“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:18-19
As we prepare to celebrate Easter please join me to study these thought provoking devotionals from Oswald Chambers called “My Utmost For His Highest”. It is my conviction that God will touch our hearts in a special way. He declares that He is doing a new thing. Let us lay hold of what He has for us.
THE CONCENTRATION OF SPIRITUAL ENERGY
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. – Galatians 6:14
If you want to know the energy of God (i.e., the resurrection life of Jesus) in your mortal flesh, you must brood on the tragedy of God. Cut yourself off from prying personal interest in your own spiritual symptoms and consider bare-spirited the tragedy of God, and instantly the energy of God will be in you. “Look unto Me,” pay attention to the objective Source and the subjective energy will be there. We lose power if we do not concentrate on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing etc., but we are not to preach any of these, we are to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s centre in your preaching, and though your crowd may apparently pay no attention, they can never be the same again. If I talk my own talk, it is of no more importance to you than your talk is to me; but if I talk the truth of God, you will meet it again so will I. We have to concentrate on the great point of spiritual energy – the Cross, to keep in contact with that centre where all the power lies, and the energy will be let loose. In holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings the concentration is apt to be put not on the Cross of Christ, but on the effects of the Cross.
The feebleness of the churches is being criticised today, and the criticism is justified. One reason for the feebleness is that there has not been this concentration of spiritual energy; we have not brooded enough on the tragedy of Calvary on the meaning of Redemption.
“AND EVERY VIRTUE WE POSSESS”
“All my flesh springs shall be in Thee.” Psalm 137:7 (P. B. V.)
Our Lord never patches up our natural virtues; He re-makes the whole man on the inside. “Put on the new man.” i.e., see that your natural human life puts on the garb that is in keeping with the new life. The life God plant in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ. Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power you have, until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life Jesus. Than God if you are going through a drying-up experience!
The sign that God is at work in us is that He corrupts confidence in the natural virtues, because they are not promises of what we are going to be, but remnants of what God created man to be. We will cling to the natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us into contact with the life of Jesus Christ, which can never be described in terms of the natural virtues. It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the grace never gave them, depending on what they have by the accident of heredity. God does not build up our natural virtues and transfigure them, because our natural virtues can never come anywhere near what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every bit of our bodily life into harmony with the new life, which God has put, in us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristics of the Lord Jesus. “And every virtue we possess is His alone.”
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His resurrection.” – Romans 6:5
Co-Resurrection: The proof that I have been through crucifixion with Jesus is that I have a decided likeness to Him. The incoming of the Spirit of Jesus into me readjusts my personal life to God. The resurrection of Jesus has given Him authority to impart the life of God to me, and my experimental life must be constructed on the basis of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus now, and it will show itself in holiness.
The idea all through the apostle Paul’s writings is that after the moral decision to be identified with Jesus in His death has been made, the resurrection life of Jesus invades every bit of my human nature. It takes omnipotence to live the life of the Son of God in mortal flesh. The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a Guest in a house. He invades everything. When once I decide that my “old man” (i.e., the heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, then the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything; my part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals. When I have made the moral decision about sin, it is easy to reckon actually that I am dead unto sin, because I find the life of Jesus there all the time. Just as there is only one stamp of humanity, so there is only one stamp of holiness, the holiness of Jesus, and it is His holiness that is gifted to me. God puts the holiness of his Son into me, and I belong to a new order spiritually.
DO YOU WALK IN WHITE?
Buried with Him…that…even so we also should walk in newness of life,” – Romans 6:4
No one enters into the experience of entire sanctification without going through a “white funeral” – the burial of the old life. If there has never been this crises of death, sanctification is nothing more than a vision. There must be a “white funeral,” a death that has only one resurrection – a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can upset such a life, it is one with God for one purpose, to be a witness to Him.
Have you come to your last days really? You have come to them often in sentiment, but you have come to them really? You cannot go your funeral in excitement, or die in excitement. Death means you stop being. Do you agree with God that you stop being the striving, earnest kind of Christian you have been? We skirt the cemetery and all the time refuse to go death. It is not striving to go death, it is dying – “baptized into His death.
Have you had your “white funeral,” or are you sacredly playing the fool with your soul? Is there a place in your life marked as the last day, a place to which the memory goes back with a chastened and extraordinary grateful remembrance – “Yes, it was then, at that ‘whit funeral,’ that I made an agreement with God.”
“This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” When you realise what the will of God is, you will enter into sanctification as naturally as can be. Are you willing to go through that “white funeral” now? Do you agree with Him that this is your last day on earth? The moment of agreement depends upon you.
“Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” Luke 24:26
Our Lord’s cross is the gateway into His life; His Resurrection means that He has power now to convey His life to me. When I am born from above, I receive from the Risen Lord His very life. Our Lord’s Resurrection destiny is to bring “many sons unto glory.” The fulfilling of His destiny give Him the right to make us sons and daughters of god. We are never in the relationship of god that the Son of God is in; but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When Our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life, to a life He did not live before He was incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before; and His Resurrection means for us that we are raised to His risen life, and not to our old life. One day we shall have a body like unto His glorious body, but we can know now the efficiency of His resurrection and walk of newness of life. “I would know Him in the Power of His Resurrection.
“As thou has given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou has given Him.” “Holy Spirit” is the experimental name for Eternal Life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the Deity in proceeding power Who applies the Atonement to our experience. Thank God it is glorious and majestically true that the Holy Ghost can work in us the very nature of Jesus if we will obey Him.
* All scripture texts are from the King James Version.
Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. – Proverbs 4:14-17
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