The Finish Line

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Why is the last course the hardest?

It seems uphill the rest of the way.

 

 

~ So that you will know that nothing has been of your own strength.

It has been only by the will of the Father, the promise and calling of the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit that you have breathed, moved and had any being in this world. (Acts 17:28)

In the whole of life endurance comes only by His working His strength in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)  You can continue on as you rest your weariness on Him.

When you cannot move He will carry you the remainder of the way.

 To the Israelites He said, “I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” Exodus 19:4

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Isaiah 41:10 

“Are not the angels all ministering spirits  sent out in the service
of those who are to inherit salvation?”
Hebrews 1:14

Dear Father, thank you that your grace is sufficient, and that your strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.  Let us be content in our infirmities knowing that the power of Christ rests on us, as your people.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Humility and Death to Self ~ Chapter 10

In this Year of Humility we have been learning from Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) the meaning, the means, and the working of humility in the Christian life. In this tenth chapter we come to the aim of humility, the end goal, and that is, death. Let us remember where humility originated, and follow its course to the effect it has in our own lives.

Humility began in heaven with God. In Jesus He condescended to the human level, so that He might save us from our sinful state. Christ, in humility and obedience to the Father’s will, with no plans of His own, gave up His position of glory to live a life here on earth, a life that He would share with us. For Him to accomplish this act for our salvation He had to humble Himself in order to die.

climber_offering_help_h_27770948_stdWhat if, in a very strategic situation, you need help? Someone offers, but you refuse, because the terms of the one who is able to help you are not to your liking. You die because you refused what could have saved your life.

What if, in a life-threatening position, you have the opportunity to live, but you cannot let go of something that you are holding on to.

These are both cases that are analogous to refusal of the salvation that is offered in Christ.

Again, think of life that is promised if we not only let go of things that we hold dear in this life, but to give up our own life. Death to self is the only means of true life. And humility is the only means of coming to the end of self. Without humility there is no promise for life.  True humility leads us to die to self. In all this we see that the true life is the humble life that is ours in Christ; now and for eternity.

“Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Matthew 16:25

Revelation, Desire, Prayer, Reality
I speak from experience, as I say that humility is not a human trait, but that gift from heaven, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, given to men for the abundant life that He promised those who come to Him. As much as I desire to live the humble life it seems still a supernatural life that I look forward to and pray for. As soon as I think I have a little humility, the oppressive spirit of the enemy assaults, and pride rears its ugly head.
(Oppression is a subject that I am studying and hope to write about.)

In Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians he teaches us that the flesh and the Spirit are at war against each other. The hope (another gift) that we are given keeps us in prayer and more watchfulness against the wiles of the devil. He wants us dead, but not to self.

These truths are revealed to us by the Spirit, regenerating us with a new heart and a new spirit; so that we, seeing our ignorance and pride come to repentance and faith, our first step of humility toward growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. One step leads to another as we desire this humility, pray for it, and by His working, humble ourselves, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.


God Uses All Things for Our Humbling
Every time I read this book I come away with the same impressive statement Murray makes in this chapter. It is similar to Romans 8:28-29. It has made a difference in my life to see everything under God’s sovereignty working through everything whatever He wants to do in my life.

“Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-man as a help to remain humble before God. It is by the mighty strengthening of His Holy Spirit that God reveals Christ fully in you.”

“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
Romans 8:25

Dear Father, you knew when you started all this, that we would need everything from you to make it work to your glory. All that you expect from us is supernatural and beyond our doing; but you have put it into our hearts and promised us, that you are exceedingly abundantly able to do more than we can ask for or imagine, by the power of your Spirit working in us. Thank you for coming down to us that you might bring us up to yourself. Enable us to die to self; to raise up by your divine power to live in praise unto you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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GOD’S GLORY ~ Not Ours

If God had created us for our own glory wouldn’t He have made life easier?  Why does starting, and getting through, a normal day require so much?  And why are we not satisfied and content with all that we do?  Is it not because God, our Creator, planned more for His creation than we are able to understand or to live up to, on our own.

He proved this, by leaving our first parents to themselves.  A day without the constant companionship of the Father left them open to their own imaginations and the temptations of this world, and they failed to live up to the standard by, and for which, they were created.

GOD is His own standard of excellence, a standard that no one can reach.  He must, through His own plan of redemption, bring us into this relationship of Father and child; and in His own timing and means of grace conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Without this we will continue to work for our own success and glory, hoping and trying to “be like God,” and failing miserably.

Only as He does a continual work in our hearts and lives by the authority of His Word and the supernatural power of His Holy Spirit, daily leading, teaching, and bringing us up in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord  Jesus Christ” can we ever know the true purpose for our creation and redemption—His glory and our joy.

“God is faithful, by whom you  were called  into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.”                     1 Corinthians 1:9

Now to him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, world without end. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20, 21