External Transcript

There is hardly any subject more interesting than recognizing the way the Lord leads on a soul. Edifying is His great service. Love edifies, and this is real growth. When the work is real, it is ever with the consciousness that He is making more room for Himself in my heart. Sometimes I know what the idol or prepossession which He supplants is, and sometimes I do not. I only know that I have lost interest in things in which I had interest, though I had not felt when they were superseded.

Like the Queen of Sheba, new sights—His things—have come to engage me so fully that natural things were displaced without my feeling any loss. This is the happier way. But often I am sensible that some taste or gratification which has power over me must not be resumed, being incompatible with the pleasures at His right hand. This is real spiritual progress; the dark part is discovered.

There is often darkness lurking in a distant corner, when the light is not strong enough to displace it all; and it is blessed progress when the darkness has been displaced. And though at times it is displaced without our feeling the displacement, yet afterwards, the very sense of being perfectly happy without the “wine,” whatever it was, makes one quick to see, that it is mere wine, which seeks to regain its power over me; and I am able not only to see it as that which is not spiritual, but as that without which I can be perfectly content, because of what I have found in the Lord Jesus above.

Nay, I am afraid of it, lest it should divert me from what I know is the best, or weaken my enjoyment of it. It is beautiful when the light so reigns within that the dark part is overcome, and then light like a gilding surrounds me externally. The whole aspect is affected by it; the body in luminous, so to speak. The external becomes the transcript of the effectual work within. There is no affection about it; that is, there is no self-occupation with how I should do this or that, but one is like a leafless tree in early spring, coming into leaf all round. There is a beautiful conformity on every side in dress, manner and everything.

I may arrest or provoke a person by doctrine, but I silence him “by patient continuance in well doing” (Rom 2:7). Doctrine is like the leaves of a tree, they tell what the tree is. Everyone knows the name of a tree by its leaf; but the value of a tree is known by its fruit—the natural activity of life. There is seldom much, if any fruit, where there are too many leaves. The strength is spent in the effort for outward testimony; and on the other hand if there are not leaves enough, the fruit will be indifferent.

There must be leaves. They are the public avowed expression of the doctrine which is to govern my life; but this being stated, I devote my attention now, not to expression of a creed, but to the way the doctrine I have received as the truth of God influences and controls me. Even though those around me may not approve of my personal devotedness to the Lord Jesus, yet it must command their respect and attention, for in proportion as it controls me, the house is filled with its essence.

- J B Stoney

Excerpt from Miles J Stanford devotional for Nov. 3:

The source of our Christian life is a Person, and the growth of that life in us is a gradual process—comparable to a grain of wheat, or a branch in the vine.

“A person whose ancestors for three or four generations have all been Christians, may inherit their virtues; but although affecting his life for good, they do not count before God as righteousness, for they are not the fruit of the directly imparted divine life. A believer may thus inherit patience, and although he may be but a babe in Christ, he is seen to be more stable than a more advanced believer, because whatever goes wrong he stands unruffled.

“To empty him, the Father puts him in circumstances where his natural ‘patience’ fails. After repeated failures of his natural virtue of patience, he realizes that it is not enough to meet all trials, and carry him triumphantly through them all. Then he turns to the Father to give him His own unfailing patience.” -E.R.

“Spiritual growth is from stage to stage. There are great days, days of decisive battles, days of crisis in spiritual history, days of triumph in Christian service, days of the right hand of the Father upon us. But there are also idle days, days of apparent uselessness, when even prayer and service seem a burden. Are we, in any sense, renewed in these days? Yes, for any experience which makes us more aware of our need of the Father must contribute to spiritual progress, unless we deny the Lord who bought us.” -W.G.S.