The Ministry of the Inner Life

You are . . . a royal priesthood . . . —1 Peter 2:9

By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say, “What a wonderful victory I have!” Yet there is nothing at all in that which indicates the miracle of redemption. Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. Then don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”

How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves? We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life.

by Oswald Chambers

Where the Battle Is Won

Matthew 26:36-46

If you want to experience victory in the conflicts and tough decisions facing you, consider what Jesus did. Before He got to the cross, the Lord fought a crucial, pivotal battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He wrestled with what lay ahead.

For our Savior, the weight of sin He would bear was overwhelming. He was about to experience complete spiritual separation from the Father. He went out to a peaceful and quiet place of prayer, where He got alone before the Father and cried out to Him. When Jesus left that garden, He walked out a winner. He would still drink the cup of suffering and separation, but He knew that in the end, He would triumph over it (Heb. 12:2).

Jesus’ example reveals that the key to winning life’s battles is to come before the Father—alone with Him and fully surrendered to His will. Godly counsel is important, but you cannot depend exclusively on others to tell you what to do. If you don’t spend time alone with the Lord, wrestling things out until you know what He is saying, you’ll never be sure you’re doing the right thing.

By making it a habit to spend time alone in God’s presence, you’ll be able to discern His perfect will as you come to major decisions with significant or even lifelong consequences. When you fully surrender to Him, you place the consequences of your choices into His most capable hands. After all, where could your decisions—and your future—be safer than in the control of our all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God?

How Christ Learned Obedience

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)

This verse is a very difficult verse. The Lord Jesus Christ was the very Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the omniscient God, perfect wisdom and complete truth. How could it be that one who knows all things would have to learn anything? Even more particularly, how would He have to learn obedience? He was always obedient to His heavenly Father. “I do always those things that please him,” Christ said (John 8:29). He surely did not have to be chastised like a disobedient child in order to learn obedience, as the verse seems on the surface to be telling us.

He was indeed a Son, and He was never disobedient, but He had to become obedient through actual experience. He “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). The “things which he suffered,” as the innocent Lamb of God, are beyond all human understanding, and His willingness to obey His Father even in this (“nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done”—Luke 22:42) demonstrates the ultimate obedience.

There are many things which one can learn in theory but which are only really learned in practice. The Lord Jesus Christ knew all things by omniscience; nevertheless, He had to learn obedience by actual experience. “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, . . . to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10).

Once having passed this test, He had been “made perfect” as the succeeding verse assures us, and thus has become “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). No act of obedience which He urges upon us can ever be as difficult as the things which He was willing to suffer to provide forgiveness and salvation for us. HMM

That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live

That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live.—Deuteronomy 16:20.

This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.—Deuteronomy 26:16.

NEVER pass by or palter with the clear voice of conscience, with the plain
command of duty; never let it be doubtful to your own soul whether you belong
to the right side or wrong, whether you are a true soldier or a false traitor. Never
deliberate about what is clearly wrong, and try to persuade yourself that it is not.
FREDERICK TEMPLE.

The first resolve of one who gives himself wholly to God must be never to give way deliberately to any fault whatever; never to act in defiance of conscience, never to refuse anything God requires, never to say of anything, It is too small for God to heed. Such a resolution as this is an essential foundation in the spiritual life. I do not mean but that in spite of it we shall fall into inadvertencies, infirmities, errors; but we shall rise up and go on anew from such faults— because they are involuntary, the will has not consented to them. JEAN NICOLAS GROU.

I sought him, but I could not find him: I called him, but he gave me no answer

I sought him, but I could not find him: I called him, but he gave me no answer. Song of Songs 5:6

O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! and the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, for they have even taken of the accursed thing … and they have put it even among their own stuff.

Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Joshua 7:8,10,11. Isaiah 59:1,2. Psalm 66:18. 1 John 3:21,22.

Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps

Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

Even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. — Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

Jesus of Nazareth … went about doing good. — Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

The meekness and gentleness of Christ. — In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do. — Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. —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.

Mark 10:45. Mark 10:44. Acts 10:38. Galatians 6:2. 2 Corinthians 10:1. Philippians 2:3. Luke 23:34. Ephesians 4:32. 1 John 2:6. Hebrews 12:2.