The second life we are to live is the exact reverse of this. It is indeed the outer side of this: an open life of purity lived among men for Jesus
. Note again the logic of that good-by word. Your chief business is to be down there in the thick of the crowd, winning men out of the dust and dirt up into a new life of purity. It is the hardest job any man ever undertook. It is practically impossible unless you have a power quite more than human. Jesus quietly says, |I have the power that will do it.|
Again you feel that He must say next, |I will go.| The thing must be done. It is the one thing worth while. It will require a power we haven't. He has it. You feel as though He must do the going. |No,| He says, with great emphasis. |You go. You be I; you live my life over again, down there among men.| The |Ye| and |Me| in that sentence are meant to be interchangeable words.
He is asking us to live His life over again among men. No, it is more than that. He is asking us to let Him live His life over again in each of us. The Man with the power that men can't resist would reach out to them through us. He would be touching them in us. Jesus said, |As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.| He said again, |He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.| Jesus embodied the Father to men. He asks us to take His place and embody Himself to men.
Paul understood this thoroughly. In writing to the friends throughout Galatia, whom he had won up to Jesus, he says, |I have been crucified with Christ.| There is an old dead |I.| |Nevertheless I live.| There is a new living |I.| |Yet not I -- the old I -- but Christ liveth in me.| He was the new I. There was a new personality within Paul. I never weary of recalling what Martin Luther said about that verse in the comment he made on Galatians. You remember he said, |If somebody should knock at my heart's door, and ask who lives here, I must not say 'Martin Luther lives here.' I would say 'Martin Luther -- is -- dead -- Jesus -- Christ -- lives -- here.'|
I wonder if any of us has ever been taken for Jesus. I wonder if anybody has ever mistaken any of us for Him. You remember, He used to move among men after the resurrection, and while they would feel the gentle winsomeness of His presence and talk, they did not recognize Him. Has somebody run across you or me sometime, and been with us a little while, and then gone away saying to himself, |I wonder if that was Jesus back again in disguise. He seemed so much like what I think Jesus must have been -- I wonder.|
Well, if it were so, of course we would not be conscious of it. A Jesus-man is never absorbed in thinking about himself. He is taken up with Jesus, and with folks. A man is always least conscious of the power of his own presence and life. Everybody else knows more about it than he does. Plainly this is the Master's plan for each of us. And more, it is the result when He is allowed free sway.
The controlling principle of His life was to please His Father. The pervading purpose and passion was to win men out and up. The characteristics of His life were purity, unselfishness, sympathy, and simplicity. We are to be as He. He was the Father to all the race of men. Each of us is to be Jesus to his circle.
Please notice I'm not talking about lips just now but about lives. The life is the indorsement of the lips. It makes the words of the lips more than they sound or seem. Or, it makes them less, sometimes pitiably less, little more than a discount clerk ever busily at work. The words ever go to the level of the life, up or down. Water seeks its level persistently. So do one's words, and they find it more quickly than the water, for they go through all obstructions. And the life is the leveler of the words, up or down.
So far as this second life is concerned a man's lips might be sealed, and his tongue dumb, but his life in its purity and simplicity, its unselfishness and sympathetic warmness will ever be spelling out Jesus. And He will be spelled out so big and plain that the man hurriedly running, or lazily creeping, or half blind in a cloud of dust, will be stopping and reading. If there were but more re-incarnations of Jesus how folks would be coming a-running to Him.
Do you remember that prayer in blank verse of the old Scottish preacher and poet and saint, Horatius Bonar? He said:
|Oh, turn me, mould me, mellow me for use.
Pervade my being with Thy vital force,
That this else inexpressive life of mine
May become eloquent and full of power,
Impregnated with life and strength divine.
Put the bright torch of heaven into my hand,
That I may carry it aloft
And win the eye of weary wanderers here below
To guide their feet into the paths of peace.
I cannot raise the dead,
Nor from this soil pluck precious dust,
Nor bid the sleeper wake,
Nor still the storm, nor bend the lightning back,
Nor muffle up the thunder,
Nor bid the chains fall from off creation's long enfettered limbs. But I can live a life that tells on other lives,
And makes this world less full of anguish and of pain; A life that like the pebble dropped upon the sea
Sends its wide circles to a hundred shores.
May such a life be mine.
Creator of true life, Thyself the life Thou givest, Give Thyself, that Thou mayst dwell in me, and I