Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Seek Great Things for Yourself?

“And you, do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them... says the Lord...”

~Jeremiah 45:5 (NRSV).

This is a chillingly strident test for every single person calling Jesus their Saviour! We all get ambitious, every single one.

Whenever I read someone’s Facebook profile and they claim to be ‘full of the Spirit’ and other such things I naturally wonder how truthful they’re being with themselves and others—my experience with humanity leaves me a little sceptical. I know, for instance, only too well, how inherently sinful I am.

Living truthfully, for me anyway, is an ongoing challenge requiring ongoing vigilance.

Messages from Clapham (1911-1915) – My Utmost for His Highest

The theology of Oswald Chambers has always been personal windfall for me, spiritually. He has a way of saying things straight, challenging the disciple to rise even higher in their understanding of God’s revelation as it applies personally.

Chambers says:

“There is nothing easier than getting into a right relationship with God except when it is not God Whom you want but only what He gives.”

Ouch! We know, don’t we?

We’ve all grappled at things, leaving God ‘orphaned’ (of course, that’s not possible!) as we do. But, the word ‘orphaned’ is selected, intentionally, for our thought. Where do we, without a moment’s thought, leave the Lord behind in our living calculations?

Abandonment to God

Chambers centres on the issue of abandonment to God—a genuine task for every believer—for there is no ‘believer’ (in the truest sense of the word) who does not want at their core not to give God all they have.

Yet, we have the flesh to deal with! The putrid flesh restrains us from the holiness of God more than we readily accept half the time.

Someone told me recently that all ‘good’ Christians love ‘naturally’ because Jesus is in them. I found myself instinctually sceptical of that.

Why did Jesus say there are two commandments—love God and love others? He knew we’d struggle with it—even when he simplified it to two ‘simple’ commands. Sure, we do become better and more surrendered, but it’s the visceral issue of sin that forever torments us spiritually, harming and barring our way to love, interrupting love’s flow.

Seeking Great Things or Seeking God

Total abandonment to God, of course, sends us headlong in one direction only—and it’s not after great things, our ambitious hearts clamouring for more.

When we finally start to see how crooked to the core we are, we can accept that abandonment to God is the only way to not only true success, but our happiness too.

What Derek Kidner calls ‘quick-eyed love’ fits us quite appropriately. We love God as we consciously focus on him; soon enough though, we wander from the ancient trail of the Lord (Jeremiah 6:16).

It’s our nature to do this. Let’s not seek great things for ourselves—it’s the way of misery!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

General References:

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Discovery House Publishers, 1993), Apr. 27 & 28.

Derek Kidner, The Message of Jeremiah – the Bible Speaks Today series (Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1987), p. 137.

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