The truths of Scripture are received and treated too much as mere information. The mind sees and enjoys them as something incomparably fine and beautiful, but there is lacking the sense that every ray of light is really lost or useless unless it makes its way through the pitcher by faith. That is, unless the vessel is controlled and colored by it, and that there is manifestly more likeness to the Lord Jesus and increasingly growing up into the measure of the stature of His fullness (Eph 4:13). The misfortune with many is being content with a success at their first start and being so elated by it that they are not set on going forward.
Although Jacob had reached the right standing in the land (Gen 32), yet he must go through a night of wrestling, he must be subdued before God—then at his wit’s end he exclaims, “I will not let thee go until thou bless me.” There must be this struggle with God, this breaking down of one’s own strength, in the presence of the Father, before there is simple dependence upon Him, or confidence. The more thoroughly I am made nothing before Him, the more confidence have I in Him that He must and will bless me.
Here it is that the believer learns the condition that suits the position; but many a one who has accepted the position is almost confounded when he is brought into the night of wrestling. This night is to introduce you into a new day. It is quite right to see and to accept the position in which the Father in His grace sets us; but the higher your position, the higher your condition must become, and the more you must be broken down to enter on, or be suited to your position. I have no doubt the night of wrestling takes many a one by surprise; they have rested more on the truth of their position than on Him who sets us there, and is making us like Himself because we are there.
I have no doubt that many are disappointed that after hearing with delight, and receiving their position as the truth of God, they are not more affected by it. The reason for this is that they rest too much in the position, and have not gathered the first fruits (thinking of God first—NC), and put them into a basket; that they have not yet acquainted themselves with the Lord Jesus; they have not drawn nearer to Him and recognized Him as the only One to keep them in their position.
There is a felt lack, along with the acceptance of the truth, because the believer is not nearer to the Lord Jesus; for if he were, he would have found that no flesh (human nature—NC) could glory there, and there he would have acquired a fresh vigor from Himself, adequate to sustain him in the “nigh” position (Psa 73:28; Jam 4:8) which had been revealed. The open firmament is the position of a bird; but what use would be that position if it had no wings? But wings must grow. The prodigal son is not told to come to the feast until he had the new clothes on. He not only hears of the position, but he is given a condition to suit it. The kiss does not give him the condition—it tells him of the Father’s heart, but he replies, “I am not worthy.” He is near enough to feel this, and then it is that he receives his new clothes (hyperbolically, the Lord Jesus—NC), fit for his father’s presence.
What is the good of a man being ennobled made a prince of, if he feels he has gained no moral or sensible acquisition by it? This is the disappointment which believers feel without being able to account for it; and they are subjected to nights of wrestling, because they have rested in their grand titles, instead of in the means of supporting their titles, which is dependence on, and ever deepening acquaintance and fellowship with the One who has conferred them.
- J B Stoney
Excerpt from MJS devotional for October 10:
“To know our position in the Lord Jesus is necessary so that we may understand His ways and rest in His means. Then, by processing through the years He slowly narrows the discrepancy between our heavenly position and our personal condition. Truth is received in the mind, assimilated in the heart, and manifested in the walk.” MJS
“First, the believer, like a bird, flies at once to the top and sees everything accomplished on his behalf, and then he, as it were, comes back and creeps up every inch of the way. It is like ascending a ladder of grace.” JBS