For most of

One of the important conditions of growth and strength in the Christian
life is work. No man can keep up his physical strength without exercise
and no man can keep up his spiritual strength without spiritual exercise,
_i. e._, without working for his Master. The working Christian is the
happy Christian. The working Christian is the strong Christian. Some
Christians never backslide because they are too busy about their Master’s
business to backslide. Many professed Christians do backslide because
they are too idle to do anything but backslide. Jesus said to the first
disciples, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4: 19).
Any one who is not a fisher of men is not following Christ. Bearing fruit
in bringing others to the Saviour is the purpose for which Jesus has
chosen us and is one of the most important conditions of power in prayer.
Jesus says in John 15: 16, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you
and ordained you _that ye should go and bring forth fruit_, and that
your fruit should remain, _that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in
My name He may give it you_.” These words of Jesus are very plain. They
tell us that the one who is bearing fruit is the one who can pray in the
name of Christ and get what he asks in that name. In the same chapter
Jesus tells us that bearing fruit in His strength is the condition of
fullness of joy. He says, “These things have I spoken unto you (that is,
the things about abiding in Him and bearing fruit in His strength) that
My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full” (John 15:
11). Experience abundantly proves the truth of these words of our Master.
Those who are full of activity in winning others to Christ are those who
are full of joy in Christ Himself.

If you wish to be a happy Christian; if you wish to be a strong
Christian, if you wish to be a Christian who is mighty in prayer, begin
at once to work for the Master and never let a day pass without doing
some definite work for Him. But how can a young Christian work for Him?
How can a young Christian bear fruit? The answer is very simple and very
easy to follow. You can bear fruit for your Master by going to others and
telling them what your Saviour has done for you, and by urging them to
accept this same Saviour and showing them how to do it. There is no other
work in the world that is so easy to do, so joyous, and so abundant in
its fruitfulness, as personal hand to hand work. The youngest Christian
can do personal work. Of course, he cannot do it so well as he will do
it later, after he has had more practice. But the way to learn how to do
it is by doing it. I have known thousands of Christians all around the
world who have begun to work for Christ, and to bring others to Christ,
the very day that they were converted. How often young men and young
women, yes, and old men and old women too, have come to me and said, “I
accepted Jesus Christ last night as my Saviour, my Lord and my King, and
to-night I have led a friend to Christ.” Then the next day they would
come and tell me of some one else they had led to Christ. When we were
in Sheffield, a young man working in a warehouse accepted Christ. Before
the month’s mission in Sheffield was over he had led thirty others to
Christ, many of them in the same warehouse where he himself worked. This
is but one instance among many. There are many books that tell how to do
personal work.[3]

