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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b][u]Chapter II[/u][/b]

[b]The Philosophy of the Fall—I

Boundless Inheritance of Covetousness[/b]

[i]What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7:7)

It is said, it was because Adam ate the apple that he was lost, or fell. I say, it was because of his claiming something for his own, and because of his I, Mine, Me and the like. Had he eaten seven apples, and yet never claimed anything for his own, he would not have fallen: but as soon as he called something his own, he fell, and would have fallen if he had never touched an apple.[/i]

What is true of Adam is true of every man and woman, and “not all mankind could amend his fall, or bring him back from going astray.” This inheritance of covetousness is the very essence of the Fall, and no praying and no power of man, singly or banded together, can ever avail to touch it; the only thing that can touch it is the great Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lust and covetousness are summed up in the phrase, “I must have it at once and for myself.” It is an absolute flood in the nature of man, it overtakes his spirit, it overtakes his soul and body. In some natures the spirit of covetousness works through the body and is seen in sordid ways; sometimes it is kept back and only in man’s reason is it manifested; and sometimes it is held still further back and suppressed, but it is there. The background of the whole thing is the lust of possessing according to my affinities.

[b](a) Birth of Death[/b]

[i]“For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”[/i] (Genesis 2:17). Death is the inheritance of the whole human race; since Adam, no man has ever been alive to God saving by the supernatural act of re-birth. Do not get the idea that because man did not die suddenly physically, he is not dead. The manifestation of death in the body is simply a matter of time, “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The birth of death was in that moment; not the birth of death for one man, but the birth of the death of the whole human race. God’s attitude revealed in the Bible towards men is that they are “dead in trespasses and sins”; no touch with God, not alive towards God at all, they are quite indifferent to God’s claims.

[b](b) The Bye-Law of Death[/b]

[i]“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one . . .”[/i] (Romans 5:17). A bye-law is a supplementary regulation, and the bye-law of death is a supplementary regulation on account of disobedience. “For I was alive without the law once,” said the Apostle Paul, “but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death” (Romans 7:9-10). We are all alive apart from God in our own consciousness, and when preachers talk about being dead in trespasses and sins, good worldly-minded men and women are amused at our being so stupid as to tell them they are dead. They say, “I am alive, my body is alive; my mind and heart and soul and spirit are alive; what do you mean by being dead?” But immediately a soul comes into contact with Jesus Christ’s standard, instantly the realisation comes of what death means.

[b](c) Branded by Death[/b]

[i]“For the wages of sin is death”[/i] (Romans 6:23). Every natural virtue is death-branded, because the natural virtues are remnants of a ruined humanity, they are not promises of an evolving perfection. Take the life of the intellect or of the spirit, where does it end? “He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” Love produces such pain (apart from a knowledge of God) that it makes the sensitive soul wonder if it is worth while to love. Death is everywhere, on the attainments of the mind, of the heart and spirit. When you try to approach God in prayer and draw near to Him, you find the curse of this disposition of covetousness—“I must have this for myself, I want to be right with God for my own sake”—and it saps the energy out of devotion, out of communion with God and Christian service, until the soul is almost wrung to despair. It is that kind of thing which made the Apostle Paul say—“sold under sin.” We have to get down to this aspect of sin which is not familiar to us as a rule.

