–4) And so the Christian life is a life that’s hid with Christ in God. Isn’t it wonderful to have a life hid away above all the turmoil and strife of the world?

We don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to us when we’re so thoroughly in His hands and our life is hid away with Jesus Christ.

Have you gotten before the Lord recently and taken a good look at yourself and seen how you look in God’s sight? God looks down into your heart and talks to you and lets you see yourself as you really are.

If we’ll get a good look at the “self,” we can see if our life is really hid away with Christ in God. Then there is the wonderful promise that, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)
—Virginia Brandt Berg

*

Give me the Love that leads the way,
The Faith that nothing can dismay,
The Hope no disappointments tire,
The Passion that’ll burn like fire.
Let me not sink to be a clod,
Make me Thy fuel, O Flame of God.
—Amy Carmichael

*

Be like Moses, who looked beyond this world because he saw Jesus and had his eyes on eternity and its great rewards. “For he counted the riches of Christ greater than the riches of all Egypt.” (Hebrews 11:26) The greatest and most powerful and richest nation on the face of the earth in that day, of which he could have been pharaoh, couldn’t compare to Christ.

“He counted the riches of Christ greater than the riches of this world, because he had respect unto the recompense of the reward”—far greater than all the riches of this whole world combined and all its pleasures and selfish interests. So “he chose rather to suffer affliction with the children of God than to enjoy the pleasures of this life for a season.” (Hebrews 11:25)

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” (C. T. Studd) What are you doing? For whom? Will it last forever for Jesus and others?

Did you spend today’s precious time for Him and others? For eternity? How will you answer Him if you’re wasting your life on yourself and nothing now? Don’t waste another day! It’s better to die for something than to live—and die—for nothing!
—David Brandt Berg

*

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come.
Into the glorious gain of the cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come. Jesus, I come.
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
—Adapted from the hymn “Jesus I Come,” by William T. Sleeper, 1887

 
 

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