“By Jesus Christ”


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A girl at a certain college was much admired both for her personal appearance and her artistic abilities. She had very beautiful auburn hair, and seemed to be able to do anything on canvas with her paints and brushes. Her college mates asked her the secret of her lovely hair. She mentioned how she brushed it, and what she washed it with, and what dressing she used for it.

They asked her also how she managed to produce those wonderful little sketches. She replied that she had given a lot of thought, labor and practice to her drawings. One day the mother came to the college to visit her daughter. When she arrived it was observed that she had lovely hair like Dora’s. Her friends said, “Dora, now we know where you got your beautiful hair. It was not through your washing and brushing it, nor through anything you put on it. You got it from your mother!”

At college the mother was sitting in a room where three of the girls were singing a little extemporaneous trio. It struck her imagination, and taking out a pencil she made a sketch that was a perfect picture of the scene. Upon seeing it, the girls exclaimed, “Dora, this accounts for your being so clever with your pencil and your brushes. You got it from your mother!”

Sometimes we see in our fellow Christians qualities that call forth our wholehearted admiration. We wonder what the secret can be. Is it the result of much earnest effort, or long continued practice, or what? The answer is simple. Find it in Philippians 1:11: “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.”

Here we have the secret! The things that we admire are found first of all, and in perfection, in the Lord Jesus. As He is reproduced in our lives (not just mimicking Him but also Himself living His own life in and through us by the Spirit - “yet not I, but Christ lives in me” - Gal 5:20), His qualities shine forth in us. No amount of endeavor, no earnest effort to “imitate” Him, or walk in His steps (1Jo 2:6) will produce the effect. Look at Him, and you see where it all comes from! Not imitation but reproduction is the secret of a Christ-like life (it’s our new nature which was “created” after the image of Christ” - Col 3:1o—NC), this is the reproduction that comes through keeping company with Him (2Co 3:18 – The Spirit uses the “glass” or “mirror” analogous to the written Word of God, to “change” or transform, then continually “conforms” – Ro 8:20; the more reading and study of the Word, the more the conformation for spiritual growth (Eph 4:15—NC).

A gentleman who had lived for some years in Japan, and had been honored with the notice of the Imperial family of that land, had returned home. One said the Mikado’s son, who was on a visit to this country, called at the gentleman’s home. Unfortunately he was absent when the prince called. During the time that the distinguished visitor was at the house, he had taken his handkerchief from his pocket thus liberating some of the delicate eastern perfume with which it was sprinkled. When the gentleman returned he at once exclaimed: “I have had a visit from someone belonging to the royal house of Japan.”

He was asked how he knew. He replied that he detected in the room a particular scent, of which the Mikado and his family had the exclusive use. It is even so with the fragrance of the Lord Jesus’ Life. It is due to the fact that He has been here, and His company has left its trace in the life of the one that is in companionship with Him. Only thus can “the fruit of righteousness” be produced in us. They can only come “by Jesus Christ.”

—Harold Primrose Barker (1869-1952)

MJS daily devotional for September 7

“We are to draw nigh in faith where we already are in position.” -MJS

"Instead of the priest coming out to bless, as in Judaism, we are to go in for blessing. There are no barriers now. The Father has removed every hindrance and now it is for me to go in and abide. The teachers of Christendom have practically stitched up the veil which He rent. The rent veil in the Gospels is the Father’s coming out, but the rent veil in Hebrews is the believer’s going in." -J.B.Stoney (1814-1897)
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