Talk about conviction of sin! I wonder how many of us have ever had one five minutes’ conviction of sin. It is the rarest thing to know of a man or woman who has been convicted of sin. I am not sure but that if in a meeting one or two people came under the tremendous conviction of the Holy Ghost, the majority of us would not advocate they should be put in a lunatic asylum, instead of referring them to the Cross of Christ. We are unfamiliar nowadays with this tremendous conviction of sin, which Paul refers to as being “sold under sin,” but it is not a bit too strong to say that when once the Spirit of God convicts a man of sin, it is either suicide or the Cross of Christ, no man can stand such conviction long. We have any amount of conviction about pride and wrong dealing with one another, but when the Holy Ghost convicts He does not bother us on that line, He gives us the deep conviction that we are living in independence of God, of a death away from God, and we find all our virtues and goodness and religion has been based on a ruinous thing, viz. the boundless inheritance of covetousness. That is what the Fall means. Let it soak into your thinking, and you will understand the marvel of the salvation of Jesus Christ which means deliverance from covetousness, root and branch. Never lay the flattering unction to your soul that because you are not covetous for money or worldly possessions, you are not covetous for anything. The fuss and distress of owning anything is the last remnant of the disposition of sin. Jesus Christ possessed nothing for Himself (see 2 Corinthians 8:9). Right through the warp and woof of human nature is the ruin caused by the disposition of covetousness which entered into the human race through the Fall, and it is this disposition which the Holy Spirit convicts of.

Chambers, O.


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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b]Beatific Incarnation (Romans 5:1-11)[/b]

[i]But how shall my fall be amended? It must be healed as Adam’s fall was healed, and on the self-same wise. . . . And in this bringing back and healing, I can, or may, or shall do nothing of myself, but just simply yield to God, so that He alone may do all things in me and work, and I may suffer Him and all His work and His divine will.[/i]

The Atonement means that in the Cross of Jesus Christ God redeemed the whole human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. Jesus Christ never applied the words “children of the devil” to ordinary sinners, He applied them to religious disbelievers. Nowhere is it taught in the Bible that we are by nature children of the devil; Paul says we “were by nature the children of wrath.” How many men and women do we know who have seen what Jesus Christ came to do, who really knew He came to save them from sin and who have deliberately said, “No, I won’t let Him”? The majority of men are sheep, as Jesus said, and the bias of the Fall leads them astray.

[b](a) Ruined Race[/b]

[i]“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel”[/i] (Genesis 3:15). The prophecy here does not refer to the destruction of sin in the individual, but to the destruction of what the Apostle Paul calls “the body of sin,” symbolised in the first incarnation of the devil as a serpent. The body of sin stands as the counterpart of the Mystical Body of Christ. The fountain head of the body of sin is the devil; the Fountain Head of the mystical body of Christ is God. The disposition of covetousness which entered in at the Fall, connects me with the body of sin; in the personal experience of sanctification this disposition of covetousness is identified with the Cross of Christ “that the body of sin might be destroyed.” The more people there are who enter into sanctification through Jesus Christ, the more is Satan’s dominance ruined. The body of sin is maimed and paralysed by every being who enters into the Mystical Body of Christ through His salvation. “The carnal mind,” which is “enmity against God,” is my connection with the body of sin; but the body of sin is something infinitely greater than the carnal mind, it is the mystical body of sin with the devil at its head, which Jesus Christ came to destroy (1 John 3:8), and in His sanctified children is manifested the bruising of Satan and the enfeebling of the body of sin, until at the final wind-up of everything, the body of sin and the devil are absolutely removed, not only in the individual saints but from the presence of the saints. Satan is not removed now from the presence of the saints, but the saint is still kept in the world where the evil one rules, consequently the saint is continually being badgered by the evil one. Jesus prayed, not that we should be taken out of the world, but that we should be “kept from the evil one” (rv)

[b](b) Realised Right of Saved Souls (Romans 6:12-14)[/b]

[i]“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof”[/i] (Romans 6:12). Paul is strong in urging us to realise what salvation means in our bodily lives; it means that we command our bodies to obey the new disposition. That is where you find the problems on the margins of the sanctified life. Paul argues in Romans 6:19, “You are perfectly adjusted to God on the inside by a perfect Saviour, but your members have been used as servants of the wrong disposition; now begin to make those same members obey the new disposition.” As we go on, we find every place God brings us into is the means of enabling us to realise with growing joy that the life of Christ within is more than a match not only for the enemy on the outside but for the impaired body that comes between. Paul urges with passionate pleading, that we present our bodies a living sacrifice, and then realise, not presumptuously, but with slow, sure, overwhelming certainty that every command of Christ can be obeyed in our bodily life through the Atonement.

