Monday, July 26, 2010

The Inner Chamber

Just a few days ago I posted about Oswald Chambers and my love/hate view of him. I have to say, it is mostly love and the "hate" I mentioned is mostly because his entries os My Utmost For His Highest is much like ripping off a band-aid..... good and necessary but it hurts! It smacks of an authority of BIblical truth. I'm not saying I finally agree 100% with some of what he says, but I have a deep respect for him and almost enjoy this daily wrestling with the insight I glean from his classic devotional. Usually when I think of "devotional" I think of reading a short one page thing in a book, reading a chapter of the Bible, mostly in an effort to check it off my list and never think of what the devotional said, it was just a tool to think of God first thing in the morning.

Yet, this devotional defies this expectation. Surprisingly, the daily readings are short, oftentimes shorter than many other devotional books, yet they are not easily forgotten or dismissed. I am usually challenged by them and think about what he had to say in relation to my life, my beliefs, my actions and my devotion to God.

I gave up on devotionals about 10 years ago, mostly because it was "going through the motions." The books I had were not compelling and seemed to add very little to my day. Now, this could be because I wasn't really trying to get anything out of it, but I do wonder if the books I chose really did not challenge or inspire thought. Much of the "devotionals" today are self-affirming, telling us how valuable we are, how God sees us as beautiful, how important we women are and not to be discouraged that we don't get things done, to trust and love Jesus who loves unconditionally. It is implied that God expects very little of us and that a 5 minute devotion time will be honored by God and change one's whole day.

Contrast the fluff to Mr. Chambers..... I have been pounded by him! There is no fluff. Yes, God loves us! Amazingly, he does even though there is nothing redeeming about us except Christ alone and it is in the cross that we find hope and comfort. He does have expectations of us, and yet.... it is not about following the rules or laws. It is deeper, more loftier than merely that.

I just finished reading a short article about Oswald Chambers in a book by Warren Wiersbe called 50 People Every Christian Should Know In it I learned quite a bit more about Mr. Chambers. Did you know that he did not author his books? They all bear his name, but it was his wife, who was an expert stenographer, that recorded his sermons and later compiled them into books.

In Warren Wiersbe's book, he writes that Mr. Chambers in "many respects was not in tune with the general spirit of evangelical Christianity in his day. On his way to Egypt, he wrote in his journal: "How unproselytizing God is! I feel the 'soul winning campaign' is often at the heart of the apotheosis [glorification] of commercialism, the desire to see so much result from so much expenditure. THe ordinary evangelical spirit is less and less congenial to my own soul." His writings are a good antidote to the success philosophy that has invaded the church in our own day. He said that "the 'soul saving passion' as an aim must cease and merge into the passion for Christ, revealing itself in holiness in all human relationships." In other words, soul-winning is not something we do, it is something we are, twenty-four hours a day, and we live for souls because we love Christ. No counting trophies in his ministry.

The book lists a few quotes, in hopes of intriguing readers to turn to the pagres of an Oswald Chambers book. Here are a few Mr. Wiersbe lists:

"You can never give another person that which you have found, but you can make him homesick for what you have."

If we are saved and sanctified, God guides us by your ordinary choices, and if we are going to choose what He does not want, He will check, and we must heed. "

"Every doctrine that is not imbedded in the cross of Jesus will lead astray."

"Stop having a measuring rod for other people. There is always one fact more in every man's case about which we know nothing."

"It takes a long time to realizing the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God's order for others."

Our Lord's first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father."

"Never make a principle out of your own experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you."

Mr. Wiersbe also highlights this quote from Mr. Chambers," The snare in Christian work is to rejoice in successful service, to rejoice in the fact that God has used you.... If you make usefulness the test, then Jesus Christ was th greatest failure that ever lived. The lodestar of the Saint is God Himself, not estimated usefulness. It is the work that God does through us that countes, not what we can do for Him."

Truly, the reason I struggle with My Utmost For His Highest is because it is so hard-hitting. I completely feel I could read this devotioanal every year and never grow tired or bored with it, because it is truth and He challenges on so many levels.

Everyone should read My Utmost For His Highest, though even Mr. Wiersbe writes that when he recounted to a mature Christian friend he was getting nothing out of it, she replied, "Set it aside for a time.....It's something you have to grow into." But it is a delight to have such a book that challenges, provokes thoughts and questions and a book that can and should be re-read.

No comments:

Post a Comment