The Life of the Christian

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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There are three parts of the Christian life which may be illustrated by the three stages of bird life. At first the little bird only opens its mouth for food: feeding is its one simple occupation. As it thrives its feathers and wings grow, and as soon as they are grown it enters upon another stage — it flies and sings. It could not fly if it did not feed, but as it is nourished it finds that it has the ability to rise into its own sphere, and its glad song is the natural result of its being there.
As a new born babe, the Christian desires the sincere milk of the word, and as he is nourished by it he becomes conscious of a new power — he is able to fly. It becomes natural to rise above the things of the earth and set his affections on things above, where Christ sitteth; and then begins the singing.
I believe that no bird can sing until it can fly, and I am sure that no Christian sings his true note until he rises up in the power of the Holy Spirit to Christ, where Christ is. Then there is singing in full true notes, the deep and overflowing satisfaction of a heart that knows the joy of His presence, where there are pleasures for evermore.
Then comes the last stage of the bird’s life, which is building a nest and caring for her young. The bird that flies selects its own food and sings; it is often brilliant, but it is alone and singular; but when it builds its nest where its young may be reared its character and habits undergo a change; it surrenders none of its former power, but instead of contenting itself with its own peculiar personal satisfaction, it devotes itself to objects outside itself — objects dear to it as its own life, and it shapes itself always to the good of the objects of its love.
How this presents what might be called the perfection of Christian life on earth.
(1) Nourished by the word, ministered to the soul in the power of the Spirit.
(2) Rising, as on eagle wings, to the home of the heart, the presence of the Lord, and pouring out songs of grateful praise to Him.
(3) Having a heart freed from self-occupation, because satisfied with Christ, to care for those things which are for His glory here below. When the great apostle said, “I endure all things for the elect’s sake that they may obtain salvation with eternal glory,” he was in the full glow of this blessed life; there was no self-interest or self-seeking with him; his life was spent in seeking and caring for those who were precious to Christ, and, because precious to Christ, precious also to him. To this priceless privilege every Christian on earth is called.