THE WELLSPRINGS OF LIFE
Christians have life, eternal life, but this does not immediately transfer us to heaven.
We live in a world where secular pursuits are necessary, contacts with others a part of existence itself.
We are unceasingly confronted by problems, decisions, difficulties, sorrows, frustrations and every conceivable kind of situation which call for action and reaction.
Christians living in an alien world, but citizens of another, are called upon to so live that they may commend the faith which they profess to those who know not the Lord.
The very fact that we are Christians entails a responsibility for which there is no human answer. That we are not our own but “bought with a price” makes it imperative that we faithfully represent and reflect the One who has redeemed us.
Confronted with both the reality and the awesome implications of our position we can well say with the Apostle Paul: “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”
Some Christians have tried to escape the contacts of the world and in so doing have abrogated their duty to God and their fellow man.
One of the most electrifying things which could happen would be for Christians to live seven days a week as Christians should live—shining lights in pagan darkness; savorful salt in a putrifying society.
But such a life cannot be lived by an act of the will. There are required resources no man has within himself. This is a matter of supernatural help, but it is available to every Christian willing to pay the price.
The wellsprings of life have their source in the Holy Spirit. They flow as living water to bless others, but they continue only as the channel remains clear and as the earthly vessel is renewed day by day by close contact and communion with the Living Christ.
Aware as we are that the body must have nourishment and exercise, we are often oblivious to the fact that the spiritual life of the Christian must also be nourished and exercised.
Accepting the validity of Christ’s death and resurrection as our only hope for eternity, we often forget that such faith is the door to life here and now and not pious insurance for the next.
The average Christian is spiritually starved and ignorant, and as a result is a poor witness to the saving and keeping power of Christ. But those who drink deep at the wellsprings of life carry with them the sweet savor of Christ, for they consciously live in his presence. It is such Christians who show forth in their lives the fruits of the Spirit but it is the privilege of all to do this.
Where is this help, and how do we obtain it? There are many earnest souls who long for such a renewing experience day by day but they have never seriously sought the answer.
Subjectively the wellsprings of life are found in prayer and Bible study. Objectively they produce a day-by-day living for the glory of God.
Prayer and Bible study take time, and our lives are pressed by legitimate demands which inevitably encroach until good and necessary things crowd out the one thing which gives meaning to daily living. For this reason it is imperative that a decision be made and a program set up and then carried out.
The decision requires recognition of the primary place which spiritual nourishment must have in the life of the Christian.
The program requires that a specified time be set aside each day for prayer and Bible study and that nothing shall be permitted to interfere or interrupt.
The best time of the day is the early morning and the place should be one of quiet and solitude.
Prayer is a privilege and blessing of many facets—praise, worship, thanksgiving, supplication, for others and for ourselves. Nothing adds more to the exercise of prayer than a prayer list—people, problems and objectives for which we pray. As time goes on this list grows, while at the same time we see God’s loving concern through answers for specific people or objectives.
Like Job of old we too can pray for our children and bring God’s blessings to them. Following the example of our Lord we can reach out across the world and pray for men everywhere.
It is with prayer we approach the study of God’s Word, asking that the Holy Spirit will make that which we read plain to our minds and apply it to our hearts.
Then it is that Bible study ceases to be a chore and becomes a delight. For the first time we begin to sense the wonder of this revelation of God as it speaks to our needs, shows us our sins, comforts and strengthens, and unfolds before us the panorama of God’s dealings with man.
There are so many ways to study the Bible. Let me suggest that for a long time we read only the Bible. There are so many good books about the Bible, but none of them is a substitute for the Book itself.
Basic to such study is a reading through many times of the Bible as a whole. Only then can one get the composite picture so necessary and so rewarding.
Then one can follow a particular theme or doctrine through the entire Bible and in so doing find joy and strength.
A most fruitful way to study the Scriptures is to take a number of different translations and read a portion in each translation. Old verses will take on a new meaning. Obscure phrases will suddenly come into focus.
How much time should one spend at the wellsprings of life? Here we are dealing with a privilege of vital import, not with clock-watching. For some an hour will suffice; for others the time may be shorter or longer. The thing so urgently needed is that Christians shall set aside a specific time of day when they sit at our Lord’s feet, talk with him and let his Word speak to their hearts.
Several objections to this program may come to mind: “Not sufficient time”; “Would make me lose much-needed sleep”; “This could be very boring.”
Anyone who is too busy to take time to drink deep at the wellsprings of life is too busy and should adjust his or her schedule.
Such a program may make one get up a little earlier each morning, but experience proves that the time spent with the Lord brings with it physical as well as spiritual renewing.
As to being boring: just give it a try and you will find it to be the most thrilling experience of each day.
L. NELSON BELL
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