Christian Disciplines

Christian values to practice involve being quiet and getting alone with God. Commit things to God as a way of life. Mind your own business.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, Philippians 4, James 4:6


Alright, thank you very much. It’s always nice to be put on the air with a friendly voice. I appreciate it. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I trust everything’s alright at your house, and if you’ve struck a rough day, as some of you indeed have, then look up and say “Lord Jesus, see me through this one,” and He will. The key word, as I’ve told you so often, is “through.” “Yea, though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil.” “When Thou passes through the waters, they shall not overflow me.” Trust God to see you through, and He will.

Someone wrote me the other day and said, “I was driving to work, and I felt so bad. I was worrying about everything, and I turned on the radio, and there you were, saying, “If you have a rough day, just trust the Lord.” And the writer said, “I just whispered a prayer, and committed things to God, and things went better.” Well, I’m glad it works. You found out that it works. I’ve been using that procedure for many, many years. If you’ve struck a rough day, you may not be able to change the circumstances, but you certainly can let the Lord Jesus change you in the rough circumstances. Can’t you?

Well, you and I are looking at 1 Thessalonians 4, and we’re talking about the concept of pleasing God. He said, “We exhort you by the Lord Jesus that if you received of us how you ought to live every day and please God, that you would abound more and more.” Then he talks about personal holiness. That involves, my friend, asking God and believing God to free you from those sins that would defile and spoil your life and relationships. Jesus can do that, and He will as you and I trust Him. Oh yes, thank God for the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. That’s the first thing; a holy life, a life that is wholly committed to God. That means that I walk in line, not only with God’s stated will, but also with the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life.

I remember when I first started out years ago with Torrey Johnson (that would be in the 1930’s), we shared some evangelistic meetings together. He was the preacher and I was the song leader. And I remember his saying on one occasion when he preached about the Holy Spirit, he said, “His name is the Holy Spirit, and if you let Him control your life He’ll make you holy, and He’ll make you spiritual.” Well, now, that’s true. So this matter of personal holiness ends in Verse 8 with a reference to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God so that it is not only the spoken commands of God’s Word, the Bible, but also the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. Let Him today control our lives, shall we? He will control our lives in terms of making them clear, clean, Christ-like and effective. That pleases God.

Then, the second thing under “pleasing God,” is this matter of brotherly love: my relationship with other people who belong to Jesus Christ and are members of God’s heavenly family. Brotherly love; he says do it more and more, increase more and more. Small thought here: God’s economy is always an increasing economy. “The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” we read in Proverbs. Increase more and more. God’s grace is an increasing grace. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. In James 4:6, “He giveth more grace.” God’s economy is an increasing economy. You don’t stand still, you keep on, and you increase. You increase in your prayer life, you increase in your understanding of the things of God, you increase in your effectiveness in ministering to other people, you increase in the depth and holiness of your own Christian character. God isn’t through with any of us yet. He’s working on us, isn’t he?

Someone had a little button on the other day with an acronym made up of the first letters of the words, “Please be patient with me; God isn’t finished with me yet.” Increase; Give some thought, will you, beloved, to this concept of more love? It is not without reason that we sing in the old hymn, “More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee,” because God works that way! That’s what Paul was saying here. You’re exercising brotherly love, but he says do it more and more.

Alright, now we’ve got into this matter of Christian values; he said, “Study to be quiet; plan to be quiet.” I think I could paraphrase that by saying, “Plan some quiet times.” Any success book that you read, any of these self-help books that are published by the hundreds, will probably have in it some reference to the importance of planning some quiet time where you’re just alone. Now most of these books are written by heathen authors who don’t know our Lord. But you and I know the blessed Lord and we know that when you’re saved, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within you, and we know that you feed on the Word of God in order to be strengthened and to be changed into a Christ-like character, don’t we? Knowing that, he said, “Study to be quiet.” Structure some quietness in your life.