But one does not need to wait until they have read some book on the
subject before they begin. One of the commonest and greatest mistakes
that is made is that of frittering one’s life away in getting ready to
get ready to get ready. Some never do get ready. The way to get ready is
to begin at once. Make up your mind that you will speak about accepting
Christ to at least one person every day. Early in his Christian life Mr.
Moody made this resolution that he would never let a day pass over his
head without speaking to at least one person about Christ. One night he
was returning late from his work. As he got near home it occurred to him
that he had not spoken to any one that day. He said to himself, “It is
too late now. I will not get an opportunity. Here will be one day gone
without my speaking to any one about Christ.” But a little ways ahead of
him he saw a man standing under a lamp-post. He said, “Here is my last
opportunity.” The man was a stranger to him, though he knew who Mr. Moody
was. Mr. Moody hurried up to him and asked him, “Are you a Christian?”
The man replied, “That is none of your business. If you were not a sort
of a preacher I would knock you into the gutter.” But Mr. Moody spoke a
few faithful words to him and passed on. The next day this man called on
one of Mr. Moody’s business friends in Chicago in great indignation. He
said, “That man Moody of yours over on the Northside is doing more harm
than he is good. He has zeal without knowledge. He came up to me last
night, a perfect stranger, and asked me if I was a Christian. He insulted
me. I told him if he had not been a sort of preacher I would have knocked
him into the gutter.” Mr. Moody’s friend called him in and said to
him, “Moody, you are doing more harm than good. You have zeal without
knowledge. You insulted a friend of mine on the street last night.” Mr.
Moody went out somewhat crestfallen, feeling that perhaps he was doing
more harm than good, that perhaps he did have zeal without knowledge.
But some weeks after, late at night, there was a great pounding on his
door. Mr. Moody got out of bed and rushed to the door supposing that the
house was on fire. That same man stood at the door. He said, “Mr. Moody,
I have not had a night’s rest since you spoke to me that night under the
lamp-post and I have come around for you to tell me what to do to be
saved.” Mr. Moody had the joy that night of leading that man to Christ.
It is better to have zeal without knowledge than to have knowledge
without zeal, but it is better yet to have zeal with knowledge, and any
one may have this. The way to get knowledge is by experience, and the
way to get experience is by doing the work. The man who is so afraid of
making blunders that he never does anything, never learns anything.
The man who goes ahead and does his best and is willing to risk the
blunders, is the man who learns to avoid the blunders in the future. Some
of the most gifted men I have ever known have never really accomplished
anything, they were so fearful of making blunders. Some of the most
useful men I have ever known were men who at the outset were the least
promising, but who had a real love for souls and went on, at first in a
blundering way, but they blundered on until they learned by experience
to do things well. Do not be discouraged by your blunders. Pitch in and
keep pegging away. Every honest mistake is but a stepping-stone to future
success. Try every day to lead some one else to Christ. Of course, you
will not succeed every day, but the work will do you good any way, and
years after you will often find that where you thought you have made the
greatest blunders, you have accomplished the best results. The man who
gets angriest at you, will often turn out in the end the man who is most
grateful to you. Be patient and hope on. Never be discouraged.

Make a prayer list. Go alone with God. Write down at the top of a
sheet of paper, “God helping me, I promise to pray daily and to work
persistently for the conversion of the following persons.” Then kneel
down and ask God to show you who to put on that list. Do not make the
list so long that your prayer and work become mechanical and superficial.
After you have made the list keep your covenant, really pray for them
every day. Watch for opportunities to speak to them—improve these
opportunities. You may have to watch long for your opportunities with
some of them, and you may have to speak often, but never give up. I
prayed about fifteen years for one man, one of the most discouraging
men I ever met, but I saw that man converted at last, and I saw him
a preacher of the gospel, and many others were converted through his
preaching, and now he is in the Glory.

Learn to use tracts. Get a few good tracts that are fitted to meet the
needs of different kinds of people. Then hand these tracts out to the
people whose needs they are adapted to meet. Follow your tracts up with
prayer and with personal effort.

Go to your pastor and ask him if there is some work he would like to have
you do for him in the church. Be a person that your pastor can depend
upon. We live in a day in which there are many kinds of work going on
outside the church, and many of these kinds of work are good and you
should take part in them as you are able, but never forget that your
first duty is to the church of which you are a member. Be a person that
your pastor can count on. It may be that your pastor may not want to use
you, but at least give him the chance of refusing you. If he does refuse
you, don’t be discouraged, but find work somewhere else. There is plenty
to do and few to do it. It is as true to-day as it was in the days of
our Saviour, “The harvest truly is plenteous but the labourers are few”
(Matt. 9: 37), “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send
forth labourers into His harvest,” and pray that He will send you (Matt.
9: 38). The right kind of men are needed in the ministry. The right kind
of men and women are needed for foreign mission work, but you may not be
the right kind of a man or woman for foreign missionary work, but none
the less there is work for you to do just as important in its place as
the work of the minister or the missionary is. See that you fill your
place and fill it well.[4]

In order to have the largest success in the Christian life one must be
interested in foreign missions. The last command of our Lord before
leaving this earth was, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son and
of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have
commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the
world” (Matt. 28: 19, 20, R. V.). Here is a command and a promise. It
is one of the sweetest promises in the Bible. But the enjoyment of the
promise is conditioned upon obedience to the command. Our Lord commands
every one of His disciples to go and “make disciples” of all the nations.
This command was not given to the apostles alone, but to every member of
Christ’s church in all ages. If we go, then Christ will be with us even
unto the end of the age; but, if we do not go, we have no right to count
upon His companionship. Are you going? How can we go? There are three
ways in which we can go, and in at least two of these ways we must go if
we are to enjoy the wonderful privilege of the personal companionship of
Jesus Christ every day unto the end of the age.

