[b]Part 5: Good Gifts From a Loving God[/b]
First of all, I would say that this blessed life must not in any way be looked upon as an attainment, but as an obtainment. We cannot earn it. We cannot strive for it. We cannot win it. We can do nothing but ask for it and receive it. It is the gift of God in Christ Jesus. And when something is a gift, the only course left for the receiver is to take it and thank the giver for it. Everything in our salvation is a gift. From beginning to end, God is the giver and we are the receivers. God does not give to those who do great things. He gives to those who "receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness" (Romans 5:17), the richest promises.
In order to enter into a practical experience of this interior life, the soul must be in a receptive attitude, fully recognizing the fact that the higher Christian life is God's gift in Christ Jesus, and that it cannot be gained by any efforts or works of our own. This will greatly simplify the matter. The only thing left to be considered is to discover who receives this gift from God and how they receive it. In short, He can bestow it only upon the fully consecrated soul. And finally, it is to be received by faith. Consecration (the act of setting apart for the service of God) removes the difficulties out of the way and makes it possible for God to bestow the higher Christian life.
To some minds the word "abandonment" might express the idea better than the word "consecration." But whatever the word we use, we mean an entire surrender of the whole being to God - spirit, soul, and body placed under His absolute control, for Him to do with us just what He pleases. The language of our hearts, under all circumstances and in view of every act, is to be "Thy will be done." Freedom of choice must be given up. A life of complete obedience is the key.
This may appear to be difficult to those who truly do not know God. But to those who know Him, it is the happiest and most restful of lives. He is our Father, He loves us, and He knows just what is best for us. Therefore, His will is the most blessed thing that can come to us under any circumstances. I do not understand how it is that the eyes of so many Christians have been blinded to this fact. But it really would seem as if God's own children were more afraid of His will than of anything else in life - His lovely, loveable will, which only means loving-kindness and tender mercies and blessings unspeakable to their souls! I wish I could show every one the immeasurable sweetness of the will of God. He loves us - [i]loves us[/i], I say - and the will of love is always blessing for its loved one.
Some of us know what it is to love, and we know that if we could only have our way, our loved ones would be overwhelmed with blessings. All that is good and sweet and lovely in life would be poured out upon them from our lavish hands, if we only had the power to carry out our will for them. And if this is the way we love, how much more it must be so with God, who is love itself! If we for one moment could get a glimpse into the mighty depths of His love, our hearts would spring out to meet His will and embrace it as our richest treasure. We would abandon ourselves to it with an enthusiasm of gratitude and joy that such a wondrous privilege could be ours.
Many Christians seem to think that all their Father in heaven wants is a chance to make them miserable and to take away all their blessings. They imagine, poor souls, that if they try to govern things by their will they can hinder Him from doing this. I am ashamed to write this, yet we must face a fact which is making hundreds of lives miserable.
Better and sweeter than health, or friends, or money, or fame, or ease, or prosperity, is the adorable will of our God. It gilds the darkest hours with a divine halo, and sheds brightest sunshine on the gloomiest paths. The first step you must take in order to enter into the life hid with Christ in God, is that of entire consecration. I beg you not to look at it as a difficult and stern demand. You must do it gladly, thankfully, enthusiastically. You must go in on what I call the privilege side of consecration. I can assure you, from the universal testimony of all who have tried it, that you will find it the happiest place you have ever entered yet.
[i]I am currently reading through Hannah Whitall Smiths classic [u]A Christian's Secret of a Happy Life[/u] and couldn't continue without sharing this treasure I have found with you. I hope you will be blessed as I have been. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.[/i]