I recalled having read a certain quote by Oswald Chambers quite some time ago. However, whenever I tried to find it again, I failed, since I could not remember the exact wording. Just today as I was searching the net for mystical experiences by Christians, I would find some criticism about the very word “mysticism” by T.A. Sparks and A.W. Tozer instead. Of course, there has been false mysticism in Christianity, too, but not all mystical experiences were wrong. As long as one gets closer and closer to the Living God, I would never dare to say that mysticism was a bad thing. The false mystical experience might get obvious to us when we realize that it has caused the believer to get more and more focused on his own person and “ministry” than on the person of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Pride about knowing more than others, arrogance toward not-so-spiritual believers, and sometimes even a sort of megalomania (about what God would be able to do through the little “ME”) go hand in hand with Satan’s spiritual suggestions.
Later I also found another writing on the internet by a man who tried to prove Oswald Chambers and Watchman Nee wrong. Reading his deliberations, it got more and more clear to me that the carnal mind can never understand what the spiritual mind already knows due to its experiences with God and Jesus. The skilled theologian might find countless Scriptures to support his theories and thoughts about Christian mystics being deceived, however, what he does not know, it seems, is that our reason and logic cannot but understand the very surface of what was written in the Bible. The very depth of Scripture, albeit, reveals itself only through the Holy Spirit that indwells the believer and continually teaches him subliminally what is true and what is not true, even according to the Scriptures. The apostle Paul told us,
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:14-16 ESV)
And the apostle John wrote,
“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 Jn 2:26-27 ESV)
Reading this Scripture, it dawned on me that we can only be deceived if we have not received the anointing of the Holy Spirit yet or, when we have received it, we stop abiding in Him and His love. There is a common “deception” I would like to point out here, which has to do with the Chambers’ quote I had been looking for. Although it is not a real deception, it is rather a saddening sort of confusion that has grieved so many believers because they were taught wrongly about salvation. Eventually, here is not only the Oswald Chambers’ quote (which I highlighted in bold letters), but his whole devotional.
The Staggering Question
June 1, 2015
He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” —Ezekiel 37:3
Can a sinner be turned into a saint? Can a twisted life be made right? There is only one appropriate answer— “O Lord God, You know” (Ezekiel 37:3). Never forge ahead with your religious common sense and say, “Oh, yes, with just a little more Bible reading, devotional time, and prayer, I see how it can be done.”
It is much easier to do something than to trust in God; we see the activity and mistake panic for inspiration. That is why we see so few fellow workers with God, yet so many people working for God. We would much rather work for God than believe in Him. Do I really believe that God will do in me what I cannot do? The degree of hopelessness I have for others comes from never realizing that God has done anything for me. Is my own personal experience such a wonderful realization of God’s power and might that I can never have a sense of hopelessness for anyone else I see? Has any spiritual work been accomplished in me at all? The degree of panic activity in my life is equal to the degree of my lack of personal spiritual experience.
“Behold, O My people, I will open your graves…” (Ezekiel 37:12). When God wants to show you what human nature is like separated from Himself, He shows it to you in yourself. If the Spirit of God has ever given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God (and He will only do this when His Spirit is at work in you), then you know that in reality there is no criminal half as bad as you yourself could be without His grace. My “grave” has been opened by God and “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18). God’s Spirit continually reveals to His children what human nature is like apart from His grace.
In closing, I dare to raise two additional, maybe challenging questions.
Do we believe that others will be saved because of our witness or because Christ is Savior? Can we trust Him and His unconditional love so much that we are convinced He loves our neighbors/loved ones/co-workers just as much as He loves us?