1. First, _many of us can go in our own persons_. Many of us ought to
go. God does not call every one of us to go as foreign missionaries,
but He does call many of us to go who are not responding to the call.
Every Christian should offer himself for the foreign field and leave the
responsibility of choosing him or refusing him to the all-wise One, God
Himself. No Christian has a right to stay at home until he has gone and
offered himself definitely to God for the foreign field. If you have
not done it before, do it to-day. Go alone with God and say, “Heavenly
Father, here I am, Thy property, purchased by the precious blood of
Christ. I belong to Thee. If Thou dost wish me in the foreign field, make
it clear to me and I will go.” Then keep watching for the leading of God.
God’s leading is clear leading. He is light and in Him is no darkness at
all (1 John 1: 5). If you are really willing to be led, He will make it
clear as day. Until He does make it clear as day, you need have no morbid
anxiety that perhaps you are staying at home when you ought to go to the
foreign field. If He wants you, He will make it clear as day in His own
way and time. If He does make it clear, then prepare to go step by step
as He leads you. And when His hour comes, go, no matter what it costs. If
He does not make it clear that you ought to go in your own person, stay
at home and do your duty at home and go in the other ways that will now
be told.

2. _We all can go, and all ought to go to the foreign field by our
gifts._ There are many who would like to go to the foreign field in
their own person, but whom God providentially prevents, but who are
still going in the missionaries they support or help to support. It is
possible for you to preach the Gospel in the remotest corners of the
earth by supporting or helping to support a foreign missionary or a
native worker in that place. Many who read this book are able financially
to support a foreign missionary out of their own pocket. If you are able
to do it, do it. If you are not able to support a foreign missionary,
you may be able to support a native helper—do it. You may be able to
support one missionary in Japan and another in China, and another in
India and another in Africa and another somewhere else—do it. Oh! the
joy of preaching the Gospel in lands that we shall never see with our
own eyes. How few in the church of Christ to-day realize their privilege
of preaching the Gospel and saving men and women and children in distant
lands by sending substitute missionaries to them, that is, by sending
some one that goes for you where you cannot go yourself. They could
not go but for your gifts by which they are supported and you could
not go but for them, by their going in your place. You may be able to
give but very little to foreign missions, but every little counts. Many
insignificant streams together make a mighty river. If you cannot be a
river, at least be a stream.

Learn to give largely. The large giver is the happy Christian. “The
liberal soul shall be made fat” (Prov. 11: 25). “He which soweth
sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully
shall reap also bountifully,” and “God is able to make all grace abound
towards you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things may
abound to every good work” (2 Cor. 9: 8, 9). Success and growth in the
Christian life depend upon few things more than upon liberal giving.
The stingy Christian cannot be a growing Christian. It is wonderful how
a Christian man begins to grow when he begins to give. Power in prayer
depends on liberality in giving. One of the most wonderful statements
about prayer and its answers is 1 John 3: 22. John says there that,
whatsoever he asked of God he received; and he tells us why, because he
on his part, kept God’s commandments and did those things which were
pleasing in His sight, and the immediate context shows that the special
commandments he was keeping were the commandments about giving. He tells
us in the twenty-first verse that when our heart condemns us not in the
matter of giving then have we confidence in our prayers to God. God’s
answers to our prayers come in through the same door that our gifts go
out to others, and some of us open the door such a little ways by our
small giving that God is not able to pass in to us any large answers to
our prayers. One of the most remarkable promises in the Bible is that
found in Phil. 4: 19, “My God shall supply (R. V., fulfill, that is fill
full) all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,”
but this promise was made to believers who had distinguished themselves
above their fellows by the largeness and the frequency of their giving
(Cf. vs. 14-18). Of course, we should not confine our giving to foreign
missions. We should give to the work of the home church: we should give
to rescue work in our large cities. We should do good to all men as we
have opportunity, especially to those who are of the household of faith
(Gal. 6: 10). But foreign missions should have a large part in our gifts.

