(Cheryl's gleanings from The Love of God by Oswald Chambers)
in the love of God, looking for
|The world does not bid you
sing, but God does. Song is the sign of an unburdened heart; then sing
your songs of love unbidden, ever rising higher and higher into a fuller
concept of the greatest, grandest fact on the stage of time - God is
Christianity is not a thing of times and seasons, but of God and faith. Drink deep and full of the love of God and you will not demand the impossible from earth's loves; then the love of wife and child, of husband and friend, will grow holier and healthier and simpler and grander.
What ups and downs we experience because we build not on faith but on feeling, not on the finished work of Christ but on our own work and endeavor...Let us get down to the cross, to the broken heart of God, down to the propitiation for our sins; let us put away the books that have sapped our faith; let us cut off the interests and companionships that have weighed our lives down to the dust, and looking to Jesus, let us "build ourselves up on our most holy faith." (Jude 20)
"Keep yourselves in the love of God" refers very clearly to something distinct and special, something revealed in the direct will of God; a spiritual endeavor that we must consider and consider carefully with the Holy Spirit's help. "Keep" means work. It is not a lazy floating, it is work. Work, or you will depart from the love of God. Begin to trace the finger of God in the great calamities of earth, and in the calamities that have befallen you. In sweat of brain and spirit, work, agonizing at times, to keep yourself in the love of God. How do I keep myself in any sphere but by using every means to abide in it? If I wish to keep in the spiritual sphere of the love of God I must use the great organ of the spiritual realm, faith. "God loves me." Say it over and over and over, heedless of your feelings that come and go.
Do not live at a distance from God, live near Him, delighting yourself in Him. Remove all barriers of selfishness and fear and plunge into the fathomless love of God. "Keep yourselves in the love of God." When once you have understood the truth about your own heart's sinfulness, think not again of it, but look at the great, vast, illimitable magnificence of the love of God. Oh, may we be driven - driven further and further out into the ocean fullness again. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Romans 8:35). Oh, the fullness of peace and joy and gladness when we are persuaded that nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The foundation of God's love is holiness...If God's nature is holy, His love must be holy love, seeking to embrace everyone and everything until we all become holy. A feature of God's love is that if we will commit ourselves to Him, He will impart to us the very nature of His Son. The fact of God's love: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19).
Our Lord took words that were despised (i.e. "servant") and transfigured their meaning; He did things that were commonplace and sordid and ordinary. (i.e. "footwashing") and transfigured them. Our Lord was the unconscious light in the most ordinary circumstances conceivable. The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is always unconscious. Conscious influence is priggish and unchristian. When we begin to wonder whether we are of any use, we instantly lose the bloom of the touch of the Lord. Jesus says "He that believeth on me...out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). If we begin to examine the outflow, we lose touch with the source. We have to pay attention to the source, and God will look after the outflow. The same thing is true with regard to the "passion for souls," the great craze for successful service. Our Lord told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, but to rejoice because they were rightly related to Him, (See Luke 10:18-20) The danger in all these things is we are apt to make the effect the cause.
"Consider the lilies...(Matthew 6:28). When our Lord describes the spiritual life, He always took illustrations from His Father's handiwork, never from man's work. Imagine a lily, if it could speak, saying, "I am going to be a lily!" A lily obeys the law of its life where it is placed. It is unconscious in its growth.
In Isaiah 47:7, we read, "And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever." The characteristic of a lady is implicitness, not explicitness, and in the same way a Christian is one in whom the indwelling Spirit of God shines out all the time. In the Christian life the implicit is never conscious; if it becomes conscious, it ceases to have the unaffected loveliness that is characteristic of the life of Jesus Christ. Prudery is the outcome of obedience to a principle; whereas, according to our Lord, Purity is the outcome of an implicit relationship. If we look upon purity as the outcome of obedience to a particular standard, we produce the opposite of what our Lord intends. He said, "Except..ye become as little children..." (Matthew 18:3).
Jesus Christ was made broken bread and poured out wine for us, and He expects us to be made broken bread and poured out wine in His hands for others. If we are not thoroughly baked, we will produce indigestion because we are dough instead of bread. We have to be made into good nutritious stuff for other people. The reason we are going through the things we are is that God wants to know whether He can make us good bread with which to feed others. The stuff of our lives, not simply our talk, is to be the nutriment of those who know us.
If our Lord endured solitary desolation, why should we consider it strange when we are solitary externally and without comradeship internally? It is in the solitary life that we prove whether we are willing to be made the unadvertised life for the community to which we belong - whether we are willing to be made bread or to be simply the advertisement for bread? If we are to be made bread, then we must not be surprised if we are treated in the way our Lord was treated.
We never live for the glory of God on the mount. We see His glory there, but we do not live for His glory there; it is in the valley that we live for the glory of God. It is in the sphere of humiliation that we find our true worth to God, and that is where our faithfulness has to be manifested. Most of us can do things if we are always at the heroic pitch; but God wants us at the drab, commonplace pitch, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with Him. We can all be thrilled by appeals to do things in an ecstatic way, by moments of devotion, but that is never the work of God's grace; it is the natural selfishness of our own hearts. Jesus Christ lived most of His life in the valley. The reason we have to live in the valley is that the majority of people live there and if we are to be of use to God in the world, we must be useful from God's standpoint - not from our own or the standpoint of others. The great point of our life with God and of our service for Him in the world is that we get the skepticism rooted out of us, and it takes the valley of humiliation to root it out.
gleanings from The Love of God by Oswald Chambers