I've Lost Him!

One evening I met at a friend's house a relative of the family whose appearance and manners at once arrested my attention. He was young and looked intelligent, but there was an air of restlessness, if not absolute uneasiness, about him. This could not be concealed by the flippancy of his manner; and, as I gazed on his thin, worn face, my heartfelt insensibly drawn toward him. He was evidently unhappy, and his desperate efforts to be what is termed "jolly" proved ineffectual to remove the dark cloud that hung over his soul.
After several feeble efforts to get up a lively conversation, he relapsed into silence and his face gradually assumed a dull, moody expression. It was then that I spoke to him about the love of God to lost sinners as shown in the gift of His only-begotten Son. As I dwelt upon the grace which brings a present and perfect salvation so close to the dying grasp of a lost, ruined world, he fixed his large eyes steadily upon me, but said not a word. I went on describing the wondrous love of Jesus in laying down His life for His enemies, and began to point out the solemn necessity of the cross as the only way of escape from eternal damnation.
"Oh!" he said, suddenly interrupting me, "I know all about that. But look here—I've lost Him."
"What do you mean?" I said, rather startled at the abruptness and earnestness of his tone.
"About twelve months ago I thought I was converted and I was very happy; but in course of time I again got mixed up with the world, and somehow or other my joy went, and I lost Christ."
"But if ever you received Christ you received Him forever. The Lord Himself said, 'He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.' John 6:4747Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47).
"Now, if Christ is the life we get on believing in Him, and that life is everlasting, how can we lose it? If it were possible to do so, we could never say at any time that it was ours forever; and yet we read, 'These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.' 1 John 5:1313These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13).
"Now suppose I turn my back upon Christ, and don't value Him—don't enjoy Him as I ought? God never takes away His eternal gift because its receiver fails to value Him as he ought, although most assuredly it grieves Him to see His gift slighted."
"Do you think so?"
"Indeed I do. Do you like horses?"
"Yes."
"Suppose I made you a present of one. What would you give me for it in exchange?"
"I would not need to give you anything for it, if you made me a present of it. It would be mine for nothing."
"That is precisely the way God deals with the sinner. He offers Him Christ for nothing. 'The gift of God is eternal life.' Rom. 6:2323For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23). But what would you do with the horse I gave you?"
"I would have him out every day and ride him everywhere."
"That would be a proof that you valued the gift. But suppose you got weary of your horse, and leaving him in the stable one fine morning, you went out for a walk. A friend meets you and immediately says, `YOU HAVE LOST YOUR HORSE.' Would you not at once say, 'You are mistaken. The horse is safe in my stable at home.' But suppose he replied, 'Oh, that can't be; you must have lost him, because you are not enjoying him—you haven't him out.' Would you not tell your friend that it was one thing to be sure of your possession and another thing to enjoy it? 'My horse,' you would say, 'is as much mine when I am walking without him as when I am riding him. Of course, the friend who gave him to me would greatly prefer my appreciating his gift by enjoying it, but he gave me the horse unconditionally. He never said, He is yours on condition that you ride him, and the moment that you cease to do so, I will take him away from you.'
"Now God gives Christ, not as a bribe for something to do, or as a reward for something done. He gives Him unconditionally. You have nothing to do to get Him, and you have nothing to do to keep Him. God knows the need of poor hell-deserving sinners, and He meets that need with Christ. And oh, blessed be His name, He does not give Him simply for a season, but forever."
"But when my heart gets cold," he eagerly said, "what must I do?"
"Bring it into the sunshine of His love, and that will warm it. Confess your coldness, judge your condition, and think of His love to you, and if that does not draw out your heart in love to Him, nothing else will. 'We love Him because He first loved us.' 1 John 4:1919We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)."
Tears filled the eyes of the poor fellow as I spoke. A light seemed to break in upon his soul, and his words at parting were: "Well, that certainly puts the matter into a clear light. I never saw it that way before."