Give systematically. Set aside for Christ a fixed proportion of all the
money or goods you get. Be exact and honest about it. Don’t use that
part of your income for yourself under any circumstances. The Christian
is not under law, and there is no law binding on the Christian that he
should give a tenth of his income, but as a matter of free choice and
glad gratitude a tenth is a good proportion to begin with. Don’t let it
be less than a tenth. God required that of the Jews and the Christian
ought not to be more selfish than a Jew. After you have given your tenth,
you will soon learn the joy of giving free will offerings in addition to
the tenth.

3. But there is another way in which we can go to the foreign field,
that is by our prayers. We can all go in this way. Any hour of the day
or night you can reach any corner of the earth by your prayers. I go to
Japan, to China and to Australia and to Tasmania and to New Zealand and
to India and to Africa and to other parts of the earth every day, by my
prayers. And prayer really brings things to pass where you go. Do not
make prayer an excuse for not going in your own person if God wishes you,
and do not make prayer an excuse for small giving. There is no power in
that kind of prayer. If you are ready to go yourself if God wishes you,
and if you are actually going by your gifts as God gives you ability,
then you can go effectually by your prayers also. The greatest need of
the work of Jesus Christ to-day is prayer. The greatest need of foreign
missions to-day is prayer. Foreign missions are a success, but they
are no such success as they ought to be and might be. They are no such
success as they would be if Christians at home, as well as abroad, were
living up to the full measure of their opportunity in prayer.

Be definite in your prayers for foreign missions. Pray first of all
that God will send forth labourers into His harvest, the right sort of
labourers. There are many men and women in the foreign field that ought
never to have gone there. There was not enough prayer about it. More
foreign missionaries are greatly needed, but only more of the right
kind of missionaries. Pray to God daily and believingly to send forth
labourers into the harvest.

Pray for the labourers who are already on the field. No class of men and
women need our prayers more than foreign missionaries. No class of men
and women are objects of more bitter hatred from Satan than they. Satan
delights to attack the reputation and the character of the brave men and
women who have gone to the front in the battle for Christ and the Truth.
No persons are subjected to so numerous and to such subtle and awful
temptations as foreign missionaries. We owe it to them to support them by
our prayers. Do not merely pray for foreign missionaries in general. Have
a few special missionaries of whose work you make a study that you may
pray intelligently for them.

Pray for the native converts. We Christians at home think we have
difficulties and trials and temptations and persecutions, but the burdens
that we have to bear are nothing to what the converts in heathen lands
have to bear. The obstacles oftentimes are enormous and discouragements
crushing. Christ alone can make them stand, but He works in answer to the
prayers of His people. Pray often, pray earnestly, pray intensely and
pray believingly for native converts. How wonderfully God has answered
prayer for native converts we are beginning to learn from missionary
literature. It is well to be definite here again and to have some
definite field about whose needs you keep yourself informed and pray
for the converts of that field. Do not have so many that you become
confused and mechanical. Pray for conversions in the foreign field. Pray
for revivals in definite fields. The last few years have been years of
special prayer for special revival in foreign fields and from every
corner of the earth tidings have come of how amazingly God is answering
these prayers. But the great things that God is beginning to do are small
indeed in comparison with what He will do if there is more prayer.

Our companions have a great deal to do with determining our character.
The companionships that we form create an intellectual, moral and
spiritual atmosphere that we are constantly breathing, and our spiritual
health is helped or hindered by it. Every young Christian should have
a few wisely chosen friends, intimate friends, with whom he can talk
freely. Search out for yourself a few persons of about your own age
with whom you can associate intimately. Be sure that they are spiritual
persons in the best sense. Persons who love to study the Bible, persons
who love to converse on spiritual themes, persons who know how to pray
and do pray, persons who are really working to bring others to Christ.

Do not be at all uneasy about the fact that some Christian people are
more agreeable to you than others. God has made us in that way. Some
are attracted to some persons and some to others, and it proves nothing
against the others and nothing against yourself that you are not
attracted to them as you are to some people. Cultivate the friendship of
those whose friendship you find helpful to your own spiritual life.

