Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Titus 2:13

THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTLIKENESS – PART 12

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

2 Peter 1: 5-11

 

LET US consider how the seven general methods for developing good may be applied to the four elements of Christlikeness that are related to the good: the spiritual sentiments, the ability to use our sentiments as servants of righteousness and holiness, the graces and balance of character.

 

Producing the Spiritual Sentiments

 

Let us apply these seven general methods for developing good to producing the spiritual sentiments, using as an illustration the sentiment of family love that should prevail among God’s people:

 

(1.) Watchfulness will inform us of the need of love as brethren, it will show us the occasions and the influences that promote love for the brethren and give us the necessary information for mind, and strength and stimulation for heart, to arouse a spiritual family love. Then it will arouse the new heart, mind and will to use the spirit, Word and providences of God necessary for the cultivation of love for one another as brethren in the Lord’s family.

 

(2.) Prayer being offered, God will arouse some of His servants to give us the needed instruction from the Word to teach and to arouse us to love one another as brethren in the spiritual family. He will then shape the circumstances of our lives to bring us into contact with the brethren, whose spiritual needs will appeal to our love for them.

 

(3.) Faith in the spirit, Word and providences of God will enable us to cultivate love for the brethren. It will assure our hearts that the spirit is sufficient to enable us to give spiritual love to the Lord’s people; that the Word of God is sufficient to arouse such a condition in our hearts; and that the providences of God are sufficient to furnish us the occasions and other helps necessary thereto.

 

(4.) Hope will desire to love the Lord’s people and expect to attain it; and will therefore use the spirit, Word and providences of God to accomplish this result.

 

(5.) Love, full of the joy with which it lightens the work, will eagerly, gladly, lay hold upon the spirit, Word and providences of God to develop this quality.

 

(6.) Persistent determination will set a continually active will back of the preceding methods in the use of the means to attain love for the brethren.

 

(7.) Exercise will lay hold on all six preceding methods, and apply them at every opportunity for the acquirement of this good purpose.

 

Using our Sentiments as Servants of Righteousness and Holiness

 

Let us apply these seven general methods for cultivating good to develop the ability to use our sentiments as servants of righteousness and holiness, and use as the sentiment for illustrating the methods, love for gaining the Kingdom rewards:

 

(1.) Watchfulness will inform us of the situation wherein we may use love for gaining the Kingdom rewards as a servant of righteousness and holiness, as well as the influences that will prompt such use. It will give us the necessary information, strength and stimulation from the Word whereby this may accomplished. It will also strengthen and stimulate the heart and mind to serve the cause of God that we might gain the Kingdom rewards.

 

(2.) Prayer will ask the Lord for the necessary knowledge and power from His Word to enable us to use our love for gaining the rewards in such a way as to work exclusively in the interests of righteousness  and holiness. Then it will receive answers from the Lord, who, through His servants, will give us the Word to this end, and who likewise will cooperate with His providences, so arranging matters that we may use our love for gaining the Kingdom rewards to stimulate us to serve righteousness and holiness.

 

(3.) Faith in the spirit, Word and providences of God will fill our hearts with confidence to use our love for gaining the Kingdom rewards for advancing the interests of righteousness and holiness. It will assure us that the spirit is sufficient to use this sentiment with which to serve righteousness and holiness; that the Word is sufficient to energize this sentiment into a servant of righteousness and holiness; and that the providences of God are sufficient to give us all the opportunities and other helps to use this sentiment to serve righteousness and holiness.

 

(4.) Hope will desire and expect to gain the Kingdom rewards, and will thus make a courageous use of God’s spirit, Word and providences to this end.

 

(5.) Love will assist us to use love for the Kingdom rewards as a servant of righteousness and holiness.

 

(6.) Persistent determination, backing by continued fixity of will the preceding methods, will put the heart and mind in the attitude to use the love for gaining the Kingdom rewards, as a servant of righteousness and holiness in advancing God’s cause.

 

(7.) Exercise, applying in daily life the six preceding methods, will use the love for gaining the Kingdom rewards to advance the interests of righteousness and holiness in producing good results for God and man.

 

Developing the Graces

 

Let us assume that we are lacking in love, and show how this grace may be developed by the seven general methods for developing good:

 

(1.) Watchfulness will inform us of our lack of love, of the situations and influences that tend to develop love and the parts of God’s Word that give the necessary light, stimulation and energy for its cultivation. Then it will arouse our new heart, mind and will to make use of the spirit, Word and providences of God to perfect love in our hearts.

 

(2.) Prayer will appeal to God for help, and God will set into operation certain agents who will bring to our hearts and minds the necessary knowledge, energy and stimulation from the Word to produce love. Then He will put us into such situations in life as will call for the exercise of love.

 

(3.) Faith in the spirit, Word and providences of God will infuse confidence in our hearts to accomplish this purpose. It will believe that the spirit is sufficient to develop love; that the Word has all the necessary information, strength and stimulation to arouse it; and that the providences of God furnish all the occasions and other helps necessary for its development.

 

(4.) Hope, desiring and expecting to attain love, will courageously use the spirit, Word and providences of God for the cultivation of love.

 

(5.) Love for developing love will use the spirit, Word and providences of God for its cultivation.

 

(6.) Persistent determination, by a continually fixed will, will back the preceding methods and thus cultivate this characteristic.

 

(7.) Exercise will take hold of every occasion wherein love may be shown, until it is made a part of our characters.

Balancing Character

Let us notice how these seven general methods may be applied in enabling us to develop balance of character, using as our illustration the harmonizing of the heart and the mind with one another:

 

(1.) Watchfulness, showing us the existence of our unbalanced state and the influences and occasions productive of that state, will give us the information we need to show how these two aptitudes may be harmonized, and the knowledge that will strengthen and stimulate a correction of the condition. Then it will arouse the new heart, mind and will to draw back from either extreme toward the middle, until the head and the heart are given the positions that they should occupy.

 

(2.) Prayer will receive from God such activities of God’s servants as will give us the needed information, strength and stimulation for correcting the evil and thus bring about the balance. It will then receive from Him the necessary providences giving us the occasions and other helps whereby we can draw back from either extreme and properly adjust the mind and heart to one another.

 

(3.) Faith in the spirit, Word and providences of God will aid in producing balance between the mind and heart. It will assure us that the spirit of God is sufficient to restrain one from its extreme activity, and to encourage the growth of the other; that the Word is sufficient to give the needed information and power; and that the providences are sufficient to give the necessary occasions and other helps for the exercise of the balance.

 

(4.) Hope for developing balance will encourage us in securing it.

 

(5.) Love for developing balance will enable us to bring the necessary restraints and encouragements to the head and heart until balance is attained.

 

(6.) Persistent determination, putting a continually fixed will back of the preceding methods, will bring our hearts and minds into such a relationship as is desired in balance.

 

(7.) Exercise in using the six preceding methods in the daily activities of life will work with the head and the heart until balance between them is attained.

 

(to be continued)