Resurrection Source

Oct 8, 2011
Winfield, Mo.
If we have genuinely received Christ, there will be that constant “desire” to “do” the “pleasure” of God (Phl 2:13); and thankfully He takes us through all the trials we encounter and teaches us to wait on Him, by entrusting all to Him (1Pe 5:7). It is He who directs our “hardness” (2Ti 2:3) and ourselves, to result in strengthening our faith—using us to glorify Himself in our present fellowship with Him!

As we continue to “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29) we see the maturing of it in our walk, and such is the most significant part of the Christian life, that we might know that our constant need is to realize all that we already have—which is the Lord Jesus. This is manifested as we are progressively learning to be less self-dependent and earthly minded, and more God-dependent and heavenly minded. We can then know how our prayers may originate more from heaven to the earth, than from the earth to heaven, appropriating more practically our present and eternal heavenly position!

Though there may often be times we do not know what we should think, do, or pray in the midst of difficulty, we can be assured that He unfailingly “comforts us in all our tribulation” (2Co 1:4), which mostly involves trusting and waiting (and the hardest thing to do is nothing); and the more the trust, the more surefootedness the wait! It’s also acceptable to realize that the most difficult infirmities to trust for are sometimes those we feel might be self-incurred. But this is irrelevant, as our lessons are often trial-by-error and all is already taken into account; and we should realize that God knows the believer’s sins and wrongs are unintentional (“we are not after the flesh” – Rom 8:9), and that He teaches us even more so through them!

Resurrection Source

Many of us may be like the disciples, truly loving the Lord Jesus, and knowing Him as our Savior; but we have not yet stood outside everything, and found that He is enough for us when there is nothing else. But not only this, for this is only the beginning, we find here how fully He satisfies the heart, and makes up for everything. If Simeon, or a dying thief, or the martyr Stephen finds Him everything to them, why should we wait for the dissolution of the body, and of all here, to learn this full and blessed lesson? Surely Paul did not wait for it till death; but in order to learn it, the teaching set forth here is necessary.

We shrink from being in the ship at sea, with nothing in it but the Lord Jesus (Mat 8:25); and yet it is then we learn for the first time His full value. The mercies of a former day tell us who He is, and He recalls them to His disciples, in order that they understand who He is; but He Himself is greater than His mercies and when we have no resources, we learn what He is. I have nothing but Christ; is He sufficient, or not? This is resurrection, and when I have entered on it, I know the power and resources of His Life. No soul can know consciously what He is as to resource, above the claims of nature, until he has learned this lesson. Abraham learned it when he ascended Mount Moriah, prepared in heart to extinguish the only light which cheered his eye on earth; and at no time did his soul enter into, or comprehend what God is in His own might and majesty, as in that eventful moment. Each step in that solitary ascent only deepened his conviction of the greatness of God in whom he trusted; and after it, he was prepared for the deeper communications of God.

Assuredly, until we have found Christ—not only as our Savior, saving us from the depths of our ruin and sin, but also as the One on the shore who is enough for us, where there is nothing else (Jhn 21:4, 5)—we are not prepared for deeper revelations, for the unfolding of things connected with Christ, because we have not found Him to be the true resource of our hearts (though knowledge-wise, but maybe not yet practically in a sufficient degree—NC). This, not only in our own individual history, but also in the church, and as His witnesses on earth; for, after all, there is no true standing publicly which has not been learned individually. If I know Christ in my private history as my resource when there is nothing else, I shall not find it difficult to see that He is enough for me in the church. If He stands by me, all men may forsake me; and I may like Paul, confront unmoved, the most dread tribunal in the world!

To know Him in His sufficiency, apart from everything else, is necessary at the very beginning of our life in Him. He saves us, and because He lives, we live also; but the moment I know that He is my Life fully (Col 3:4), it is no longer I, “but Christ liveth in me”; and hence it is Himself who first meets me. He is the Head whom I am told to hold, and from whom all nourishment flows; this is what gives strength and character to the soul, and is learned and cultivated by everyone who enjoys solitude with Him. If He is not enough for my soul alone with Him, I have not learned that He surpasses all things (“preeminence” - Col 1:18—NC); nor could I bear to be deprived of everything here, nor to confront it fearlessly. When He is enough, retirement from everything and everyone to Himself is full rest and solace to the heart; and the less question there is between Him and me, the more shall I seek to be alone with Him, because there I am prepared for explanation and correction from Him, which I would not have received or noticed in the crowd.

If I have wandered from Him, I shall fear being alone with Him; and yet, if I have known what a resource He is to my heart alone, I shall be miserable until I have found myself again alone with Him, and have heard His correction, which restores and invigorates my soul. As our souls learn this, two things are apparent in our course: one, that we can bear the loss of anything, because He is our resource; the other, that we fear not any power which may oppose us, because we are near Him.

- J B Stoney (1814 -1895)

MJS devotional excerpt from 11-12:

“The harvest can be no better than the sowing and cultivating. The burden over the need of others develops our hunger of heart to be a ‘vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work’” (2 Tim. 2:21). – MJS