Do not deter men with worthless explanations of Christianity, but attract them by your behavior, your doing of the Lord’s will, and they will draw nigh to behold how Christians love one another, how just they are; how their goods are the best, their prices most reasonable, their word most certain! That in their families is neither jealousy nor emulation! That mammon is not there worshipped, that in their homes selfishness is neither the hidden nor the openly ruling principle; that their children are as diligently taught to share as some are to save, that in no house of theirs is religion one thing, and the daily life another.
Some will say, “How then shall the world go on?” The Lord’s world will go on, and that without such men; the devil’s world will go on, and that with them. Their objection is but proof of their unbelief. Either they do not believe the Lord—that if we seek first the kingdom of God, all things needful will be added to us; or what he undertakes does not satisfy them; they prefer the offers of Mammon. They would not live under such restrictions as the Lord might choose to lay upon them if he saw that something might be made of them precious in his sight! They would inherit the world, and not by meekness. They say, “Christ has satisfied the law,” but they will not satisfy him! They say, “Lord I believe; help mine unbelief,” but when he says, “Leave everything behind you, and be as I am towards God,” they turn away, muttering about figurative language.
by George MacDonald
The text below is an excerpt from MacDonald's sermon, The Only Freedom, delivered August 3rd, 1884, and published in George MacDonald in the Pulpit, edited by J. Joseph Flynn and David Edwards and published by Johannesen Printing and Publishing.
I have a word now to say to those specially who think that they have belonged to Christ for many years. Are you, in any sense can you say it out of your heart and meaning it, "I am the slave of Christ?" Object to the term, and I say, are you the free man of Christ? for they mean the same thing. His slave is His free brother. Is there anything that you do now? and we cannot divide our lives, we cannot say that the private gentleman will be saved when the man of business will be condemned; we are either all Christ's or not at all, for He has told us that no man can serve two masters; are you doing anything now that is not just all that you would like, suppose the thing were to come to be laid open to the purest eyes of those who know you? If there is such a thing as you would not like seen, does the Master see it or does He not? If He does not, He is no Master: we want a greater. If you think He will let it slip, God forbid that I should serve that Master. I want a Master that will not pass over a farthing, a Master who will not let me go from His cleansing hand even if that hand be washing me with fire so long as there is any spot of defilement on my spirit; and the least shadow of dishonesty is the deepest defilement. Are you not sometimes content with saying, "I do as my neighbour would do to me?" You cannot say, "I do as I would like my neighbouu to do to me," perhaps. I wonder whether you could say, then, what the Lord said, for remember He never said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." That was not what He taught. That was taught long before. The Spirit of God taught it, but not by Jesus Christ. What Christ taught us was, "Love one another as I have loved you." Do we behave to our fellow-men as Christ has behaved to us? If we do not we are not His slaves.