[b](c) Restricting Remains of Sin[/b]

[i]“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”[/i] (Romans 6:15-16). A partial realisation on the part of a child of God of the salvation of Jesus Christ is the very thing Satan delights in, because it leaves within that one the remains of the sinful disposition. In regeneration a twofold experience ought to be ours: the introduction into a new kingdom by the incoming of the Holy Spirit and the realisation of forgiveness of sins; and then being borne on to a moral identification with the death of Jesus whereby we know that “our old man is crucified with Him.” Impaired lives, impaired judgments and experiences—all that makes us limp and compromising, comes about because we have realised only partially what Jesus Christ came to do, and the great rouser up out of that sleep of indifference is the Apostle Paul. Read his Epistles, rely on the Spirit of God, and let Him drive home these truths to you.

Chambers, O.


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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b]Freedom for God[/b]

[i]I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another. (Isaiah 42:8)

If I call any good thing my own, as if I were it, or of myself had Power or did or knew anything, or as if anything were mine or of me, or belonged to me, or were due to me or the like, I take unto myself somewhat of honour and glory, and do two evil things: First, I fall and go astray as aforesaid; Secondly, I touch God in His honour and take unto myself what belongeth to God only. For all that must be called good belongeth to none but to the true eternal Goodness which is God only, and whoso taketh it unto himself committeth unrighteousness and is against God.[/i]

The subtlety of Satan as an angel of light comes just here, and we hear the saints, unwittingly and without any intention of doing it, taking the glory to themselves. To say a thing is the sure way to thinking it. That is why it is so necessary to testify to what Jesus Christ has done for us. A testimony gets hold of the mind as it has hold of the heart; but the same thing is true of the opposite, if we say a wrong thing often enough we begin to think it. The only way to be kept from taking glory to ourselves is to keep steadfastly faced by our Saviour and not by the needs of the people. Did you ever notice how God lets you go down when you trust good people? The best of men and women are but the best of men and women, the only good is God, and Jesus Christ always brings the soul face to face with God, and that is the one great thought we have to be soaked with. The spirit of covetousness is a flood, and when the Apostle Paul talked about the Spirit, his idea is of a flood, “Be [being] filled with the Spirit,” invaded by the personal passionate Lover of God until we realise there is only one Good, and we have no time or inclination for any other kind of goodness. “In all the world there is none but Thee, my God, there is none but Thee.” Are we there?

We will deal treacherously with the Bible records if we are not soaked in the revelation that God only is good. We will put the saints on the throne, not God. There is only one unshakeable goodness, and that is God. It takes time to get there because we will cling to things and to people. Those of us who ought to be princes and princesses with God cling to the shows of God’s goodness instead of God Himself. The only influence that is to tell in a servant of God is God. Let people think what they like about you, but be careful that the last thought they get is God. When we have gone from them, there must be no beauty or fascination in us that makes them long for us, the only remembrance left must be, “That woman was true to God”; “That man was true to God.”

[i]The quotations are from the book entitled Theologia Germanica.[/i]

Chambers, O.


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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b][u]Chapter III[/u][/b]

[b]The Philosophy of the Fall—II[/b]

By the Fall man not only died from God, but he fell into disunion with himself; that means it became possible for him to live in one of the three parts of his nature. We want to live a spiritual life, but we forget that that life has to work out in rational expression in our souls; or we want to live a clear life in the soul and forget altogether that we have a body and spirit; or else we want to live the life of a splendid animal and forget altogether the life of the soul and spirit. When a man is born again of the Spirit of God he is introduced to life with God and union with himself. The one thing essential to the new life is obedience to the Spirit of God Who has energised our spirits; that obedience must be complete in spirit, soul and body. We must not nourish one part of our being apart from the other parts.

[b]Margins of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-24)[/b]

The margins of our spirit retain the damage done by the Fall, even after sanctification, and unless we are energised by the Spirit of God and continually draw our life from God, Satan will come in as an angel of light and deceive us, and the first way he does it is by habits of ecstasy.

