The Place of Humiliation

If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. —Mark 9:22

After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God— that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at some heroic level of intensity, simply because of the natural selfishness of our own hearts. But God wants us to be at the drab everyday level, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with Him. Peter thought it would be a wonderful thing for them to remain on the mountain, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mountain and into the valley, where the true meaning of the vision was explained (see Mark 9:5-6, Mark 9:14-23).

“If you can do anything….” It takes the valley of humiliation to remove the skepticism from us. Look back at your own experience and you will find that until you learned who Jesus really was, you were a skillful skeptic about His power. When you were on the mountaintop you could believe anything, but what about when you were faced with the facts of the valley? You may be able to give a testimony regarding your sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you right now? The last time you were on the mountain with God, you saw that all the power in heaven and on earth belonged to Jesus— will you be skeptical now, simply because you are in the valley of humiliation?

– Oswald Chambers, 1874-1917, My Utmost for His Highest (October 2)

Others May – You Cannot

 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

If God has called you to be really like Christ in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility and put on you such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others can brag on themselves, and their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

The Lord will let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hid away in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His glory, which can be produced only in the shade.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making money, but it is likely God will keep you poor because he wants you to have something far better than gold and that is a helpless dependence on Him; that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day – out of an unseen treasury.

God will let others be great, but He will keep you small. He will let others do a great work for Him and get credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when He comes.

The Holy Spirit will put strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do what He pleases with His own, and He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealing with you. He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot do or say.

Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that others are not dealt with.

Now, when you are so possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this particular, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.

– G. D. Watson, 1845-1924

To be more hidden

“And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman (Mary of Bethany) came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.” – Mark 14:3

“Jesus said,…She has done a good work for Me.” Mark 14:6

“She,” said Christ, “has worked a good work for Me,” which He never said of Martha, good as Martha was. He censured, a little, the elder sister for being cumbered with much serving. But Mary’s work He commended and decreed that it should be remembered as long as the world stands. Though she does not bear the name of a worker in the vulgar judgment, yet is she the queen in the kingdom of good works! Yet, I remind you, she did not say a word. There is such a thing as spoiling what you do by making so great a fuss, before you do it. Moreover, there is such a thing as talking so much afterwards of what we have done that it spoils it all. It seems as if we must let all the world know something about ourselves — whereas the joy and bliss of it all is not to let yourself be seen, but to let the oil go streaming upon the Master till He is anointed with perfume and we, ourselves, sink back into our natural insignificance. Silent acts of love have musical voices in the ears of Jesus! Sound no trumpet before you, or Jesus will take warning and be gone!

If we could all do more and talk less, it might be a blessing to ourselves and, perhaps, to others. Let us labor in our service for the Lord to be more and more hidden! As much as is the proud desire to catch the eye of man, let us endeavor to avoid it.

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892

Published in: on September 11, 2016 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Work for God’s eye

 

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Matthew 6:1

No grace shines more brightly in a Christian, than humility. Wherever SELF comes in–it mars the beauty of the work we are doing. Seek to do your work noiselessly. Do not try to draw attention to yourself–to make others know that you did some beautiful thing. Be content to pour your rich life into other wasted, weary lives–and see them blessed and made more holy–and then hide away and let Christ have the honor. Work for God’s eye–and even then, do not think much about reward. Seek to be a blessing–and never think of self-glory.

“Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:4

J. R. Miller, 1840-1912

Published in: on July 24, 2016 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Salvation is all of God

The Bible simply tells us that salvation is altogether and entirely the work of God. It tells us that man in his sinful state is against God, he does not desire God and would never return to God. There would have been no church at all, nor would there have been salvation, if God had not begun to act. ‘He which hath begun a good work in you’ – it is all of God.

Of course it is not surprising that Paul, above everybody else, should teach this. He never forgot what he had been himself; he remembered himself a blasphemer, and a persecutor of the Christian Church, and he knew perfectly well that he would have continued in that state were it not that at midday, while he was traveling along the road to Damascus where he intended to persecute a body of Christian people, the Lord suddenly appeared to him. Paul never decided to become a Christian, he never thought about it, he did not initiate the work. It was God who did it in him, and Paul therefore always referred the work to Him.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Life of Joy and Peace

The truly humble Christian

 

A humble Christian is one who not only considers himself to be nothing–but is willing to be thought so by others. There is a vast difference between knowing our own faults–and being willing that others should know them. It is very mortifying to be accounted nothing in the eyes of our fellow-men. Now, the really humble man is content to bear this. He has no wish to be more highly esteemed than he deserves–in fact, the flattery of his brethren is distasteful to him!

And yet how utterly contrary is this to our natural feelings! The Drunkard would not wish his neighbors to know that he drinks–he would conceal it if he could. The Dishonest man would wish to appear honest before others.

And why all this desire at concealment? It is because people are anxious to keep up a good image before their fellow creatures–although they may have lost it with Him who knows all. The truth is, they ‘love the praise of men, more than the praise of God.’

What a dangerous snare this is! To be thought well of by our brethren, and to stand high in their opinion–is too eagerly sought after by most of us. We have need not only to fight against the fear of man–but also, and still more, against the love and esteem of man. The esteem of godly men is well, as far as it goes; but it is clearly wrong to be always craving after it. We should rather feel that anything like flattering praise would be hurtful to us–and on that account we should shrink from it, and try to put it away from us.

It is hard, I know, to bring ourselves to this. To pray that we may become low in our own eyes–needs some grace. But to pray that we may be content to be lowered in the eyes of those around us–needs a large amount of grace!

Suppose you were to be informed that one, who stood high for his religious attainments, had expressed an unfavorable opinion of you–would not this be very displeasing? But I am inclined to think that a true Christian, though he would feel a little nettled at the time–would be able to thank God for anything which keeps down his pride, and sets him in his proper place!

The day is soon coming, when we shall be taken off the false heights which we often stand upon, and be brought to our true level–when all the esteem of others shall vanish and pass away like smoke–and we shall be just what God finds us to be, neither more nor less!

Ashton Oxenden, The Touchstone of Humility, 1884

Published in: on June 8, 2016 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Room in a Humble Sphere

When you are tempted to chafe and repine at the narrowness of your circumstances and the limitations of your sphere, remember that Jesus, with all his rich life and all his great powers, for thirty years found room in a humble peasant home for worthy living and for service, not unfitted to his exalted character. If you can do nothing but live a true Christian life—patient, gentle, kindly, pure—in your home, in society, at your daily duty—you will perform in the end a service of great value and leave many blessings in the world. Such a life is a little gospel, telling in sermons without words, the wonderful story of the cross of Christ.

– J. R. Miller, In Green Pastures

Published in: on May 11, 2016 at 12:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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