Faith In Relation to Life (continued)
The Delusion of a False Life (continued)
I have cited this as an illustration of the truth that the more men have, the more dissatisfied they are. The more you give to this life, the more it will take - and can take - and the more it will demand, and the more unsatisfied it is. It wears out in no time. The whole thing fails to last - it just does not last; and that is the life that the devil has given in place of this other life. You and I may have very little in this world - nothing at all comparable to a Californian set-up - and yet have the Lord Jesus in our hearts and be perfectly satisfied. The difference is a very practical thing. The devil said, "Thou shalt not surely die," and man just swallowed it: he thought that God was wrong, and the devil was right; and this is what it has led to - a false life, hollow at the core, never, never answering to man's real need; a mockery in the end, the fruit looking beautiful but falling from the trees before it is ripe.
But in that other life, represented by the tree of life, it is all the other way. This life has nothing to do with things at all: it has to do with a Person. This life does not wear out: it wears infinitely - it survives. It is not, like the other, kept going by artificial respiration and stimulants - and how artificial they are! This life is maintained from a living source.
That is very searching. It is very, very important to be quite sure that this thing has taken place with every new convert: that there is no illusion or delusion about this, but that they have really become, definitely and surely, the recipients of this other life - this life that will not require a constant succession of stimulant from without, but which, when all outward things cease, will still go on. That is going to be the test.
Now this illusion can get into religion, and that is the place where the devil like to have it more than anywhere else. The Lord had something to say on that very matter to the church at Sardis: "Thou hast a name" - a reputation - "That thou livest, and thou art dead" (Revelation 3:1). A reputation for life - and yet dead. The eyes of flame see through the false situation - the false reputation, the false name. It would not be difficult to imagine or portray what a church like that would be. We need not stay with it. There are many things that have a semblance of life, that look like life - what people call life - but they are not life. They require external 'stimulants' to be applied all the time to keep the thing going. What the Lord calls life is another thing altogether.
(continued with # 27 - Marks of Divine Life)