[i][b](a) Habits of Ecstasy[/b][/i]

Habits of ecstasy, that is, the tendency to live a spiritual life before God apart from the rational life of our soul and the physical life of our body. In many a life the idea that creeps in slowly is that we must develop a spiritual life altogether apart from the rational and the physical life. God is never in that type of teaching. There are people we call naturally spiritual people who devote all their time to developing the spirit, forgetting altogether the rational life and the physical life. When we look at them or read about them they seem all right, spiritual and fine, but they lack the one marvellous stamp of the religion of Jesus Christ which keeps spirit, soul and body going on together. God never develops one part of our being at the expense of the other; spirit, soul and body are kept in harmony. Remember, our spirit does not go further than we bring our body. The Spirit of God always drives us out of the visionary, out of the excitable, out of the ecstasy stages, if we are inclined that way. This blind life of the spirit, a life that delights to live in the dim regions of the spirit, refusing to bring the leadings of the Holy Spirit into the rational life, gives occasion to supernatural forces that are not of God. It is impossible to guard our spirit, the only One Who can guard all its entrances is God. Never give way to spiritual ecstasy unless there is a chance of working it out rationally, check it every time. Nights and days of prayer and waiting on God may be a curse to our souls and an occasion for Satan. So always remember that the times we have in communion with God must be worked out in the soul and in the body.

[i][b](b) Habits of Election of Days (Galatians 4:8-11)[/b][/i]

The habits Paul refers to here are superstitious habits in which the mind fixes on “days, and months, and seasons, and years” (rv)—on certain days God will bless us, on other days He won’t; if I am careful about this and that, it will bring me into the presence of God. The days, and months, and seasons, and years are appointed by God, but the Galatians were fixing on them altogether apart from God, and Paul says, “I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labour upon you in vain” (rv). Nowadays superstition is growing again, and people are held in bondage to it. Are we in danger of fixing on means other than God for maintaining our spiritual life? Do we put the means of grace in the place of grace itself? If we make devotional habits the source from which we draw our life, God will put us through the discipline of upsetting those times. You say, “God does not upset them in other lives, why should He in mine?” Because you are putting them in the place of God. When you put God first you will easily get your times of communion, because God can entrust them to the soul who does not use them in an irrational way and give occasion to the enemy to enter in. When our spirit is awakened by God we must bring ourselves into subordination to the Spirit of God and not fly off at a tangent, fixing on days and seasons and ritual, thus giving a chance to the mysterious background of our life that we know nothing about but which the Bible reveals, and which Satan is on the watch for all the time.

The only soul Satan cannot touch is the soul whose spiritual life and rational life and physical life is hid with Christ in God; that soul is absolutely secure.

Chambers, O.


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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b](c) Habits of Enervation by Dreaming (Jude 8)[/b]

Ecstasy of spirit leads to external ritual in the rational life, and makes the bodily life spend its time in dreaming. The lassitude that creeps over an unhealthy soul produces the physical madness of hysteria. All animal magnetism, all the power of one person over another, and all the hysterics of self-pity that makes some people absolutely useless unless they are in the presence of certain other people, all spring from this source. It begins in a wrong relationship to God first; a real life with God was started, but instead of drawing the whole life from God and working it out through the body, the bodily life is spent in dreams, in fastings, in prayings, and slowly there develops a madness of the nerves, which is what hysteria really is. Hysteria is a physical morbid craving for sympathy from other people, which can go to such an extent that people cannot live apart from certain other people. There is no power of God in such lives. Hysteria is the actual nervous manifestation of fundamental self-pity, consequently it has been regarded for long by the medical world as a psycho-physical disease; it is more a disposition than a disease. In this domain we get the sympathy cures of Christian Science, i.e. a stronger personality coming in contact with a soul that has got out of touch with God through disobedience can soothe the hysteria of the nerves and inject a cure by its sympathy which has nothing to do with God or with the devil, but entirely to do with the influence of a strong personality over a weak one. Animal magnetism does not come from the devil, but remember that animal magnetism always gives occasion to the devil. In reading the records of French physicians, who used hypnotism in operating in the past more than they do now, case after case is recorded where a good-living physician used hypnotism but always stated his dread and dislike of it, simply because he found that he could never be sure what would happen to the person after the cure had been effected. And to-day we find over and over again that cures are genuine, the disease disappears, but there is a derangement in the life towards God and towards men. In every case of healing by God it comes through a child-like trust in Jesus Christ.

