Someone says: “The little boy or girl, at school, looks at the copy in the writing-book, and imitates it, trying to write each following line better. That is the Christian life, and that is all of it.”
Not by any means. If it were all of it, there would be no hope for anybody; for the pattern is Jesus Christ, in whom dwelleth “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), and no human being could ever successfully copy that life. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8, 9). He who would copy the life of Christ as the schoolboy copies his lesson, and do it successfully, must have power equal to that of God.
If the boy whose hand the master holds and guides in imitating the copy, were used as an illustration of the Christian life, it would be a step nearer the truth; but even that would not be the truth. That is mechanical. The boy may yield his hand willingly to the master, that it may be guided, but the writing is after all not his own. God does not use men as dead instruments to be operated upon, although men are to yield themselves as instruments of righteousness unto Him.
The Christian life is simply the life of Christ. If the master who sets the copy for the schoolboy, could put all his own skill and power into that boy, so that what he writes will not be merely an imitation of the master’s copy, but the master’s own writing, and still the free act of the boy, we should have an illustration of the Christian life. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12, 13). “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked” (1 John 2:6). And how was it that He walked? Christ Himself said, “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works” (John 14:10). Christ has set us the copy, but instead of standing off and watching us try to imitate Him, He gladly comes in to our hearts, becoming one with us, so that His life is our life, and His act is ours. This is life-the Christian life.