Inclination, Or Subjection?

An inclination for service to the Lord, however commendable, is no index of my fitness or ability for executing it. Our activities must be determined by our bodily ability, and not by inclination, and there is a great principle in this for everything. It is necessary to be subject to the Lord even when one is assured of having the very best desires, otherwise the desires would guide us and not the Lord. We should all agree that mere inclinations were no guide, but I think each of us would find it difficult to refuse the course that really approved desires as to service define for us (i.e. hard not to allow desire to be guidance—NC). We are not governed by them.

There must be entire dependence on the Lord even where the desire to serve Him is all right, and one is made to feel the weakness in oneself on purpose that there may be full dependence on Him. Thus Paul, with the best desire to use his abilities for the Lord on his return from Paradise, found out that there was a check on him in his own flesh, and that he could not make it cooperate with him in his new acquisitions. He learns this great lesson that the Lord can do His own work even through a human channel without the abilities of the vessel, and therefore while he is unable to lend his abilities is commending the truth, the Lord teaches him that His grace is sufficient, and the apostle is content to be crippled that the power of the Lord Jesus may be more known (2Co 12:9).

I think the body is often allowed to limit our activity, in order that we may count more on the power of the Lord Jesus. There is a constantly recurring sense of the weakness and incompetence of the body which sin has entailed, and while overweening anxiety about one’s body is much to be depreciated, yet we must remember that the “Lord taketh no pleasure in the legs of a man” (Psa 147:10), and that true humility and subjection to Him would not attempt to act as if one were dependent on one’s own power or exertions.

I have no doubt that submission to the Lord in this way, as David and Paul learned, produces and promotes a tone and a color in our whole lives; one inward, the other outward. That the Lord rules and that His grace is sufficient is the hourly experience. “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry, her clothing is silk and purple” (Pro 31:22). Every stitch is a distinct one, and while independence or even good inclinations had previously threaded the needle, now, on the contrary, dependence upon the Father is the thread of silk and purple of which eventually the clothing is formed.

The clothing figuratively sets forth the body as wholly and distinctly for the Lord—a body full of light. How blessed when, even here is this body of humiliation, the clothing can be beautiful and costly in the Lord’s eye, because entirely of and for Him. Now do you not see that even in the small matter of submitting to your bodily weakness you will have such practical constant dependence on the Lord that everything you do and say will bear the mark of it; the clothing will be precious in His eye; whereas if you are in subject, the leaven of it will creep into everything that you are engaged in. You will attempt more than you are equal to, and be always made conscious of your failure and disappointment, while, on the other hand, if you accept your inability in subjection to the Lord Jesus, you will be cheered by His marked interference on your behalf.

—J B Stoney

MJS devotional excerpt for June 25

“Covenant theology, which has molded the major theological conceptions for many generations, recognizes no distinctions as to ages, therefore can allow for no distinctions between law and grace. This dominating attitude of Covenantism must account for the utter neglect of life truth (growth) in all their works of theology.

“No more representative theological dictum from the Covenant viewpoint has been formed than the Westminster Confession of Faith, which valuable and important document recognizes life truth only to the point of imposing the Ten Commandments on Christians as their sole obligation, and in spite of the teachings of the New Testament which asserts that the Law was never given to Gentile or Christian.”

—Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952, founder of the Dallas Theological Seminary)