“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26)
A disciple of Christ is one who takes Christ for an example and seeks to emulate and glorify Him in all things. Only those who are thus earnestly following Christ are worthy to be called Christians.
To be a Christian is the most honorable and righteous thing a person may be. There is no life, no matter how high or noble it may be, that can compare in satisfaction and happiness with the life of a real Christian. While the doors to many favored places are closed to the throngs, opening only for a favored few, this blessed life of Christian living is open and free for everyone.
It was never meant that the years of any person should be filled up with the common rounds of life, with nothing higher or nobler to lead on to greater things. The heart of man cannot be satisfied with the things that earth has to give. There was planted in man’s heart from the beginning, a desire to know and understand higher things, and to commune with his Maker. The complete satisfying of this God-given nature cannot be had except by knowing God. A person may become very wise, and fill his mind with many things, and put all his time into learning, yet there remains something unsatisfied until he finds God.
Christian womanhood is the only perfect womanhood. If this be true, then we cannot find girlhood in all its beauty and perfection until it is a Christian girlhood. The life of a Christian is not too hard for a girl to live, if she has the right start and really tries.
First of all, to be a Christian, one must be born again. Christian living is not something that people put on whenever they get ready, but it is the result of the change that comes into the lives of those who have given their hearts to God.
A Christian girl is truthful at all times, is honest and sincere, is pure and noble, and everything that a right-living girl should be; but living that kind of upright life is not all there is to being a Christian. It is possible for a girl to be truthful, honest, sincere, pure, and noble without being a Christian. A Christian is that and more.
A Christian has taken Christ as her guide and example, and she will not refuse to confess His name wherever it will glorify Him. She is not ashamed to tell her friends and associates that she is a servant of God. Though she may feel timid, it is not from a sense of shame; for she counts it an honor to be a servant of the Lord.
The Christian girl studies her Bible and seeks to make her life a reflection of its teachings. It is her guidebook, and by it she directs her path. If she finds that anything is forbidden or spoken against in that dear Book, she lets that thing go; and she is just as ready to do all it tells her to do.
When a girl is a Christian, she has learned where to go for strength and courage to do right. She knows the secret power of prayer, and is often found in secret communion with God. Every girl has temptations to evil, thoughts will come that are not right, evil suggestions will present themselves; but if she has learned to go to God in prayer, she will have strength to resist every one and to keep her life clean. The more she has learned to look to God in prayer and trust, the more beautiful is her life.
A Christian’s life is not all sunshine and joy. The great Pattern did not pass through life without hardness to endure, and so it must come to every Christian. One of the Gospel writers has said that it is given unto us “to suffer for his sake.”* (Philippians 1:29) These sufferings must come; but who would not be willing to bear a little for one we love?
There is something about a clean, positive Christian life that will make the girl different from other girls. She will not fit perfectly into all their plans. They will want to go places and do things that she feels in her heart would not please God, so of course she must refuse. They will talk in a way and allow their minds and thoughts to dwell on that which her inward consciousness tells her is not what she should do, and her quietness and lack of enjoyment in what they are discussing will rebuke them and they will feel somewhat uncomfortable in her presence. It cannot be any other way. The Christian girl will not fit in perfectly with girls who love only the things of this world.
And some of those with whom her Christian spirit does not blend will speak evil of her, snub her, and seek to make her life hard. She will be persecuted for her faith in many little ways. But for all that she may have to suffer from misunderstandings of this kind, God will supply grace and glory so that her life will be peaceful and happy anyway.
Being a Christian will not hinder a girl from becoming successful in any honorable work that she may choose to do. If she will remember that she is a Christian first of all, and never allow her youthful ambitions to rise above her desire to please God, nor take the time that should be given in a peculiar sense to His service, then she may study and work as hard and rise as high as possible. It is only when her ambitions take the place of Christian purpose that they become a snare to her.
I have sat looking over congregations of young people whose faces were as fine and intelligent and whose hopes and ambitions rose as high as any you will find anywhere, yet whose countenances were fired with a light and purpose that were not of this world. It is a mistake to suppose that being a Christian will in any way interfere in those pursuits that are right and noble. If any calling will spoil the character of a Christian it will also spoil the character of any person. The Christian religion crowns all noble purposes and ideals, and is a rebuke and barrier only to that which is impure and evil. The one whose girlhood is perfect may fearlessly say, “I am a Christian.”
Our girls will meet some who live noble, upright lives, whose example of morality and generosity seems perfect, yet who do not profess to be Christians, and who may even boast that they are as good without the help of Christ as the Christian is with Christ. Let us remember that such people are actually reflecting the teachings of Christ in their lives in spite of their boasts. They are as if the moon should boast of her light saying, “See, I shine by myself. I need not the sun. This light that I give is all my own.” We know that if the sun were not shining somewhere the moon would be without light; for she has no light of her own; she gives only what she reflects from the sun. The high standards of morality and generosity that these upright people boast about were learned from Christian teachings. Had they been reared where such teaching could not be had, they would be in as great heathen darkness as any people. It is foolish for any to boast of his own goodness.
The girl will also find some who say they are Christians, yet whose lives are not according to the Bible standard. She will find that every other good thing is counterfeited—money, gold, jewels, everything of worth has its counterfeits, and so has Christianity. The thing that should most seriously interest every one of us is to see that we have the genuine religion of Christ.
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