On the other hand avoid the companionships that you find spiritually and
morally hurtful. Of course, we are not to withdraw ourselves utterly
from unconverted people, or even of very bad people. We are to cultivate
oftentimes the acquaintance of unspiritual people, and even of very bad
people, in order that we may win them for Christ; but we must always be
on our guard in such companionships to bear always in mind to seek to
lift them up or else they will be sure to drag us down. If you find in
spite of all your best effort that any companionship is doing harm to
your own spiritual life, then give it up. Some people are surrounded with
such an atmosphere of unbelief or cynicism or censoriousness or impurity
or greed or some other evil thing that it is impossible to associate with
them to any large extent without being contaminated. In such a case, the
path of wisdom is plain; stop associating with them to any large extent.
Stop associating with them at all except in so far as there is some
prospect of helping them.

But there are other companionships that mould our lives besides the
companionships of living persons. The books that we read are our
companions. They exert a tremendous influence for good or for evil. There
is nothing that will help us more than a good book, and there is nothing
that will hurt us more than a bad book. Among the most helpful books are
the biographies of good men. Read again and again the lives of such good
and truly great men as Wesley and Finney and Moody. We live in a day in
which good biographies abound. Read them. Well written histories are good
companions. No study is more practical and instructive than the study
of history, and it is not only instructive but spiritually helpful if
we only watch to see the hand of God in history, to see the inevitable
triumph of right and the inevitable punishment of wrong in individuals
and in nations.

Some few books of fiction are helpful, but here one needs to be very much
on his guard. A large portion of modern fiction is positively pernicious
morally. Books of fiction that are not positively bad, at least give
false views of life and unfit one for life as it really is. Much reading
of fiction is mentally injurious. The inveterate novel reader ruins his
powers of close and clear thinking. Fiction is so fascinating that it
always tends to drive out other reading that is more helpful mentally
and morally. We should be on our guard in even reading good literature,
that the good does not crowd out the best; that is that the best of man’s
literature does not crowd out the very best of all—God’s Book. God’s
Book, the Bible, must always have the first place.

Then there is another kind of companionship that has a tremendous
influence over our lives, that is the companionship of pictures. The
pictures that we see every day of our lives, and the pictures that we see
only occasionally, have a tremendous power in the shaping of our lives.
A mother had two dearly loved sons. It was her dream and ambition that
these sons should enter the ministry, but both of them went to sea. She
could not understand it until a friend one day called her attention to
the picture of a magnificent ship in full sail careening through the
ocean that hung above the mantel in the dining-room. Every day of their
lives her boys had gazed upon that picture, had been thrilled by it,
and an unconquerable love for the sea and longing for it had thus been
created and this had determined their lives. How many a picture that
is a masterpiece of art, but in which there is an evil suggestion, has
sent some young men on the road to ruin. Many of our art collections
are so polluted with improper pictures that it is not safe for a young
man or a young woman to visit them. The evil thought that they suggest
may be but for a moment, and yet Satan will know how to bring that
picture back again and again and work injury by it. Don’t look for a
moment at any picture, no matter how praised by art critics, that taints
your imagination with evil suggestion. Avoid as you would poison every
painting, or engraving, every etching, every photograph that leaves a
spot of impurity on your mind, but feast your soul upon the pictures that
make you holier, kinder, more sympathetic and more tender.

Young people need recreation. Our Saviour does not frown upon wholesome
recreation. He was interested in the games of the children when He was
here upon earth. He watched the children at their play (Matt. 12: 16-19),
and He watches the children at their play to-day, and delights in their
play when it is wholesome and elevating. In the stress and strain of
modern life older people too need recreation if they are to do their very
best work. But there are recreations that are wholesome, and there are
amusements that are pernicious. It is impossible to take up amusements
one by one, and it is unnecessary. A few principles can be laid down.

