When Jesus asked His disciples,
“...who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “You
are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responded with
these unforgettable words, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for
flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is
in heaven." (Matthew 16:13-17)
In other words, man alone is
incapable of knowing God and understanding His nature.
In light of our own human blindness,
it would be wise to begin with this heartfelt prayer by Paul. I pray
it for all of you who read this page -- including myself, for their
is no limit to what God can show us about Himself. You might want to
pray it for yourself. You might even want to kneel -- not as a duty
or legal requirement, but because it could be a way for your to show
your recognition of His wonder and greatness.
"I bow my knees to the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family
in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you,
saccording to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened
with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ
may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted
and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the
saints ywhat is the width and length and depth and height— to
know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be
filled with all the fullness of God." Eph 3:14-20
Faith is not a pathetic sentiment,
but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy
love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot understand what He is
doing, but you know Him. [Get to
know Him in our weakness and pain! Remove those, and we won't trust Him
in the big things. We won't see Him because our eyes and hearts are
Shipwreck occurs where there is not that mental poise which comes
from being established on the eternal truth that God is holy love.
Faith is the heroic effort of your life, you fling yourself in reckless
confidence on God. [It's not what we do or where we see the need;
it's where God sends us and where we focus our faith and confidence. If
on ourselves, our efforts have no eternal worth]
God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to
save us, now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in
Him. There are spots where that faith has not worked in us as yet,
places untouched by the life of God. There were none of those spots in
Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. “This is life
eternal, that they might know Thee.” The real
meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face
without wavering. ... God is disciplining us to get us into
this central place of power." May 8
The purity of God's love
"And when He is come, He will convict the
world of sin..." John 16:8 (R.V.).
Very few of us know anything about conviction of sin; we know the
experience of being disturbed because of having done wrong things; but conviction of sin by the Holy Ghost blots out every relationship on
earth and leaves one relationship only—“Against Thee, Thee only,
have I sinned.” When a man is convicted of sin in this way, he knows
with every power of his conscience that God dare not forgive him; if
God did forgive him, the man would have a stronger sense of justice than
God. God does forgive, but it cost the rending of His heart in
the death of Christ to enable Him to do so. The great miracle of
the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of
Jesus Christ alone that enables the Divine
nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so.
It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love.
When we have been convicted of sin we will never say this again. The
love of God means Calvary, and nothing less; the love of God is
spelt on the Cross and nowhere else. The only ground on which God can
forgive me is through the Cross of my Lord. There, His conscience is
Forgiveness means not merely that I am saved from
hell and made right for heaven (no man would accept forgiveness on such
a level); forgiveness means that I am forgiven into a recreated
relationship, into identification with God in Christ. The miracle of
Redemption is that God turns me, the unholy one, into the standard of
Himself, the Holy One, by putting into me a new disposition, the
disposition of Jesus Christ." November 19
For the time is come that judgment must
begin at the house of God. 1 Peter 4:17.
The Christian worker must never forget that salvation is God’s thought,
not man’s; therefore it is an unfathomable abyss. Salvation is the
great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is only a
gateway by which salvation comes into our conscious life. Never
preach the experience; preach the great thought of God behind. When we
preach we are not proclaiming how man can be saved from hell and be made
moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.
In the teachings of Jesus Christ
the element of judgment is always brought out, it is the sign of God’s
love. Never sympathize with a soul who finds it difficult to get
to God; God is not to blame. It is not for us to find out the reason
why it is difficult, but so to present the truth of God that the
Spirit of God will show what is wrong. The great sterling test in
preaching is that it brings everyone to judgment. The Spirit of God
locates each one to himself.
If Jesus ever gave us a command He could not
enable us to fulfil, He would be a liar; and if we make our inability a
barrier to obedience, it means we are telling God there is something He
has not taken into account. Every element of self-reliance must be
slain by the power of God. Complete weakness and dependence will
always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to
manifest His power." May 5
The sovereignty of God's love
Nay, in all these things, we are more
than conquerors through Him that loved us. Romans 8:37.
"...nothing can wedge in between the love of God and the saint.
These things can and do come in between the devotional exercises of the
soul and God and separate individual life from God; but none of them is
able to wedge in between the love of God and the soul of the saint. The
bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, fathomless marvel of
the love of God exhibited on the Cross of Calvary, a love we never can
and never shall merit. Paul says this is the reason we are more than
conquerors in all these things, super-victors, with a joy we would not
have but for the very things which look as if they are going to
The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider
the super joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own
circumstances, these very things—tribulation, distress, persecution,
produce in us the super joy; they are not things to fight. We are more
than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them,
but in the midst of them. The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in
spite of tribulation, but because of it. “I am exceeding joyful in all
our tribulation,” says Paul.
Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of
God that nothing can alter. The experiences of life, terrible or
monotonous, are impotent to touch the love of God, which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord." March 7
God's love in us
will very gladly spend and be spent for you. 2 Cor. 12:15.
When the Spirit of God has
shed abroad the love of God in our hearts,
we begin deliberately to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s
interests in other people, and Jesus Christ
is interested in every kind of man there is. We have no right
in Christian work to be guided by our affinities; this is one of the
biggest tests of our relationship to Jesus Christ. The delight of
sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, not fling it
away, but deliberately lay my life out for Him and
His interests in other people, not for a cause.
"Paul spent himself for one purpose only—that he might win men to
Jesus Christ. Paul attracted to Jesus all the time, never to
himself. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means
save some.” When a man says he must develop a holy life alone with
God, he is of no more use to his fellow men: he puts himself on a
pedestal, away from the common run of men. Paul became a sacramental
personality; wherever he went, Jesus Christ helped Himself to his life.
Many of us are after our own ends, and Jesus Christ cannot help Himself
to our lives. If we are abandoned to Jesus, we have no ends of our
own to serve.... February 24
I have finished the work which Thou
gavest Me to do. John 17:4.
The death of Jesus Christ is the performance in history of the very mind
of God. There is no room for looking on Jesus Christ as a martyr; His
death was not something that happened to Him which might have been
prevented. His death was the very reason why He came.
Never build your
preaching of forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and He will
forgive us because He loves us. It is untrue to Jesus
Christ’s revelation of God; it makes the Cross unnecessary, and
the Redemption “much ado about nothing.” If God does forgive sin, it is
because of the death of Christ. God could forgive men in no other
way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted to be Saviour
because of His death. “We see Jesus . . . because of the suffering of
death, crowned with glory and honour.” The greatest note of triumph that
ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the
Cross of Christ—“It is finished.”
That is the last word in the Redemption of man.
that belittles or obliterates the holiness of God by a false view of the
love of God, is untrue to the revelation of God given by
Jesus Christ. Never allow the thought that Jesus Christ stands
with us against God out of pity and compassion; that He became a curse
for us out of sympathy with us. Jesus Christ became a curse for us
by the Divine decree. Our portion of realizing the terrific meaning
of the curse is conviction of sin, the gift of shame and
penitence is given us; this is the great mercy of God.
Jesus Christ hates the wrong in man, and
Calvary is the estimate of His hatred." November 21
In whom we have . . . the forgiveness of
sins. Eph. 1:7.
Beware of the pleasant view of the Fatherhood
of God—God is so kind and loving [or I am so wonderful]
that of course He will forgive us. That sentiment has no place
whatever in the New Testament. The only ground on which God can
forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ; to put
forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only
ground on which God can forgive sin and reinstate us in His favour is
through the Cross of Christ, and in no other way. Forgiveness,
which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony of Calvary. It is
possible to take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and
our sanctification with the simplicity of faith, and to forget at what
enormous cost to God it was all made ours.
Forgiveness is the divine miracle
of grace; it cost God the Cross of Jesus Christ before He could
forgive sin and remain a holy God. Never accept a view of the Fatherhood
of God if it blots out the Atonement. The revelation of God is that He
cannot forgive; He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way
we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God by the Atonement.
God’s forgiveness is only natural in the super-natural domain.
Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of
sanctification is slight. Sanctification is simply the marvellous
expression of the forgiveness of sins in a human life, but the thing
that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God
has forgiven sin. Paul never got away from this. When once you realize
all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vice,
constrained by the love of God." November 20
The divine rule of life
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Our Lord’s exhortation in these verses is to be generous in our
behaviour to all men. In the spiritual life beware of walking according
to natural affinities. Everyone has natural affinities; some people we
like and others we do not like. We must never let those likes and
dislikes rule in our Christian life. “If we walk in the light as God is
in the light,” God will give us communion with people for whom we have
no natural affinity.
The Example Our Lord gives us is not that of a good man, or even of a
good Christian, but of God Himself. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as
your Father in heaven is perfect”—show to the other man what God has
shown to you; and God will give us ample opportunities in actual life to
prove whether we are perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. To be a
disciple means that we deliberately identify ourselves with God’s
interests in other people. “That ye love one another; as I have loved
you,. . .”
