Pianos have to be kept in tune. Every now and then, the tuner comes and goes over all the strings; and he keys them up, so that there will be no discords when the instrument is played. But our lives have a great many more strings than a piano, and they much more easily get out of tune! Then they begin to make discords, and the music is spoiled. We need to watch them carefully, to keep their strings always up to concert pitch.
One way in which a piano is put out of tune is simply by common use. The constant striking of the strings stretches them, and they need to be keyed up from time to time. Similarly, life’s ordinary experiences have an exhausting effect upon us. It is said of Jesus that “virtue went out of him” as he went about healing those who were sick. Virtue always goes out of us as we work – as we sympathize with pain or sorrow, as we serve others, and as we strive and struggle. Duty drains our life’s fountains. We have our daily tasks, temptations, burdens, cares, and trials; and at the close of the day, we are tired – and so the music which our life makes is naturally not as sweet as it was in the morning. Thankfully, however, night has a blessed ministry in renewing our physical vitality, so that our bodies are ready with the new day for new service! And the songfulness of life is far more dependent upon the bodily condition than we dream of. It is much easier to be joyous and sweet when we are fresh and strong, than when we are tired and weary.
But the body is not everything! We are also made to enjoy communion with our God! We need to come into His presence at the end of the day to be spiritually renewed. The other day, a young woman – whose work is very hard, with long hours and incessant pressure – took a little time from her noon-hour to call upon an older friend; and she said, “I felt that if I could see you for five minutes, to get an encouraging word, I could get through the afternoon better.” And what is true of a human friend is even more true of God! If we can get a little time with Him when we are weary, and when our strength is running low; our life will be put in tune, so that the music will be sweet again. We cannot afford to live a day without communion with Christ – for thereby we get His strength, joy, and peace into our hearts.
One of the principal ways in which the Lord’s Day helps us is by lifting us up, for a little while, into accord with heavenly things. We withdraw from the toil, bustle, and noise of our weekday work; and we enter into the quiet place where we can hear the songs of peace, catch sight of the face of God, and commune with holy thoughts. The effect – if we avail ourselves of the possibilities of such a privilege – is to start us anew on a higher plane of living!
Henry Ward Beecher once told of visiting a painter. “I saw on his table some high-colored stones,” he said; “and I asked him what they were for. He said that they were to keep his eye up to tone. When he was working in pigments – insensibly, his sense of color was weakened; and by having a pure color near him, he brought it up again – just as the musician, by his test fork, brings himself up to the right pitch. Now, every day, men need to have a sense of the invisible God. No nature is of such magnitude that it does not need daily to be tuned, chorded, borne up to the idea of a pure and lofty life…”
Musicians have a standard pitch by which they tune all their instruments. The standard for our lives is the will of God. The Word of God gives us the keynote. Our lives will make music only when they are in harmony with Him. Jesus Himself said, “I do always those things that please him.” Then he said that – because of His unfailing obedience – His Father never left Him alone. There was never any discordance or disharmony between His life and His Father’s. In the same way, our lives are in tune just so far as they are in harmony with God’s will. Jesus said that if we keep His commandments, we shall abide in His love. This means that there shall be nothing discordant between His life and ours. “Nearer, my God, to thee” is a prayer for the lifting of our spirits into such a relationship with God, that the communion between Him and us shall be perfect and unbroken.
“Just to be tender; just to be true; Just to be glad the whole day through; Just to be merciful; just to be mild; Just to be trustful as a child; Just to be gentle and kind and sweet; Just to be helpful, with willing feet; Just to be cheery when things go wrong; Just to drive sadness away with a song; Whether the hour is dark or bright, Just to be loyal to God and right; Just to believe that God knows best; Just in His promise always to rest; Just to let love be our daily key – This is God’s will for you and for me!”
The bringing of the powers of our own lives into tune is really the great problem that all spiritual cultivation seeks to address. It takes all life here to work out the problem. All our mortal years, we are in training. The objective of all the discipline of experience is to bring our faculties and powers under the mastery of the Divine Spirit, and to school our affections, feelings, and desires into the beauty of love.
While the audience is waiting for a concert to begin, they hear a strange clamor behind the scenes. The instruments are being brought into accord. At first, they are far apart in their tones; but in a little time, they all come into perfect harmony. Then the music begins! Each human life is a whole orchestra in itself, but it is not always in tune; and before it can begin to make sweet music, its many chords must all be brought into accord. This is the work of spiritual cultivation; it is achieved only by the submission of the whole life to God. This is the work which Divine grace sets out to do in us. If we wish to have this result achieved, we must sweetly and earnestly yield ourselves to God; so that He may bring us into tune with His own Spirit, and teach us how to make heavenly music in this world!
In what ways is your life frequently put out of tune – both physically and spiritually – by the common and ordinary events of each day? Do you seek to enjoy communion with your God by coming into His presence at the end of the day, to be spiritually renewed and retuned? Do you desire to get His strength, joy, and peace into your hearts, so that the music of your life may be made sweet again? It would be good for us to continually pray that our lives may always be in harmony with the will of the Lord, so that there may never be any discordant notes between Him and us. Take a moment right now to ask for His Divine grace to cause us to submit our whole lives to Him, so that He may bring us into tune with His own Spirit, and teach us how to make heavenly music in this world!
Do you have any thoughts on today’s post? In what ways is the Lord calling you to keep your life in tune with His will? Share your reflections with us all in the comments section below!
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for the King’s glory,
photo by Breeze.Pics
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on our website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.