1. _Do not indulge in any form of amusement about whose propriety you
have any doubts._ Whenever you are in doubt, always give God the benefit
of the doubt. There are plenty of recreations about which there can be no
question. “He that doubteth is condemned: for whatsoever is not of faith
is sin” (Rom. 14: 32, R. V.). Many a young Christian will say, “I am not
sure that this amusement is wrong.” Are you sure it is right? If not,
leave it alone.

2. _Do not indulge in any amusement that you cannot engage in to the
glory of God._ “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do,
do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10: 31). Whenever you are in doubt as
to whether you should engage in any amusement ask yourself, Can I do this
at this time to the glory of God?

3. _Do not engage in any amusement that will hurt your influence
with anybody._ There are amusements, which perhaps are all right in
themselves, but which we cannot engage in without losing our influence
with some one. Now every true Christian wishes his life to tell with
everybody to the utmost. There is so much to be done and so few to do
it that every Christian desires every last ounce of power for good that
he can have with everybody, and, if any amusement will injure your
influence for good with any one, the price is too great. Do not engage
in it. A Christian young lady had a great desire to lead others to
Christ. She made up her mind that she would speak to a young friend of
hers about coming to Christ, and while resting between the figures of
a dance she said to the young man who was her companion in the dance,
“George, are you a Christian?” “No,” he said, “I am not, are you?”
“Yes,” she replied, “I am.” “Then,” he said, “what are you doing here?”
Whether justly or unjustly the world discounts the professions of those
Christians who indulge in certain forms of the world’s own amusements. We
cannot afford to have our professions thus discounted.

4. _Do not engage in any amusement that you cannot make a matter of
prayer_, that you cannot ask God’s blessing upon. Pray before your play
just as much as you would pray before your work.

5. _Do not go to any place of amusement where you cannot take Christ with
you, and where you do not think Christ would feel at home._ Christ went
to places of mirth when He was here upon earth. He went to the marriage
feast in Cana (John 2), and contributed to the joy of the occasion, but
there are many modern places of amusement where Christ would not be at
home. Would the atmosphere of the modern stage be congenial to that holy
One whom we call “Lord”? If it would not, don’t you go.

6. _Don’t engage in any amusement that you would not like to be found
enjoying if the Lord should come._ He may come at any moment. Blessed is
that one whom when He cometh, He shall find watching and ready, and glad
to open to Him immediately (Luke 12: 36, 40). I have a friend who was one
day walking down the street thinking upon the return of his Lord. As he
thought he was smoking a cigar. The thought came to him, “Would you like
to meet Christ now with that cigar in your mouth?” He answered honestly,
“No, I would not.” He threw that cigar away and never lighted another.

7. _Do not engage in any amusement, no matter how harmless it would be
for yourself, that might harm some one else._ Take for example card
playing. It is probable that thousands have played cards moderately all
their lives and never suffered any direct moral injury from it, but
every one who has studied the matter knows that cards are the gamblers’
chosen tools. He also knows that most, if not all, gamblers took their
first lessons in card playing at the quiet family card table. He knows
that if a young man goes out into the world knowing how to play cards
and indulging at all in this amusement that before long he is going to
be put into a place where he is going to be asked to play cards for
money, and if he does not consent he will get into serious trouble.
Card playing is a dangerous amusement for the average young man. It is
pretty sure to lead to gambling on a larger or a smaller scale, and one
of the most crying social evils of our time is the evil of gambling.
Some young man may be encouraged to play cards by your playing who will
afterwards become a gambler and part of the responsibility will lie at
your door. If I could repeat all the stories that have come to me from
broken-hearted men whose lives have been shipwrecked at the gaming table;
if I could tell of all the broken-hearted mothers who have come to me,
some of them in high position, whose sons have committed suicide at Monte
Carlo and other places, ruined by the cards, I think that all thoughtful
and true Christians would give them up forever.

For most of us the recreations that are most helpful are those that
demand a considerable outlay of physical energy. Recreations that take
us into the open air, recreations that leave us refreshed in body and
invigorated in mind. Physical exercises of the strenuous kind, but not
over-exercise, is one of the great safeguards of the moral conduct of
boys and young men. There is very little recreation in watching others
play the most vigorous game of football but there is real health for the
body and for the soul in a due amount of physical exercise for yourself.