Others May But You Can Not!


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If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

(Matthew 16:24-25)

Others May But You Cannot
by G. D. Watson (1845-1924)

“If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you to a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

“Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

“Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their success, of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

“Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.

“The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants you to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small.

“He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit of it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

“The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own.

“He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. But if you absolutely sell yourself to be His…slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.

“Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others.

“Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.”
If we would be the best for the Lord then we cannot be careless and worldly, and it is most important that we do not lower our standard of what is right or wrong because other Christians appear to be living in an undisciplined way. Our standard is the Word of God. God calls every one of His children to a life of separation; that is to say, He calls them voluntarily and deliberately to separate themselves from all that is evil and displeasing to Him, and to Himself. Someone has said that Christian separation is “the power to live in the world but not of it”.
In 2 Cor. 6:14 – 7:1, we learn that Christians are unique people. They are believers, as distinct from unbelievers, verse 14; they are workers of righteousness, in contrast with workers of unrighteousness, verse 14; they are children of light, and not children of darkness, verse 14; they belong to Christ, and not to Belial, verse 15; they are part of the temple of God and must have no part with idolatry, verse 16; and because of this, Christians are to come out and be separate from those who do not love and who deny the Lord, verse 17, notice the force of the word “wherefore”.
1.
THE DOCTRINE OF SEPARATION IS A VERY PROMINENT BIBLICAL DOCTRINE
It is emphasized from Genesis to Revelation. For example, look up Gen. 1:4, and compare Gen. 12:1 with Gen. 17:10-11. Why was the Ceremonial Law given? Why was a Jew forbidden to eat pork and certain fish, Lev. 11:7 and 12? Why was he not allowed to plough with an ox and an ass together, Deut. 22:10; to plant two kinds of seeds together, Lev. 19:19; or to wear a garment made of wool and linen, Lev. 19:19? All these laws were given by God to teach the same lesson of separation. Circumcision was a rite which set forth the principle of separation. The Jew put on a garment that was not “mixed” to remind him that he was a separated man. He did not plough with a mixed team for the same reason. Now look up Exo. 10:26 and 11:7, and compare Exo. 33:15- 16 with Lev. 20:24, and 2 Tim. 2:19.

THE DOCTRINE OF SEPARATION TOUCHES EVERY PART OF THE LIFE
It touches our personal and public life, our pleasures, amusements, habits, the food we eat, the dress we adopt, the books we read, the friendships we make and our daily occupation. It touches our outward and our inward life, compare 2 Cor. 7:1, and it touches everything that is sinful and doubtful, as well as many secular and secondary things. If we are exercised about this matter of separation, for example in regard to some of the things we have just mentioned, then by applying the following principles and answering the following questions in all honesty, we are enabled to make a right decision regarding our mode of life. Let us remember that we are not to enforce our ideas upon others who may think differently.
(1) Will it glorify God, or not? (2) Will it promote or endanger my Christian life? (3) Will it help or hinder a weaker brother? (4) Will it prosper or damage my witness? (5) Will it please or grieve the Holy Spirit? (6) Will it lead me into or Out of God’s will? (7) Will it “adorn the doctrine of God”? Titus 2:10.

A SPECIAL PROMISE IS MADE TO ALL WHO LIVE A SEPARATED LIFE
This is indicated in 2 Cor. 6:17-18, and it is a three- fold promise. If we are prepared to live a separated life, the Lord says:
(1) “I will receive you:” (2) “I will be a Father unto you.” (3) “Ye shall be My sons and daughters.”
In Luke 15:11-24, we have the story of the Prodigal Son. He was a “son”, but he went away into the far country and was out of fellowship with his father. When we are living un-separated lives we are just like him; we are in a backsliding state, living away from our Father, though we are His children; we are out of fellowship with Him and we are acting like immature and disobedient children. When the Prodigal returned and separated himself from all that belonged to the far country, what did the father do?
(1) He received him, compare Luke 15:20-21. (2) He became a father to him in a way which he
could not become while he was in the far country,
compare Luke 15:22-23. (3) He dealt with him as a son, compare Luke 15:24.
The Christian who is not living a separated life is rather like the Prodigal who is in the far country, mixed up with all the things of the world, out of real intimate fellowship with the Father, and not enjoying the privileges of sonship and all the provision of the Father’s house. Are you like this, an un-separated Christian?
Other Christians may be worldly; they may dishonor the Lord by going to questionable places, mixing with those who ridicule and blaspheme His Name, or who adopt worldly standards. But, you cannot be like this if you would be the best for God, and if you really want to be like the Lord Jesus, who was “holy, harmless, undefiled (and) separate from sinners”, Heb. 7:26.

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