feelings, God our Father, God's love, happiness, Jesus Christ, joy, prayer, salvation, Satan, self-forgetfulness, self-will, selflessness, suffering, T.A. Sparks, The Holy Spirit, the new self, the old self, trials, true faith
I just bumped into a blog where someone was praised to the skies for being able to do gymnastics at an advanced age. There is nothing wrong about such a laudation in itself since this and similar things are that which our fallen world can exclusively look at. Whatever is visible, audible, tangible, countable, measurable, yes, everything that is perceptible by our senses will be praised if it promises pleasure to people. As I skimmed through the comments section of this blog post, the longest response there caught my eye. The commenter, of course, was still older than the aforementioned person who would receive rave reviews, and he, outrageously, won this and that competition at an even higher age. Dear reader, it was almost impossible for me to finish reading their self-praise by which I felt greatly repelled. What about those people who cannot behave as they would want? What about those who are sick and cannot move their bodies any longer as they would love to? I doubt you will find any writing on the internet where these people are praised… BUT…
But God! Jesus Christ had compassion for sinners, for sick people, and for all weak people. He even came to save primarily these because they KNEW they needed a Savior. The righteous, the healthy, the strong, and the successful, however, well, do they ever need God as long as they are able to manage their lives on their own? Furthermore, has Jesus ever put Himself on a pedestal as the natural man continually does? Didn’t He point, instead, to His Father whose will He had come to fulfill? And the Holy Spirit that has come to us on Pentecost, has He ever praised Himself as God? Does the Holy Spirit not incessantly praise our Lord and direct us to pray to our Father God in heaven? Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit is God also. He is not an ethereal energy that makes us feel like super gods ourselves as some esoteric Christians might try to make us believe. Also, what about God, our Father? Jesus told us the following,
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me — not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” (Jn 6:44-47 ESV)
Isn’t it amazing that all three persons of the Trinity rarely refer to themselves, but rather to the other two? This is only possible for someone who does not have a self-focus at all. Our inherent fallen Old Adam nature has been cut off from God’s presence because of our self which is somehow captured in its own little world to which nobody has access who does not feed our self’s love for itself. Sounds saddening, doesn’t it? But there is hope, brothers and sisters. 😉 Let us look at what T. Austin Sparks had to say about the salvation of our souls from their separating self-focus.
Through trial and testing and by way of faith our souls are brought to complete deliverance from the grip of Satan and self over them, bringing them into fellowship with Christ and out of fellowship with Satan, bringing deliverance from the self-principle which was brought into the soul by Adam’s decision. That is the salvation of our souls.
It will be a grand thing and this is what these scattered believers to whom Peter was writing had grasped. The language may sound extravagant – “ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory” – but they have grasped something. What have they grasped? They have seen that the time is coming when all this wretched, horrid, beastly self-principle that is in the creation, causing all this trouble in every one of us, will have been finally rooted out and replaced by the Christ-principle of utter selflessness where we are never affected or influenced by our own feelings, our own interests and how things touch us, but where we shall be completely delivered from our own souls, these souls which are a curse to us every day, our feelings, our ideas, our wants and our wills. If only we could be completely oblivious of ourselves, be completely free from ourselves, how happy we would be! These people grasped that the time was coming when it would be like that, their faith had laid hold of it and they rejoiced with joy unspeakable. That is the grace which is coming with the revelation of Jesus Christ. That is the prospect, and the trials and sufferings of the present time are working toward that – to get us free from ourselves, to turn us out from ourselves. They had grasped that and they laid hold of the end of their faith. By faith they received the end of their faith and they rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
If we are oppressed by our own souls and bothered by our own souls, let us at least turn our thoughts and praise God that the day is coming when we shall be completely emancipated from ourselves. It might be that if only we could take that attitude of faith and lay hold of that by faith, the joy would spring up now.
I want to repeat Jesus’ words of the Scripture I pasted above. He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” Eternal life is life in the here and now, it is a life that knows no sting of death any longer, a life that comprises our past, our present, and our future. Eternal life is knowing God and Jesus as John 17:3 confirms. May God help us believe as we should. Please, help our unbelief, Lord. Amen.