The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but
Godlikeness: If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will
exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human
characteristics. God’s life in us express itself as God’s life, not as
human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian is that the
supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God, and the
experience of this works out in the practical details of life, not in
times of communion with God. When we come in contact with things that
create a buzz, we find to our amazement that we have power to keep
wonderfully poised in the centre of it all." September 20
The fruitfulness of friendship
I have called you friends. John 15:15.
We never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we abandon in every
particular. Self-surrender is the most difficult thing—‘I will if. . .!’
‘Oh well, I suppose I must devote my life to God.’ There is none of the
joy of self-sacrifice in that.
As soon as we do abandon, the Holy Ghost gives us an intimation of the
joy of Jesus. The final aim of self-sacrifice is laying down our lives
for our Friend. When the Holy Ghost comes in, the great desire is to lay
down the life for Jesus; the thought of sacrifice never touches us
because sacrifice is the love passion of the Holy Ghost.
Our Lord is our example in the life of self-sacrifice—“I delight to do
Thy will, O My God.” He went on with His sacrifice with exuberant joy.
Have I ever yielded in absolute submission to Jesus Christ? If Jesus
Christ is not the lodestar, there is no benefit in the sacrifice; but
when the sacrifice is made with the eyes on Him, slowly and surely the
moulding influence begins to tell.
Beware of letting natural affinities hinder your walk in love. One of
the most cruel ways of killing natural love is by disdain built on
natural affinities. The affinity of the saint is the Lord Jesus. Love
for God is not sentimental; to love as God loves is the most practical
thing for the saint.
“I have called you friends.” It is a friendship based on the new life
created in us, which has no affinity with our old life, but only with
the life of God life. It is unutterably humble, unsulliedly pure, and
absolutely devoted to God." August 25
“Out of the wreck I rise”
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 8:35.
God does not keep a man immune from trouble; He says—“I will be with him
in trouble.” It does not matter what actual troubles in the most extreme
form get hold of a man’s life, not one of them can separate him from his
relationship to God. We are “more than conquerors in all these things.”
Paul is not talking of imaginary things, but of things that are
desperately actual; and he says we are super-victors in the midst of
them, not by our ingenuity, or by our courage, or by anything other than
the fact that not one of them affects our relationship to God in Jesus
Christ. Rightly or wrongly, we are where we are, exactly in the
condition we are in. I am sorry for the Christian who has not something
in his circumstances he wishes was not there.
“Shall tribulation . . .?” Tribulation is never a noble thing; but let
tribulation be what it may—exhausting, galling, fatiguing, it is not
able to separate us from the love of God. Never let cares or
tribulations separate you from the fact that God loves you.
“Shall anguish . . .?”—can God’s love hold when everything says that His
love is a lie, and that there is no such thing as justice?
“Shall famine . . .?”—can we not only believe in the love of God but be
more than conquerors, even while we are being starved?
Either Jesus Christ is a deceiver and Paul is deluded, or some
extraordinary thing happens to a man who holds on to the love of God
when the odds are all against God’s character. Logic is silenced in the
face of every one of these things. Only one thing can account for it—the
love of God in Christ Jesus. “Out of the wreck I rise” every time." May
The overmastering majesty of personal
For the love of Christ constraineth us. 2 Cor. 5:14.
Paul says he is overruled, overmastered, held as in a vice, by the love
of Christ. Very few of us know what it means to be held in a grip by the
love of God; we are held by the constraint of our experience only. The
one thing that held Paul, until there was nothing else on his horizon,
was the love of God. “The love of Christ constraineth us”—when you hear
that note in a man or woman, you can never mistake it. You know that the
Spirit of God is getting unhindered way in that life.
When we are born again of the Spirit of God, the note of testimony is on
what God has done for us, and rightly so. But the baptism of the Holy
Ghost obliterates that for ever, and we begin to realize what Jesus
meant when He said—“Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” Not witnesses to
what Jesus can do—that is an elementary witness— but “witnesses unto
Me.” We will take everything that happens as happening to Him, whether
it be praise or blame, persecution or commendation. No one can stand
like that for Jesus Christ who is not constrained by the majesty of His
personal power. It is the only thing that matters, and the strange thing
is that it is the last thing realized by the Christian worker. Paul says
he is gripped by the love of Christ; that is why he acts as he does. Men
may call him mad or sober, but he does not care; there is only one thing
he is living for, and that is to persuade men of the judgment seat of
God, and of the love of Christ. This abandon to the love of Christ is
the one thing that bears fruit in the life, and it will always leave the
impression of the holiness and of the power of God, never of our
personal holiness." February 4
The discipline of spiritual tenacity
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10.
Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the
absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire.
Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being
too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing
to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a
disciple has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will
be worsted, that the things He stood for—love and justice and
forgiveness and kindness among men—will not win out in the end; the
things He stands for look like will-o’-the-wisps. Then comes the call to
spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work
deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted.
If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are
being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for
or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in
life is the strain of waiting for God. “Because thou hast kept the word
of My patience.” February 22
The abandonment of God
God so loved the world that He gave. . . John 3:16.
Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of
personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self
entirely into union with Himself. My experimental knowledge of salvation
will be along the line of deliverance from sin and of personal holiness;
but salvation means that the Spirit of God has brought me into touch
with God’s personality, and I am thrilled with something infinitely
greater than myself; I am caught up into the abandonment of God.
To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification, is to
get into a side-eddy. We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ. The fact
that He saves from sin and makes us holy is part of the effect of the
wonderful abandonment of God.
Abandonment never produces the consciousness of its own effort, because
the whole life is taken up with the One to Whom we abandon. Beware of
talking about abandonment if you know nothing about it, and you will
never know anything about it until you have realized what John 3:16
means, that God gave Himself absolutely. In our abandonment we give
ourselves over to God just as God gave Himself for us, without any
calculation. The consequence of abandonment never enters into our
outlook because our life is taken up with Him." March 13
Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us. . .
sanctification. 1 Cor. 1:30.
The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfections of
Jesus Christ are imparted to me, not gradually, but instantly when by
faith I enter into the realization that Jesus Christ is made unto me
sanctification. Sanctification does not mean anything less than the
holiness of Jesus being made mine manifestly.
The one marvellous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus,
but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal
flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you.” It is His wonderful life that
is imparted to me in sanctification, and imparted by faith as a
sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make
sanctification as real in me as it is in His word?
Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus
Christ. It is His patience, His love, His holiness, His faith, His
purity, His godliness, that is manifested in and through every
sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to
be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in
Him, and He manifests it in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an
imitation. Imitation is on a different line. In Jesus Christ is the
perfection of everything, and the mystery of sanctification is that all
the perfections of Jesus are at my disposal, and slowly and surely I
begin to live a life of ineffable order and sanity and holiness “Kept by
the power of God.” July 23
And now, saith the Lord, that formed me
from the womb to be His servant. Isaiah 49:5.
The first thing that happens after we have realized our election to God
in Christ Jesus is the destruction of our prejudices and our parochial
notions and our patriotisms; we are turned into servants of God’s own
purpose. The whole human race was created to glorify God and enjoy Him
for ever. Sin has switched the human race on to another tack, but it has
not altered God’s purpose in the tiniest degree; and when we are born
again we are brought into the realization of God’s great purpose for the
human race, viz., I am created for God, He made me. This realization of
the election of God is the most joyful realization on earth, and we have
to learn to rely on the tremendous creative purpose of God. The first
thing God will do with us is to “force thro’ the channels of a single
heart” the interests of the whole world. The love of God, the very
nature of God, is introduced into us, and the nature of Almighty God is
focused in John 3:16—“God so loved the world. . .”
We have to maintain our soul open to the fact of God’s creative purpose,
and not muddle it with our own intentions. If we do, God will have to
crush our intentions on one side however much it may hurt. The purpose
for which the missionary is created is that he may be God’s servant, one
in whom God is glorified. When once we realize that through the
salvation of Jesus Christ we are made perfectly fit for God, we shall
understand why Jesus Christ is so ruthless in His demands. He demands
absolute rectitude from His servants, because He has put into them the
very nature of God.
Beware lest you forget God’s purpose for your life." September 21
For His name’s sake they went forth. 3
Our Lord has told us how love to Him is to manifest itself. “Lovest thou
Me?” “Feed My sheep”—identify yourself with My interests in other
people, not, identify Me with your interests in other people. 1
Corinthians 13:4-8 gives the character of this love, it is the love of
God expressing itself. The test of my love for Jesus is the practical
one, all the rest is sentimental jargon.
Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of Redemption wrought
in me by the Holy Ghost Who sheds abroad the love of God in my heart,
and that love works efficaciously through me in contact with everyone I
meet. I remain loyal to His name although every commonsense fact gives
the lie to Him, and declares that He has no more power than a morning
The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no
one saving Our Lord Himself, not being detached from things externally.
