Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The self life {continued}

b. The desire to help ourselves

Another form of our own ego is the desire to help ourselves. Nothing seems to be more difficult for our natures than to be silent and to wait; it seems much easier for us to act, even if we bring ourselves into difficulties by so doing. “Shall I smite with the sword?” we say with Peter. “Shall we call fire down from heaven?” we ask with James and John. Saul’s downfall began with his failure to wait until God came to him. Only a few hours more and the Lord would have established his kingdom forever. Even Abraham, who in the school of God had learned to wait as none other had, became guilty of this sin when he allowed Sarah to give him the Egyptian Hagar as a concubine, in order to receive by her the seed which God had promised him. As a result God was silent toward him for thirteen years. He had snatched the guidance out of the Lord’s hand. In the belief that he had to help God, he wanted to shorten the time of waiting. That we are no better than Abraham, no one will doubt. Numberless times we have helped, or at least have intended to help, ourselves, thereby causing ourselves grave difficulties and grieving God. In Psalm 37 we find three kinds of answers to prayer:

1. “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He will give thee the desires
of thy heart.”
2. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him!”
3. “Be still before Jehovah, and wait patiently for Him!”

There are things which we ask for today, and tomorrow God gives them to us; there are things which we commit to God and immediately experience that He is active on our behalf; but there are also times when it is necessary to calm our souls and say, “Be still, and wait for Him.” Of giving, committing, and surrendering oneself to God, the last is the most difficult. Only he who has given himself to God can commit himself to Him, and only he who has committed himself to Him can surrender himself to Him. One gives himself to God only once, but one commits himself to Him consciously from day to day, and thus one learns to surrender himself to God also in the evil days. Not before we exercise ourselves in faith can God test us in it. In Genesis 15 we read concerning Abraham how God tried his faith by making him wait for God while he offered his sacrifice.

Seeking to avoid difficulties is another characteristic of our desire to help ourselves. We always try to cut off, or plane away, the cross which God has given us, so that it will be lighter and easier to carry. Jesus did not do this. He bore His cross. His followers are to be known by the cross. When you cut away piece after piece of yours, there finally remains nothing of it of course, but then nothing remains of the Savior either. You say that this or that person must move out of the house because he makes life bitter for you. What is this but to cut away from the cross? You withdraw yourself because you say you are not understood. What is this but to reduce your cross? Although the Jews wanted to stone Jesus, He returned to them. And when His disciples asked in astonishment, “Goest thou thither again?” He replied, “If a man walk in the day he stumbleth not.” Do not extricate yourself from rough hands. God will use them to make you perfect. Concerning Jesus, we read, “The soldiers platted a crown of thorns and put it on His head” (Joh 19:2). He gave His back to the smiters and He hid not His face from shame and spitting (Isa 50:6). He had power to help Himself, but He never used it.

G. Steinberger

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