Let Us Keep to the Point
"My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed,
but that now as ever I may do honour to Christ
in my own person by fearless courage."
Philippians 1:20 (Moffat)
My Utmost for His Highest. "My eager desire and hope
being that I may never feel ashamed." We shall all feel
very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point
He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul says-"My determination
is to be my utmost for His Highest." To get there is a
question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender
of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that
point. An over-weaning consideration for ourselves is the
thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that
we are considering others. When we consider what it will cost
others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not
know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He
does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep
yourself before God for this one thing only-My Utmost for
His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely
for Him and for Him alone.
My Undeterredness for His Holiness. "Whether that means
life or death, no matter!" (See 1:21.) Paul is determined that
nothing shall deter him from doing exactly what God wants.
God's order has to work up to a crisis in our lives because we
will not heed the gentler way. He brings us to the place where
He asks us to be our utmost for Him, and we begin to debate;
then He produces a providential crisis where we have to
decide-for or against, and from that point the "Great
If the crisis has come to you on any line, surrender your
will to Him absolutely and irrevocably.
Will You Go Out Without Knowing?
"He went out, not knowing whither he went."
Have you been "out" in this way? If so, there is no logical
statement possible when anyone asks you what you are
doing. One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question-"What
do you expect to do?" You do not know what
you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God
knows what He is doing. Continually revise your attitude
towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting
in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you perpetual
wonder-you do not know what God is going to do
next. Each morning you wake it is to be a "going out," building
in confidence on God. "Take no thought for your life, .
nor yet for your body"-take no thought for the things for
which you did take thought before you "went out."
Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He
will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going
to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a
miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to
Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He
Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when
you are nearest to Him-what an impertinence worry is!
Let the attitude of the life be a continual "going out" in
dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable
charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have
to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of
experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is
nothing between yourself and God.
Clouds and Darkness
"Clouds and darkness are round about Him."
A man who has not been born of the Spirit of God will tell
you that the teachings of Jesus are simple. But when you
are baptized with the Holy Ghost, you find "clouds and darkness
are round about Him." When we come into close contact
with the teachings of Jesus Christ we have our first insight
into this aspect of things. The only possibility of understanding
the teaching of Jesus is by the light of the Spirit of God
on the inside. If we have never had the experience of taking
our commonplace religious shoes off our commonplace religious
feet, and getting rid of all the undue familiarity with
which we approach God, it is questionable whether we have
ever stood in His presence. The people who are flippant and
familiar are those who have never yet been introduced to Jesus
Christ. After the amazing delight and liberty of realizing what
Jesus Christ does, comes the impenetrable darkness of realizing
Who He is.
Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you," not the
words I have spoken, "they are spirit, and they are life."
The Bible has been so many words to us-clouds and
darkness-then all of a sudden the words become spirit
and life because Jesus re-speaks them to us in a particular
condition. That is the way God speaks to us, not by visions
and dreams, but by words. When a man gets to God it is
by the most simple way of words.
Why Cannot I Follow Thee Now?
"Peter said unto Him, Lord,
why cannot I follow Thee now?"
There are times when you cannot understand why you
cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the
blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank
space may come in order to teach you what sanctification
means, or it may come after sanctification to teach you what
service means. Never run before God's guidance. If there is
the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there
In the beginning you may see clearly what God's will
is-the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a
business relationship, something you feel distinctly before
God is His will for you to do, never do it on the impulse
of that feeling. If you do, you will end in making difficulties
ties that will take years of time to put right. Wait for God's
time to bring it round and He will do it without any heartbreak
or disappointment. When it is a question of the
providential will of God, wait for God to move.
Peter did not wait on God; he forecast in his mind
where the test would come, and the test came where he did
not expect it. "I will lay down my life for Thy sake." Peter's
declaration was honest but ignorant. "Jesus answered
him . The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me
thrice." This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter
than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus
because he did not know himself, of what he was capable.
Natural devotion may be all very well to attract us to Jesus,
to make us feel His fascination, but it will never make us
disciples. Natural devotion will always deny Jesus somewhere
The Afterwards of the Life of Power
"Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now; but
thou shalt follow Me afterwards."
And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow
Me." Three years before, Jesus had said, "Follow Me,"
and Peter had followed easily, the fascination of Jesus was
upon him, he did not need the Holy Spirit to help him to do
it. Then he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and his
heart broke. Then he received the Holy Spirit, and now Jesus
says again, "Follow Me." There is no figure in front now saving
the Lord Jesus Christ. The first "Follow Me" had nothing
mystical in it, it was an external following; now it is a following
in internal martyrdom (cf. John 21:18).
