A Word to Young Christians
Is it possible for a Christian to be leading a dual life? Alas! it is not only possible, but in too many cases such lives are being lived, especially among young Christians.
There are many young people, who are undoubtedly the children of God, but in whom the work of God has as yet got but little depth. Such are in danger of leading dual lives.
What do you mean by leading a dual life? you may enquire. Well, it is like this.
Believers have two natures. One is the flesh, inconceivably evil, only capable of what is bad. The other is the new nature, every instinct of which is Godward, and towards holiness and truth.
Now if the believer sets out to cater for the flesh, there is the dual life. The two natures are diametrically opposed to each other, and the sad part is that the cultivation of the flesh destroys the appetite for the things of God. We read the solemn words, “No man also having drunk old wine [that is, indulged in the activities of the flesh] straightway desires new [that is, the enjoyment of divine and spiritual things]: for he says, The old is better” (Luke 5:39). Reading one of those exciting sexual novels, that pour from the press today, takes away the appetite for the Word of God. Attendance at the cinema or the theatre, etc., destroys desire for the prayer meeting and the Bible reading.
We get warning examples in Scripture against leading the dual life.
Take the case of Lot. He chose by the sight of his eyes and natural inclination; there was no seeking the guidance of God. He chose all the plain of Jordan. Next he pitched his tent towards Sodom—Sodom, a type of the evil world. He looked that way. Next he dwelt in Sodom, where “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Gen. 13:13).
Then he “sat in the Gate of Sodom” (Gen. 19:1). From looking towards Sodom he found himself in Sodom, his daughters naturally marrying young men belonging to Sodom, whilst his sitting in the gate was equivalent to becoming a justice of the peace, a sign that he had thrown himself into the municipal life of the place.
Who would have imagined from the record in the Old Testament that we should read in the New Testament that “Lot” was “vexed with the filthy conversation [manner of life, including talk but embracing the whole life] of the wicked”—that he “vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds”? (2 Peter 2:7-8).
Surely Lot lived a dual life; outwardly hail-fellow-well-met with the world, and filth and wickedness were its moral features then as now; inwardly chafing and grieving over the condition of things.
How sad was his end. The Lord delivered him at the finish, and did not allow him to share the doom of the guilty cities of the plain, but what a humiliating deliverance it was! He lost his wife, who looking back became a pillar of salt; and he was made drunk by his own two daughters on successive nights, becoming the father by them of children, who were the progenitors of two races—Moabites and Ammonites—the implacable enemies of God’s people.
Let us all be warned about leading dual lives, for there is this temptation with us all.
Read the unutterably sad story of Samson as unfolded in Judges 13:24-16:31, and lay the lesson to heart. It is possible for a Christian to sin like Samson, but how sad beyond words.
It is possible to appear a saint in the meetings, and be something quite different out of the sight of one’s fellow Christians.
It is sad indeed that the eye of a Christian friend will often act as a deterrent, whilst the eye of the Lord, which is always upon us, is forgotten and ignored.
As we have said, often the work of God in the young Christian, and sometimes in the old, is very shallow, and the pull of the Spirit is feeble, and the pull of the flesh is strong. There is with the young all the full vigour of bodily life, the natural desire of youth to enjoy the pleasures that this world can afford, to experience for the first time what the flesh craves after, but all too often it is like the moth, whose wings are singed by flying too near to the alluring light of the candle or the lamp.
Eliphaz of old asked some searching questions. Let us put these questions to you, and will you answer them on your knees with the eye of the Lord looking into the inmost recesses of your heart, and knowing all about your life? “Is there any secret thing with thee? why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thine eyes wink at?” (Job 15:11-12).
If such things are, alas! and to your shame, true of you, will you seek grace to get into God’s presence, and judge your past, and seek to throw yourself wholeheartedly into the things of God?
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). How foolish to sow to the flesh; how happy to sow to the Spirit.
Life is short. Sin whether in sinner or saint is disastrous. There will be no flesh in heaven. What is going to characterize us for ever and ever, should characterize us now, and that for our true profit and real happiness.
Cease tampering with what is of the flesh. Listen to the stern admonition of Scripture. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry … put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col. 3:5-9).
These are straight words. They are inspired. They were needed in Paul’s day. They are needed today. You and I need them. They speak to us. Shall we listen?
A dual life is mere hypocrisy. Let us seek to be true to the Lord in every way, and live a life that is pleasing to Him: being those that live, “not … to themselves, but to Him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).