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A Word in Season
Our Will or His
"They feared the Lord, and served their own gods..." II Kings 17:33
Those who seek for happiness in religion rather than for usefulness "serve their own gods." Their motive is selfish. They want chiefly to enjoy religion. They desire happy frames of minds and pleasurable emotions; and they will go only to such meetings, and sit only under such preaching as will make them happy, never asking the question of whether that is the way to do the most good.
Now, suppose your servant would do so, and be constantly contriving how to enjoy himself. What if he was most happy in the drawing room, stretched out on the divan, with a cushion under his head and another servant to fan him? What if he would refuse to do the work which you set him about, and which your interest urgently requires? Instead of manifesting a desire to work for you, and solicitude for your interest, and a willingness to lay himself out with all his powers in your service, what if he wants only to be happy?
It is just so with those professed servants of Jehovah who want to do nothing but sit in their comfortable pew and hear "excellent sermons." Instead of seeking how to do good, they are only seeking to be happy. Their daily prayer is not like that of the converted Saul of Tarsus when he said, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" Instead it is, "Lord, tell me how I can be happy." Is that the spirit of Jesus Christ? No, for he said, "I delight to do Thy will, O God." — Charles G. Finney
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Our Sufficiency is of God
"...but our sufficiency is of God." II Corinthians 3:5
The more we ponder our Lord's words about love, and the burning words the Spirit gave to His followers to write, the more acutely do we feel our deadly lack. The search light of the Spirit discovers us to ourselves, and such a discovery leaves us appalled. How can even He who is God of all patience have patience with us?
Like Job, we abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes; but the light is not turned upon us to rob us of our hope. There is a lifting up. If only we desire to be purged from Self with its entangling nets, its subtleties, its disguises (falsehoods truly), its facile showing of brass for gold, as the Tamil says. If hating lack of love from the ground of the heart we cry to be delivered, then our God will be to us a God of deliverance.
The way of love is never an easy way. If our hearts are set on walking in that way, we must be prepared to suffer. It was the way the Master went. Should not the servant tread it still? It is possible that we may be enclosed in circumstances which drain natural love till we feel dry as grass on an Indian hillside under a burning sun. To look to ourselves leads to despair. Thank God, the Blood cleanseth.
If thou be foul, I shall make thee clean,
If thou be sick, I shall thee heal.
Foundest thou ever love so real? — Amy Carmichael
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