“Lily Among The Thorns”

It is the way we act in the old things, things in which we were once at home, or rather the way in which they affect us, that discloses the nature and amount of change in us, and the growth to maintain that newness of life. To be really and fully a new person in old circumstances and ruled by a new strength is the acme and joy of the new life. It is the Spirit’s work, the walk for Christ here.

To suit our company is what the world calls manners. But nobody or nothing is so really esteemed or admired as that which preserves its identity inviolably; and the more unclean or unique its type, the more it commands respectful attention, as it braves every influence, and maintains its peculiarity.

An exotic is admired and valued, and the more truly it grows here like what it would be in the tropics, or elsewhere, the more it attracts attention and is commended. The beauty and peculiarity of the plant is acknowledged, whereas if the lily of the Nile would, in order to be at home with the lilies here, become a common iris or flag (as they are called in the country) who would be attracted by it, or who would commend it?

There is, really nothing which commands so much reverence as moral superiority. Man in his conscience knows that he has lost God, and hence has lost the superiority once belonging to him, for we were made for God. Now through grace we are new—“renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.”

As we maintain this image, not in figure or imitation but by the new man—renewed in knowledge, that is, intelligence of our new being—so are we exotics of the most wonderful order, and whether it be owned or not, we command the profoundest respect.

Dives (not an actual name but is often expressive of the rich man—NC) does not own or acknowledge Lazarus but he observed him, and in his heart took note of him and testified of his worth and excellence in the day of visitation. I believe it is the exquisite molding and conformation of Christ, as it is presented in its true temperament and ways, which arrests souls, and wins them too, far more than the concession or the connivance to the inferior man which one is by nature, as are all men.

To be a lily among the flags is really the way to arrest and convince the flag of the beauty and greatness of the true lily, not by the lily dwindling down into a flag. With a saint his joy and his strength are consolidated as he maintains his exotic character. If he cannot, he had better avoid all association with what will only lower him to the level of nature, and strip him of the unique beauty which belongs to the new creation in Christ Jesus.

“For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2Cor 4:11).

- J B Stoney