Any man or woman who is inclined to spend their time dreaming when they should be working out actually through the finger-tips what the Spirit of God is working in, is in danger of degenerating into those who “in their dreamings defile the flesh.” God never allows a Christian to carry on his life in sections—so much time for study and meditation and so much for actual work; the whole life, spirit, soul and body must progress together.

Are you forming habits of ecstasy? Beware. Are you forming habits of ritual? habits of physical dreaming, wanting to get away from the active rush of things? Beware. When we get into the healthy life of God all the margins of spirit and soul and body are merged in a complete oneness with God. “. . . that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19 rv).

[b](d) Habits of Envy (Proverbs 27:4)[/b]

Spiritual envy starts from having got something from God in the way of quickening and then trying to use it in our way, not God’s. Spiritual envy is a terrible evil of the soul, and will always follow the tendency to develop a spiritual life apart from the rational life and the bodily life. All kinds of sour distempers will be ours spiritually, we shall be envious of people who are growing in their life with God in ways we are not, and we will have almost diabolical suggestions about them, suggestions we would never have got through our own unaided spirit. Spiritual envy is an awful possibility to any soul who does not obey the Spirit of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4).

[b](e) Habits of Emotions of Dread (Colossians 2:18)[/b]

If we separate the life of the spirit from the rational life, we experience emotions of dread, forebodings and spiritual nightmares in the soul, which are not imaginary but real. The cause is not always to be found in the physical condition, but in the margins of our spirit life. Remember that through the Fall man fell into dis-union, spirit, soul and body were separated from one another, that means we are liable to influences from God or from the devil. It is only when we get full of dread about life apart from God that we leave ourselves in His hands. Immediately we try to live a spiritual life with God and forget our soul and body, the devil pays attention to our body, and when we pay attention to our body he begins to get at our spirit, until we learn there is only one way to keep right—to live the life hid with Christ in God, then the very life and power of God garrisons all three domains, spirit, soul and body, but it depends on us whether we allow God to do it. God cannot garrison us if we try to live a spiritual life on a life of our own, or if we go off on emotions in our rational life. God never garrisons us in bits. Whenever marrings come to our lives it is because we have got twisted off somewhere, we are not living in simple, full, child-like union with God, handing the keeping of our lives over to Him and being carefully careless about everything saving our relationship to Him; keep that right, and He will guard every avenue. “Kept by the power of God.”

[b](f) Habits of Exceptional “Drugging” (Jude 12-13)[/b]

There are hidden perils in our life with God whenever we disobey Him. If we are not obeying God physically we experience a craving for drugs, not only physical drugs out of a bottle, but drugs in certain types of meetings and certain types of company—anything that keeps away the realisation that the habits of the bodily life are not in accordance with what is God’s will. If in the providence of God, obedience to God takes me into contact with people and surroundings that are wrong and bad, I may be perfectly certain that God will guard me; but if I go there out of curiosity, God does not guard me, and the tendency is to “drug” it over—“I went with a good idea to try and find out about these things.” Well, you plainly had no business to go, and you know you had no business to go because the Spirit of God is absolutely honest. The whole thing starts from disobedience on a little point. We wanted to utilise God’s grace for our own purposes, to use God’s gifts for our own reasoning out of things in a particular way.

Chambers, O.