Our Lord was amazingly in and out among ordinary things; His detachment
was on the inside towards God. External detachment is often an
indication of a secret vital attachment to the things we keep away from
externally. The loyalty of a missionary is to keep his soul
concentratedly open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and
women Our Lord sends out on His enterprises are the ordinary human
stuff, plus dominating devotion to Himself wrought by the Holy Ghost."
If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself. Matthew 16: 24.
Individuality is the husk of the personal life. Individuality is all
elbows, it separates and isolates. It is the characteristic of the child
and rightly so; but if we mistake individuality for the personal life,
we shall remain isolated. The shell of individuality is God’s created
natural covering for the protection of the personal life; but
individuality must go in order that the personal life may come out and
be brought into fellowship with God. Individuality counterfeits
personality as lust counterfeits love. God designed human nature for
Himself; individuality debases human nature for itself.
The characteristics of individuality are independence and
selfassertiveness. It is the continual assertion of individuality that
hinders our spiritual life more than anything else. If you say—‘I cannot
believe,’ it is because individuality never can believe. Personality
cannot help believing. Watch yourself when the Spirit of God is at work.
He pushes you to the margins of your individuality, and you have either
to say—‘I shan’t,’ or to surrender, to break the husk of individuality
and let the personal life emerge. The Holy Spirit narrows it down every
time to one thing (cf. Matthew 5:23-24). The thing in you that will not
be reconciled to your brother is your individuality. God wants to bring
you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing to give up your
right to yourself, He cannot. “Let him deny himself”—deny his
independent right to himself, then the real life has a chance to grow."
The way of Abraham in faith
He went out, not knowing whither he went. Hebrews 11:8.
In the Old Testament, personal relationship with God showed itself in
separation, and this is symbolized in the life of Abraham by his
separation from his country and from his kith and kin. To-day the
separation is more of a mental and moral separation from the way that
those who are dearest to us look at things, that is, if they have not a
personal relationship with God. Jesus Christ emphasized this (see Luke
Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One
Who is leading. It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason, but
a life of knowing Who makes us ‘go’. The root of faith is the knowledge
of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure
to lead us to success.
The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character. There
are many passing transfigurations of character; when we pray we feel the
blessing of God enwrapping us and for the time being we are changed,
then we get back to the ordinary days and ways and the glory vanishes.
The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of
walking and not fainting. It is not a question of sanctification; but of
something infinitely further on than sanctification, of faith that has
been tried and proved and has stood the test. Abraham is not a type of
sanctification, but a type of the life of faith, a tried faith built on
a real God. “Abraham believed God.” March 19
The recognized ban of relationship
We are made as the filth of the world. 1 Cor. 4:9-13.
These words are not an exaggeration. The reason they are not true of us
who call ourselves ministers of the gospel is not that Paul forgot the
exact truth in using them, but that we have too many discreet affinities
to allow ourselves to be made refuse. “Filling up that which is behind
of the afflictions of Christ” is not an evidence of sanctification, but
of being “separated unto the gospel.”
“Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,”
says Peter. If we do think it strange concerning the things we meet
with, it is because we are craven-hearted. We have discreet affinities
that keep us out of the mire—‘I won’t stoop; I won’t bend.’ You do not
need to, you can be saved by the skin of your teeth if you like; you can
refuse to let God count you as one separated unto the gospel. Or you may
say—‘I do not care if I am treated as the offscouring of the earth as
long as the Gospel is proclaimed.’ A servant of Jesus Christ is one who
is willing to go to martyrdom for the reality of the gospel of God. When
a merely moral man or woman comes in contact with baseness and
immorality and treachery, the recoil is so desperately offensive to
human goodness that the heart shuts up in despair. The marvel of the
Redemptive Reality of God is that the worst and the vilest can never get
to the bottom of His love. Paul did not say that God separated him to
show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but “to reveal his son
in me.” February 3
Have you ever been carried away for Him?
She hath wrought a good work on Me. Mark 14:6.
