And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. — Acts 4:13
A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read ‘lives of Christ’, beautifully and eloquently written but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. If we were what we profess to be and what we should be—we would be pictures of Christ! Yes, such striking likenesses of Him, that the world would not have say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus! He has been taught of Him—he is like Him! He has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions!”
A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you—take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus—very valiant for your God. Imitate Him in your loving spirit—think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!” Imitate Jesus in His holiness. Was He zealous for His Master? So you be; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted—it is too precious. Was He self-denying, never looking to His own interest? Be the same. Was He devout? Be fervent in your prayers. Had He deference to His Father’s will? So submit yourselves to Him. Was He patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as He did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe—by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means—so live that all may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!”
Thou hast left thy first love. — Rev 2:4
Ever to be remembered, is that best and brightest of hours, when first we saw the Lord, lost our burden, received the scroll of promise, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on our way in peace. It was springtime in the soul; the winter was past; the mutterings of Sinai’s thunders were hushed; the flashings of its lightnings were no more perceived. God was beheld as reconciled; the law threatened no vengeance, justice demanded no punishment. Then the flowers appeared in our heart—hope, love, peace, and patience sprung from the sod; the hyacinth of repentance, the snowdrop of pure holiness, the crocus of golden faith, the daffodil of early love—all decked the garden of the soul. The time of the singing of birds was come, and we rejoiced with thanksgiving; we magnified the holy name of our forgiving God, and our resolve was, “Lord, I am Yours, wholly Yours! All that I am, and all that I have—I would devote to You. You have brought me with Your blood—let me spend myself and be spent in Your service. In life and in death let me be consecrated to You!”
How have we kept this resolve? Our espousal love burned with a holy flame of devotedness to Jesus—is it the same now? Might not Jesus well say to us, “I have somewhat against you—because you have left they first love”? Alas! it is but little we have done for our Master’s glory. Our winter has lasted all too long. We are as cold as ice—when we should feel a summer’s glow and bloom with sacred flowers. We give to God pence—when He deserves pounds; nay, deserves our heart’s blood to be coined in the service of His church and of His truth.
But shall we continue thus? O Lord, after You have so richly blessed us, shall we be ungrateful and become indifferent to Your good cause and work? O quicken us that we may return to our first love, and do our first works! Send us a genial spring, O Sun of Righteousness.