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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b](g) Habits of Enmity (Romans 8:7)[/b]

The carnal mind is a dangerous power alongside the Spirit of God in our personality before identification with Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection is reached. When a man has received the Holy Spirit, the watching of Satan is keen, his whole desire is to split up the personality. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other” (Galatians 5:17 rv). The carnal mind is enmity against God, and it is the carnal mind which connects us with the body of sin of which Satan is the head, and of which there is ultimately to be a new manifestation (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3). Every soul who enters into the experience of entire sanctification limits the body of sin, consequently the great yearning eagerness of the preaching of the Gospel is to get God’s children to the place of sanctification where spirit, soul and body are one, one personality absolutely ruled by God, where the life of the spirit is instantly manifested in the life of the soul and body (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23). If this place of entire sanctification is not reached, there is always that in us which has a strong affinity with the devil, and this is the remarkable thing, we never knew it before we were introduced into the kingdom of God by the initial experience of regeneration; but we find after a while the strong lustful hate of something in us against what the Spirit God has put in, and the lust is for one thing—I want to dominate this personality.

[b](h) Habits of Earnest Devotions (Colossians 2:20-23)[/b]

Have we any helps to keep us living a godly life? That is the risk. Slowly and surely God will purify our lives from props that separate us from Him. Immediately the means of grace are taken to be grace itself, they become a direct hindrance to our life with God. The means are simply scaffolding for the time being, and as long as they are in their right place they are an assistance, immediately we put them as the source, we give occasion to the enemy. Have we helped ourselves in work for God from any other source than God? “Ye are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10).

[b](i) Habits of Extraordinary Defying (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)[/b]

A spiritual man or woman going astray can use the extraordinary powers awakened by the Spirit of God against God. The only safeguard, and it is an absolute safeguard, is to live the life hid with Christ in God. The life that steadily refuses to think from its right to itself, that steadily refuses to trust its own insight, is the only life that Satan cannot touch. Watch every time you get to a tight feeling spiritually, to a dry feeling rationally, to a hindered feeling physically, it is the Spirit of God’s quiet warning that you should repair to the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. There is never any fear for the life that is hid with Christ in God, but there is not only fear, but terrible danger, for the life unguarded by God. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High”—once there, and although God’s providence should take you into hell itself, you are as safe and secure as Almighty God can keep you.

Oswald Chambers


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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b]Chapter IV[/b]

[b]The Philosophy of Discernment[/b]

A philosopher is a lover of wisdom, and spiritual philosophy means the love of wisdom not only in our heart life, but in our heads—the last place a Christian gets to. Usually we leave our heads barren, we simply use our brains to explain our heart’s experience. That is necessary, but we have to let our brains be guided by the Holy Spirit into thinking a great many things we have not experienced. That is, we are committed to Jesus Christ’s view of everything, and if we only allow our brains to dwell on what we have experienced, we shut ourselves off from a great deal we ought to be exercised in. Our heart experience always outstrips our head statement, and when the experience begins to be stated explicitly, our heart witnesses to it—“Why I know that, but I never realised before how it worked.” Discernment is the power to interpret what we see and hear.

[b]The Path of Discernment[/b]

[i]For without Me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)

. . . man’s knowledge should be so clear and perfect that he should acknowledge of a truth (that in himself he neither hath nor can do any good thing, and that none of his knowledge, wisdom and art, his will, love and good works do come from himself, nor are of man, nor of any creature, but) that all these are of the eternal God from whom they all proceed.[/i]

Have I learned to think what the testimony of my heart makes me state? We all say this kind of thing—“I know that in me . . . dwelleth no good thing,” but do we think it? Do we really think what Jesus has taught us to know in our hearts, that apart from Him we can do nothing? We all believe it, but do we think it? Over and over again God has to take us into desert places spiritually where there is no conscious experience at all. We have probably all had this in our experience—we have had a grand time of living communion with God, we know we are sanctified, the witness of the Spirit has proved it over and over again, then all of a sudden there falls a dearth, no life, no quickness; there is no degeneration, no backsliding, but an absolute dearth. This may be the reason—the Lord is wanting to take us to a desert place apart that we may get to this path of discernment. All the noisy things that fret our lives when we are spiritual come because we have not discerned what we know in our hearts.

