being born again, called by God, devotion, entering the Kingdom of God, experience, fame, family, following Jesus, friends, Humility, humor, Jesus Christ, miracles, Ordinary Life, Oswald Chambers, relationships, revelation, sanctification, servanthood, success, the new self, the old self, walking by the spirit
Just reading Oswald Chambers’ devotional from tomorrow, I was truly hit by what he had to say. I need to admit that it does not happen very often that I appreciate his devotionals because I do not like his sometimes accusatory style of writing (preaching). I am paraphrasing him here a bit, “Do you think you have already arrived? Are you sure you belong to the Lord Jesus? You should not do this … you should not do that… you [seem to do it all wrong – the latter were my words].” This posture reminds me of preachers on the pulpit who seemingly dwell in another, higher spiritual region than their more or less attentive audience does. If we compare such accusations with how often the apostle Paul humbled himself before other, less mature Christians, we might know where and when we must be cautious about believing what we hear or read from other people. Nonetheless, I can tell you whenever Chambers goes over to including himself into what he has to say, I am happy! Lo and behold… below. 😊
In the Scriptures, the great miracle of the incarnation slips into the ordinary life of a child; the great miracle of the transfiguration fades into the demon-possessed valley below; the glory of the resurrection descends into a breakfast on the seashore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.
We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, “What a wonderful man of prayer he is!” or, “What a great woman of devotion she is!” If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time.
We want to be able to say, “Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!” But to do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. To be utterly unnoticeable requires God’s Spirit in us making us absolutely humanly His. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life. We tend to set up success in Christian work as our purpose, but our purpose should be to display the glory of God in human life, to live a life “hidden with Christ in God” in our everyday human conditions (Colossians 3:3). Our human relationships are the very conditions in which the ideal life of God should be exhibited.
I can only add a heartfelt ‘AMEN’ here! It is so true that from God’s perspective that which is important in this world (appearance, money, fame, or success) is neither interesting nor important in the kingdom of God. Quite the contrary! The most unimportant saint on earth, not known to anyone but to a handful of people will be most important in heaven if he proves to be a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ in his days on earth. Not yet convinced? Our Lord told us the following parables. At first this parable …to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Lk 14:7-11 ESV)
Who Is the Greatest?
The child in the latter parable is a metaphor of the innocence and humility of a Christian’s newly born nature IN Christ. Outside of Christ, instead, our old nature tends to crave for the highest place, the greatest throne, longs to be the best speaker, writer, counselor, the acknowledged Christian expert, the teacher-preacher-every-feature. I guess you get the picture. So, what does a real saint who will most certainly sit on a high throne in heaven look like, finally? In my view, here is one example.