By The Book #32: Christ is The Life
Following the words “I AM the way the truth”, the Lord continues with “and the Life.” We are mindful of the fact that life issues forth spontaneously in work, but work cannot be substitute for life. We ought to be crystal clear here that work is not life—for life is effortless, life is Christ Himself. How people toil to be Christians! How we are wearied through daily exertion. Most severe are these doctrines, for they demand us to be humble, gentle, forgiving, and long-suffering. They literally wear us out. Many concede that to be Christian is a difficult task. This is especially true of young believers. The more they try, the more difficult it becomes. Upon having tries for a length of time, they still bear no resemblance to a Christian. Brothers and Sisters, if Christ is not life, we have to do the work; but if He is life, then we do not need to struggle. Repeatedly we say that life is Christ himself, and work can never substitute life.
There is a grave mistake among God’s children. Many regard life as something they must do in their own strength, or else there is no life. What all of us should realize is, that if there is life there will not be the slightest need for our own doing, but that life will naturally flow. We must be clear on this point: life flows naturally into work, but work is never a substitute for life. Sometimes work proves instead the absence of life or the weakness of life. We need to see that life is neither emotional excitement nor thoughtful words. Words of wisdom, clever sayings, logical arguments and thoughtful dissertations are not necessarily life.
We need to learn the lesson of knowing life. For life depends not on how motivated is our emotion or how deep is our thought; it rests exclusively on whether the Lord has manifested His own-self. Therefore there is nothing more important than to know the Lord. As we know Him, we are touching life. We ought to see before God the meaning of Christ our life.
When we first believed in the Lord, we didn’t realize what looking at Him truly meant. But gradually we learn increasingly to look to Him, having recognized that everything depends on Christ, and not upon us. In the beginning of our Christian walk we desired to possess one thing after another; we could not trust Him for everything. After we learned a bit more, however, we received some understanding as to the necessity of trusting Him: not in the sense of believing in Him to grant us item after item, but in the sense of trusting Him to do what we are unable to do ourselves. When we first became a Christian, we inclined to do everything ourselves, fearing that nothing would ever get done or fall to pieces if we did not do it. Hence we were working all the time, and now we are learning to lean on Him and not on ourselves.