God?

Problem of Pain Cover

Before we reject God, it is best to make sure we know Him as He is and not as we have wrongly imagined him to be. This first of three brief posts on the theme of God comes from C. S. Lewis.

“God is Goodness. He can give good, but cannot need or get it. In that sense all His love is, as it were, bottomlessly selfless by very definition; it has everything to give and nothing to receive. Hence, if God sometimes speaks as though the Impassible could suffer passion and eternal fullness could be in want, and in want of those beings on whom it bestows all, from their bare existence upwards, this can mean only, if it means anything intelligible by us, that God of mere miracle has made Himself able so to hunger, and created in Himself that which we can satisfy. If He requires us, the requirement is of His own choosing.”

From The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

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Learning by doing?

Utmost
It doesn’t come naturally to us to be obedient naturally and neither does it come naturally to us to be obedient spiritually, just by virtue of the fact that we have been born again, through faith in Christ. If Jesus himself, although God’s Son, ‘learned obedience through what he suffered’, how much more must we (learn obedience) regardless of the intensity of our first meeting with Jesus? This third brief post on the theme of obedience comes from Oswald Chambers…

And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” Acts 9:5a ESV

By the miracle of redemption Saul of Tarsus was turned in one second from a strong-willed, intense Pharisee into a humble, devoted slave of the Lord Jesus.There is nothing miraculous about the things we can explain. We command what we are able to explain, consequently it is natural to seek to explain. It is not natural to obey; nor is it necessarily sinful to disobey. There is no moral virtue in obedience unless there is a recognition of a higher authority in the one who dictates. It is possibly an emancipation to the other person if he does not obey. If one man says to another – ‘You must,’ and ‘You shall,’ he breaks the human spirit and unfits it for God. A man is a slave for obeying unless behind his obedience there is a recognition of a holy God. Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion but Jesus Christ. But woe be to me if when I see Him I say – ‘I will not.’ He will never insist that I do, but I have begun to sign the death-warrant of the Son of God in my soul. When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and say – ‘I will not,’ He will never insist; but I am backing away from the re-creating power of His Redemption. It is a matter of indifference to God’s grace how abominable I am if I come to the light; but woe be to me if I refuse the light (see John 3:19-21).

Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

Obeying God; by faith alone?

Spurgeon
If it is better to say, ‘I have failed’, than to say, ‘I am a failure’, it is also, perhaps, better to say, ‘I have been disobedient ‘, than to say, ‘I am disobedient’; at least it is, I think, a better, right, more hopeful recognition of God’s attitude towards us, once we are made new in Christ, by Grace through faith. This second of three brief posts on the theme of obedience comes from C H Spurgeon…

“By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11:8 KJV

‘THE part of the text to which I shall call your attention lies in these words, By faith Abraham obeyed.” Obedience—what a blessing it would be if we were all trained to it by the Holy Spirit! How fully should we be restored if we were perfect in it! If all the world would obey the Lord, what a heaven on earth there would be! Perfect obedience to God would mean love among men, justice to all classes, and peace in every land. Our will brings envy, malice, war; but the Lord’s will would bring us love, joy, rest, bliss. Obedience—let us pray for it for ourselves and others!’

From a sermon delivered on Thursday evening August 21st, 1890,
by C.H.Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Dancing obedience?

Mere cover

Sometimes the outcomes of our choices are obvious immediately, for good or otherwise. Sometimes we mistake the otherwise for the good; but whenever we find ourselves facing the question, ‘To be, or not to be?’ regarding our obedience to God, what if there is far more at stake than we have thought, every time? This is the first of three brief posts on the theme of obedience and it comes from C. S. Lewis.

‘Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.’ C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

‘In obeying, a rational creature consciously enacts its creaturely role, reverses the act by which we fell, treads Adam’s dance backward and returns.’
C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain

Marvel-less heroes?

Utmost
What’s my super power? As much as I am impressed by the Super Heroes of popular culture, the Avengers, Superman, all of the X-Men (and Women) with all of their Super Powers, I still find that the (fictional) heroes without Super Powers are the ones who encourage me best; like Frodo and Sam. But the real-life heroes, the most noticeably human heroes of life-as-it-really-is, impress me most of all. This third brief post on the theme of drudgery also comes from Oswald Chambers.

‘…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’  (1 Cor. 10:31)

‘The great marvel of the Incarnation slips into ordinary childhood’s life; the great marvel of the Transfiguration vanishes in the devil-possessed valley; the glory of the Resurrection descends into a breakfast on the sea-shore. This is not an anti-climax but a great revelation of God. The tendency is to look for the marvelous in our experience; we mistake the sense of the heroic for being heroes. It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us. If we do not want mediaeval haloes, we want something that will make people say-‘What a wonderful man of prayer he is!’ ‘What a pious, devoted woman she is!’ If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing you, all that is noticed is that the power of God comes through you all the time.

‘Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!’ It takes Almighty God Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty to the glory of God. It takes God’s Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable. The test of the life of a saint is not success, but faithfulness in human life as it actually is. We will set up success in Christian work as the aim; the aim is to manifest the glory of God in human life, to live the life hid with Christ in God in human conditions. Our human relationships are the actual conditions in which the ideal life of God is to be exhibited.’

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest