A Wrong Mentality As To The Higher Command
Returning to the subject of our first consideration that of the Supreme Commandlet us state at once that there exist perils of a wrong mentality concerning the Lord Jesus, the Supreme Commander of all the Forces in the field which go by the name of the Church. The wrong mentality concerning Him is this: that He is One from whom to get everything, instead of the One to whom to give everything. There is a great danger of always thinking in terms of what we are to get from Headquarters, of what advantages are to accrue to us, of drawing toward ourselves: in effectalthough we should never admit thisreally putting ourselves, our interests, in the place of those of the Supreme Command; for that is how it works out.
It is just at this point that 'popular' Christianity has done a great deal of harm. Christianity has been put upon a wrong basis, or perhaps, to be a little more charitable, upon an inadequate basis, and the preaching is almost exclusively in terms of what we are to get. We are to get salvation; we are to get eternal life, peace, joy and satisfactionall this and Heaven as well! But the emphasis is so largely upon what we are to get from the Lord Jesus, OUR Supreme Commander. It is at least an inadequate mentality, if not an altogether wrong one when it is made a principle; it is a misinterpretation of the whole Christian life. We will come back to that in a moment. The right mentalityand, mark you, the only one that is going to serve the great purpose and to minister to the great objectiveis the mentality that is governed by the principle: 'Give everything to the Lord'; not 'Get everything from the Lord.'
This is the governing principle of the Godhead, the principle that to give is the way of fulfilment. In the case of the Lord Jesus, that is made very clear in one classic passage of the Apostle Paul. We are told that He "emptied Himself . . . becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Where-fore also God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name" (Phil. 2:7-9). Fulfilment, the restoration of His voluntarily laid aside fulness, came to Him along the line of emptying, giving, pouring out. For that is, I repeat, the principle of the Godhead, and it is to be the mentality of all those who are engaged in this great warfare. We shall be knocked about, brought up short, arrested, defeated, just in so far as we are all the time thinking in terms of what should come to us. Let us make no mistake about it: it will be like that. The self-centred life is always the discontented life. The possessive life is the circumscribed life.
But the out-going life is the life of abundant returnit all comes back. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over" (Luke 6:38). Those are the words of the Lord Jesus. Do you want eternal possessions? The way to receivebut don't do it with this motiveis to give. That is the principle. You see the wrongness of the kind of mentality about the Lord Jesus that feels He should all the time be giving, giving: that we must more and more receive from Him: that He is only there for our benefit! You see how false that is, how unsound and how dangerous: because, immediately we find that He is not giving like that and things are becoming a little difficult, we lose interest in the whole matter, and become paralyzed in battle, helpless as fighters, impotent in service. It is due to a wrong mentality about the Supreme Command. He is there to receive the honour and the glory and the riches, and the dominion and the power, and everything. And while He will give and give and give, eternally give, our relationship to Him must be on the basis, not of how much we are going to get, but of how much He is going to get from us.
-excerpted from Our Warfare by TA Sparks