Now, I am already speaking, I know, to people whose life has begun with a bang; the alarm went off, the children wake up, you have to (if you’re a homemaker) get the breakfast and get the lunches, and locate a missing shirt or tie or pair of socks, or whatever it may be, and life goes on with a tremendous hustle. And you look at the radio while I’m talking and you say, “Hey, Bob Cook, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t know how busy I am. Talk about being quiet; I don’t have a minute to myself!” Well, I’ve found that if you want to have time with God, you can get it. In my case, sometimes, it involves getting up before the rest of the family does, so that I can be quiet before God.

Very often, I make these broadcasts very early in the morning, because I know some of you listen very early in the morning, or very late at night, as the case may be. I like to feel as you feel in those before-daylight hours. But sometimes, as I say, it involves getting up before the family does to be quiet before God. And I’ve prayed in some very odd places. I’ve prayed in a coal cellar. There was one house we lived in that had been converted to oil heat, but the place where the coal had been stored was still there. And I used to go down into that area. It was now clean; the coal dust was no longer on the floor and the walls, so I knelt. I would kneel down and be alone there.

And then, later on, I discovered that the attic in that same house had a section in it that was walled off; it was a little extra area that someone had walled off, and there was a door there. And so, I brought a desk and a chair and a lamp, and a typewriter, and a wastebasket, and I used to get in there and close that door, and turn on the lamp. There wasn’t a bit of ventilation; in summertime, it got like an oven. But it was a place to be alone and quiet before God. The Lord met me in so many wonderful ways during the time that I spent being alone.

You can, if you wish, get alone with God. I’ve had some wonderful prayer meetings in a rickshaw in China, in the rain. You’d pull down the celluloid curtain that was in the front of the conveyance and just pray. You can get alone with God if you want to. You know that. You’ve got a bathroom with a lock on it, haven’t you? You can spend even a moment alone with God if you want to. He said, “Study to be quiet.” Plan every day to have some moments with just you and God, where you are alone with God. Moments when you are absolutely honest. You know, you can’t lie to God when you’re alone. I’ve heard some people pray some very dishonest prayers when they were in the presence of other people. But when you are all alone with God, it’s impossible for you to dissemble. It’s then that you have to be honest. That’s the therapeutic value of a quiet time before God.

Furthermore, he speaks, I’m sure, in this verse not only of moments when we are alone and quiet, but an underlying quiet based upon commitment to God. Philippians 4 said “Don’t be care-filled about anything. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” That, my friend, is a way of life, isn’t it? That is quietness built-in.

Motorcars are sold on the basis of being quiet while they’re on the road. Rolls-Royce used to advertise (I don’t think they do anymore; maybe they do, I don’t read the ads all that much) the fact that you could talk in a whisper in a Rolls-Royce while it was being driven at 60 miles per hour, and you could hear it, because it was so quiet. A quiet way of life depends upon commitment to God. Everything, said he, by prayer. Prayer is God’s leverage; it is God’s method of getting things done. And you and I, then, have the privilege of committing things to God before they happen, and while they’re happening, and after they happen, so that our whole life is pervaded by the divine peace of God. Do you want to think about that for a moment? Chew on it, and start committing the details of life to God, so that you can have a quiet life. Study to be quiet. Make plans to be quiet before God.

Then, he said, “Mind your own business.” Now of course, that’s difficult to do sometimes, especially when you’re interested in what’s going on in another person’s life. But it’s a very good rule. Take care of matters in your own life. Solomon said, “He that meddleth in a matter that is not his own is as he that taketh a dog by the ears.” In other words, you’re going to get bitten if you pick up a dog by his ears, and you’re going to get into trouble if you meddle in a matter that is not your own business.

Before you and I get involved with other people’s affairs, we need to ask ourselves, “Is this something that is really what I ought to be involved in, and if it is, does God want me, then, to have a ministry to this person in this situation?” Let the Lord guide you in your relationships with other people’s business. We’ll get into that the next time we get together.

Dear Father, today let us live holy lives, lives full of love, and lives that have a total commitment to Thee, our Lord. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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