If human love does not carry a man beyond himself, it is not love. If
love is always discreet, always wise, always sensible and calculating,
never carried beyond itself, it is not love at all. It may be affection,
it may be warmth of feeling, but it has not the true nature of love in
Have I ever been carried away to do something for God not because it was
my duty, nor because it was useful, nor because there was anything in it
at all beyond the fact that I love Him? Have I ever realized that I can
bring to God things which are of value to Him, or am I mooning round the
magnitude of His Redemption whilst there are any number of things I
might be doing? Not Divine, colossal things which could be recorded as
marvellous, but ordinary, simple human things which will give evidence
to God that I am abandoned to Him? Have I ever produced in the heart of
the Lord Jesus what Mary of Bethany produced?
There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give
Him the abandoned tokens of how genuinely we do love Him. Abandon to God
is of more value than personal holiness. Personal holiness focuses the
eye on our own whiteness; we are greatly concerned about the way we walk
and talk and look, fearful lest we offend Him. Perfect love casts out
all that when once we are abandoned to God. We have to get rid of this
notion—‘Am I of any use?’ and make up our minds that we are not, and we
may be near the truth. It is never a question of being of use, but of
being of value to God Himself. When we are abandoned to God, He works
through us all.the time." February 21
Add to your brotherliness . . . love. 2 Peter 1:7.
Love is indefinite to most of us, we do not know what we mean when we
talk about love. Love is the sovereign preference of one person for
another, and spiritually Jesus demands that that preference be for
Himself (cf. Luke 14:26). When the love of God is shed abroad in our
hearts by the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ is easily first; then we must
practise the working out of these things mentioned by Peter.
The first thing God does is to knock pretence and the pious pose right
out of me. The Holy Spirit reveals that God loved me not because I was
lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. ‘Now,’ He says to me,
‘show the same love to others’—“Love as I have loved you.” ‘I will bring
any number of people about you whom you cannot respect, and you must
exhibit My love to them as I have exhibited it to you.’ You won’t reach
it on tiptoe. Some of us have tried to, but we were soon tired.
“The Lord suffereth long . . . .” Let me look within and see; His
dealings with me. The knowledge that God has loved me to the uttermost,
to the end of all my sin and meanness and selfishness and wrong, will
send me forth into the world to love in the same way. God’s love to me
is inexhaustible, and I must love others from the bedrock of God’s love
to me. Growth in grace stops the moment I get huffed. I get huffed
because I have a peculiar person to live with. Just think how
disagreeable I have been to God! Am I prepared to be so identified with
the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness are being poured out all
the time? Neither natural love nor Divine love will remain unless it is
cultivated. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained by
discipline." May 11
Love suffereth long, and is kind . . . 1
Love is not premeditated, it is spontaneous, that is, it bursts up in
extraordinary ways. There is nothing of mathematical certainty in Paul’s
category of love. We cannot say—‘Now I am going to think no evil; I am
going to believe all things.’ The characteristic of love is spontaneity.
We do not settle statements of Jesus in front of us as a standard; but
when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His
standard without knowing it, and on looking back we are amazed at the
disinterestedness of a particular emotion, which is the evidence that
the spontaneity of real love was there. In everything to do with the
life of God in us, its nature is only discerned when it is past.
The springs of love are in God, not in us. It is absurd to look for the
love of God in our hearts naturally, it is only there when it has been
shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that
we do not love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute
spontaneity of our love, it comes naturally. In looking back we cannot
tell why we did certain things, we did them according to the spontaneous
nature of His love in us. The life of God manifests itself in this
spontaneous way because the springs of love are in the Holy Ghost.
(Romans 5:5.) April 30
The notion of divine control
How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to
them that ask Him? Matthew 7:11.
Jesus is laying down rules of conduct for those who have His Spirit. By
the simple argument of these verses He urges us to keep our minds filled
with the notion of God’s control behind everything, which means that the
disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to
ask and to seek.
Notion your mind with the idea that God is there. If once the mind is
notioned along that line, then when you are in difficulties it is as
easy as breathing to remember—Why, my Father knows all about it!. It is
not an effort, it comes naturally when perplexities press. Before, you
used to go to this person and that, but now the notion of the Divine
control is forming so powerfully in you that you go to God about it.
Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct for those who have His Spirit,
and it works on this principle—God is my Father, He loves me, I shall
never think of anything He will forget, why should I worry?
There are times, says Jesus, when God cannot lift the darkness from you,
but trust Him. God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He
will appear like an unnatural Father, but He is not; He will appear like
an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the notion of the mind of God
behind all things strong and growing. Nothing happens in any particular
unless God’s will is behind it, therefore you can rest in perfect
confidence in Him. Prayer is not only asking, but an attitude of mind
which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural.
“Ask, and it shall be given you.” July 16