Oswald Chambers


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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b](a) The Discipline of Negatives (1 Corinthians 4:7)[/b]

Paul is talking about natural gifts as well as spiritual. “What hast thou that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (rv). Have we learned to think when we see someone endowed with natural gifts, such as a fine voice, or a good brain, or any of the gifts of genius, that every one of those gifts has been received, therefore they cannot be consecrated? You cannot consecrate what is not yours. In thinking we do not really go along the scriptural lines our hearts go on. Watch your heart in relationship to God, you recognise that you cannot consecrate yourself to God: you give yourself to God, and yet in thinking we go along the line of consecrating our gifts to God. We have to get rid altogether of the idea that our gifts are ours, they are not, gifts are gifts, and we have to be so given over to God that we never think of our gifts, then God can let His own life flow through us. The discipline of negatives is the hardest discipline in the spiritual life, and if you are going through it you ought to shout “Hallelujah,” for it is a sign that God is getting your mind and heart where the mind and heart of Jesus Christ was.

Spiritual gifts must be dealt with in the same way as natural gifts. Spiritual gifts are not glorified gifts, they are the gift of the Spirit. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” None of the gifts Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 are natural gifts. The danger is to say, “How highly favoured I must be if God gives me this great gift”; “what a wonderful person I must be.” We never talk like that, but the slightest thought that looks upon the gifts of the Spirit as a favour to us is the first thing that will take us out of the central point of Jesus Christ’s teaching. Never look at the work of God in and through you; never look at the way God uses you in His service; immediately you do, you put your mind away from where Jesus Christ wants to get it. Gifts are gifts, not graces.

[b](b) The Development of Nobility (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)[/b]

Paul is calling his own mind to a halt in order to explain to the Corinthian Church why what he says and does comes with authority. “Our sufficiency is from God; Who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant” (rv). If you are right with God, you will be amazed at what other people get in the way of real spiritual help out of what you say; but never think about it. The temptation comes all along to say, “It is because I brooded that God gave me that thought.” The right attitude is to keep the mind absolutely concentrated on God and never get off on the line of how you are being used by Him. Even in the choicest of saints there is the danger. Whenever you feel inclined to say, “Well, of course that was not me, that was God,” beware! you ought never to be in the place where you can think it. The teaching of Jesus is, “Be absorbed with Me, and out of you will flow rivers of living water” If we are paying attention to the Source, rivers of living water will pour out of us, but immediately we stop paying attention to the Source, the outflow begins to dry up. We have nothing to do with our “usability,” but only with our relationship to Jesus Christ, nothing must be allowed to come in between.

Have we allowed this path of discernment to be trodden by our feet? Are we beginning to see where we are being led, viz. to the place where we are rooted and grounded in God? The one essential thing is to live the life hid with Christ in God.

Oswald Chambers


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Mike Balog

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 Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

[b]The Pain of Deliverance[/b]

[i]And Jesus called a little child unto Him . . . and said, . . . Except ye . . . become as little children . . . (Matthew 18:2-3)

For when the vain imagination and ignorance are turned into an understanding and knowledge of the truth, the claiming of anything for our own will cease of itself.[/i]

A healthy man does not know what health is: a sick man knows what health is, because he has lost it; and a saint rightly related to God does not know what the will of God is because he is the will of God. A disobedient soul knows what the will of God is because he has disobeyed. The illustration Jesus gives to His disciples of a saintly life is a little child. Jesus did not put up a child as an ideal, but to show them that ambition has no place whatever in the disposition of a Christian. The life of a child is unconscious in its fullness of life, and the source of its life is implicit love. To be made children over again causes pain because we have to reconstruct our mental ways of looking at things after God has dealt with our heart experience. Some of us retain our old ways of looking at things, and the deliverance is painful. Paul urges that we allow the pain—“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”; “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” It is hard to do it. In the beginning we are so anxious—“Lord, give me a message for this meeting,” until we learn that if we live in the centre of God’s will, He will give us messages when He likes and withhold them when He likes. We try to help God help Himself to us; we have to get out of the way and God will help Himself to our lives in every detail. Have we learned to form the mind of Christ by the pain of deliverance till we know we are drawing on Him for everything? Are we sacrificing our holy selves to the will of Jesus as He did to the will of His Father? Are we beginning to speak what God wants us to speak because we are submitting our intelligence to Him? “The Son can do nothing of Himself.” Our Lord never allowed such a thought as, “I have done that,” in His mind. Have we spiritual discernment like that? If not, remember what the Apostle James says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

