In Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest" today I heard God speaking directly to me. It always amazes me that although I've read through this devotional almost every day all year for at least the last five years, how it always suprises me what comes off the page. I very rarely read a day and go - oh yeah, I read that last year...it always seems new. Here's a little bit of what I read this morning...
"Once God has begun the process of sanctification in your life, watch and see how God causes your confidence in your own natural virtues and power to wither away. He will continue until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through this drying-up experience!"
I am very much in this drying up experience, but wouldn't have thought of it exactly in this way. I knew that God was working in my to decrease my dependence on myself and increase my dependence on Him, but love the way that Chambers puts it here. The idea that he dries me up, or causes my confidence to "wither away" is an interesting picture. It doesn't really sound like a good thing. But read through what Paul writes in Philippians 3:1-14:
"Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Paul is talking about having confidence in our own virtue (the very same thing that Oswald Chambers is talking about). Read verses 4-6 again, he says he is a Hebrew of Hebrews, faultless by the standards of the Jewish laws, he is everything a good Jew should be. But he considers it all a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. That's it. The most important thing to Paul was not doing what he was supposed to do, or being who he was supposed to be - but knowing Jesus Christ. That's it. Nothing is more important or fulfilling than that one thing.
I feel that often we get caught up asking ourselves WHAT God wants us to DO. Or WHERE God wants us to BE. And those are good things. It's important to seek God's will for our lives and our work. BUT, if we are missing out on simply seeking HIM, then we've missed the entire point. We need to be more concerned with KNOWING CHRIST and becoming more like Him, than we are knowing God's will for our lives. You want to know God's will for your life? Here it is. Are you ready? -
TO KNOW HIS SON AND TO BECOME MORE AND MORE LIKE HIM!
That's it. Everything else should be towards that aim. Otherwise it is just not worth it at all.
That's what I'm learning. What about you?