Between these times Peter had denied Jesus with oaths
and curses, he had come to the end of himself and all his
self-sufficiency, there was not one strand of himself he
would ever rely upon again, and in his destitution he was
in a fit condition to receive an impartation from the risen
Lord. "He breathed on them, and saith unto them,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost." No matter what changes God
has wrought in you, never rely upon them, build only on
a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives.
All our vows and resolutions end in denial because we
have no power to carry them out. When we have come to
the end of ourselves, not in imagination but really, we are
able to receive the Holy Spirit. "Receive ye the Holy
Ghost"-the idea is that of invasion. There is only on
lodestar in the life now, the Lord Jesus Christ.
"And [he] pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west and
Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar."
Worship is giving God the best that He has given you.
Be careful what you do with the best you have.
Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him
as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the
blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you
hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as
the manna did when it was hoarded. God will never let you
hold a spiritual thing for yourself, it has to be given back to
Him that He may make it a blessing to others.
Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is
the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent
between the two. The measure of the worth of our public
activity for God is the private profound communion we
have with Him. Rush is wrong every time, there is always
plenty of time to worship God. Quiet days with God may
be a snare. We have to pitch our tents where we shall
always have quiet times with God, however noisy our
times with the world may be. There are not three stages in
spiritual life-worship, waiting and work. Some of us go
in jumps like spiritual flogs, we jump from worship to
waiting, and from waiting to work. God's idea is that the
three should go together. They were always together in the
life of Our Lord. He was unhasting and unresting. It is a
discipline, we cannot get into it all at once.
Intimate with Jesus
"Have I been so long with you, and yet hast
thou not known Me?"
These words are not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with
surprise; Jesus is leading Philip on. The last One with
whom we get intimate is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples
knew Jesus as the One Who gave them power to conquer
demons and to bring about a revival (see Luke 10:18-20). It
was a wonderful intimacy; but there was a much closer intimacy
to come-"I have called you friends." Friendship is rare
on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit.
The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this
closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings
and know His Word, but do we know Him?
Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away"-in
that relationship, so that He might lead them on. It is a joy
to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately
with Him. Fruit bearing is always mentioned as
the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ
When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never
lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the
time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate
with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only
the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way,
because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by
Jesus. The only impression left by such a life is that of the
strong calm sanity that Our Lord gives to those who are
intimate with Him.
Does My Sacrifice Live?
"And Abraham built an altar . and bound Isaac his son."
This incident is a picture of the blunder we make in
thinking that the final thing God wants of us is the sacrifice
of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death
which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives.
Not-I am willing to go to death with Thee, but-I am willing
to be identified with Thy death so that I may sacrifice my
life to God. We seem to think that God wants us to give up
things! God purified Abraham from this blunder, and the
same discipline goes on in our lives. God nowhere tells us to
give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to
give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having-viz.,
life with Himself. It is a question of loosening the bands
that hinder the life, and immediately those bands are loosened
by identification with the death of Jesus, we enter into a
relationship with God whereby we can sacrifice our lives to
It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death.
He wants you to be a "living sacrifice," to let Him have all
your powers that have been saved and sanctified through
Jesus. This is the thing that is acceptable to God.
"And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and
body be preserved blameless."
1 Thessalonians 5:23
Your whole spirit" The great mystical work of the
Holy Spirit is in the dim regions of our personality which
we cannot get at. Read the 139th Psalm; the Psalmist implies,
"Thou art the God of the early mornings, the God of the late
at nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the
sea; but, my God, my soul has further horizons than the early
mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher
peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea
in nature-Thou who art the God of all these, be my God. I
cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives
I cannot trace, dreams I cannot get at-my God, search me
Do we believe that God can garrison the imagination
far beyond where we can go? "The blood of Jesus Christ
cleanseth us from all sin"-if that means in conscious experience
only, may God have mercy on us. The man who has
been made obtuse by sin will say he is not conscious of sin.
Cleansing from sin is to the very heights and depths of our
spirit if we will keep in the light as God is in the light, and
the very Spirit that fed the life of Jesus Christ will feed the
life of our spirits. It is only when we are garrisoned by God
with the stupendous sanctity of the Holy Spirit, that spirit,
soul and body are preserved in unspotted integrity;
undeserving of censure in God's sight, until Jesus comes,
We do not allow our minds to dwell as they should on
these great massive truths of God.
The Opened Sight
"To open their eyes . that they may receive"