[b](a) The Plunge into God (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)[/b]

[i]Now when a man duly perceiveth these things in himself he and the creature fall behind, and he doth not call anything his own, and the less he taketh this knowledge unto himself the more perfect doth it become. So also is it with the will and love, and desire, and the like. For the less we call these things our own, the more perfect and noble and Godlike do they become, and the more we think them our own, the baser and less pure and perfect do they become.[/i]

The only way to learn to swim is to take the plunge, sink or swim; that is exactly the idea here. Will I cut loose from all moorings and plunge straight into God? It is what the New Testament is continually urging—“Let go.” Life goes on in a series of coveting the best gifts, but, Paul says, “a still more excellent way shew I unto you” (rv)—take an absolute plunge into the love of God, and when you are there you will be amazed at your foolishness for not getting there before. It is not the question of the surrender of a soul for sanctification, but the unreserved surrender of a sanctified soul to God. We are so reserved where we ought to be unreserved, and so unreserved where we ought to be reserved. We ought never to be reserved towards God but utterly open, perfectly one with Him all through. After the experience of sanctification we have to present our sanctified self to God, and one of the greatest difficulties in doing this is considering the conditions other people say we have to observe. “They themselves, . . . comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding” (rv). Watch how tied up we are with other people’s notions of what we should be. The only way to get rid of it all is to take this plunge into the love of God. We have to form the mind of Christ until we are absorbed in Him and take no account of the evil done to us. No love on earth can do this but the love of God.

[b](b) The Participation in Godliness (Philippians 3:7-8)[/b]

[i]We must cast all things from us, and strip ourselves of them; we must refrain from claiming anything for our own.[/i]

“. . . for Whom I suffered the loss of all things” (rv). To experience the loss of all things for anyone but Jesus Christ is mental suicide. Read what Our Lord said to the rich young ruler —” “Sell whatsoever thou hast, . . . and come, follow Me —“Reduce yourself until you are a mere conscious man, and then give that manhood to Me”; and we read that “his countenance fell at the saying, and he went away sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions”(rv). Do you possess a reputation as a Christian worker? That will be in the way when the Lord speaks to you. Are you rich in the consciousness that you are somebody spiritually? That will be in the way. You must first estimate and then experience the loss of all things and cast yourself on Jesus, then participation in godliness will be yours as it never has been.

[i]When we do this, we shall have the best, fullest, clearest and noblest knowledge that a man can have, and also the noblest and purest love, will and desire; for then these will be all of God alone. It is much better that they should be God’s than the creature’s.[/i]

The oneness Jesus Christ prayed for in John 17 is the oneness of identity, not of union. “I and My Father are one,” and by the Atonement our Lord brings us into identity with Himself—“that they may be one, even as We are one.”

Oswald Chambers


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Mike Balog

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 Re: Oswald Chambers ~ If Thou Wilt Be Perfect . . .

Quote:
a saint rightly related to God does not know what the will of God is because he is the will of God....Watch how tied up we are with other people’s notions of what we should be. The only way to get rid of it all is to take this plunge into the love of God...Read what Our Lord said to the rich young ruler —” “Sell whatsoever thou hast, . . . and come, follow Me...do you possess a reputation as a Christian worker? That will be in the way when the Lord speaks to you. Are you rich in the consciousness that you are somebody spiritually?



Oswald certainly knew how to turn our eyes from our love for Jesus so that our attention could remain fixed on Jesus himself.

MC


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Mike Compton

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