Over the year, if anyone is reading this they will notice my sometimes like/sometimes frustration with the ideas of Oswald Chambers. While his book is called a “classic” his writings are often about the flaws and responsibilities of humanity when the Scripture passage he uses is about the perfections and performance of our God and Savior.
I am absolutely certain that I become more like Jesus by focusing on Him, not looking at myself. I need to see my sin so it can be confessed, but after that, my efforts to do the will of God totally depend on the power of the Holy Spirit. I know that I can do nothing without His grace and power.
That said, sometimes Chambers writes profound gems that produce in me a resounding ‘amen.’ Today’s words are in that category. Because it is Canadian Thanksgiving, they are particularly a good way to start this day. (It is 7:00 a.m. as I read his words and read God’s Word.)
Chambers uses different words than I would use, but we agree that Christians are either right or not. When filled with the Holy Spirit, I am in the will of God. When filled with myself and my own ideas, I am not.
He says: “It is not study that does it, but obedience. The tiniest fragment of obedience, and heaven opens and the profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already.”
To learn the will of God, I must step into the light I already have. It is like walking a dark path with a flashlight. The path becomes illuminated as I move forward. This is a simple principle; obey what He says and He will give me more.
Chambers makes another point: we are not given truth because we are smart. Truth is for those who obey what they already know . . .
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children..." (Matthew 11:25)
This principle shows up in Romans also . . .
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (Romans 1:18–25)
Essentially, Paul says God reveals His power and nature in what He has created. Those who reject that revelation are not given more truth. Instead, their hearts are darkened and they cannot move forward for they have not stepped into the light He has already given them. By standing still, they eventually move backwards into a life of idolatry and sin.
As a Christian, when I am given light and do not obey it, I also stand still and even move backwards. As Chambers says: “Turn away for one second out of obedience, and darkness and death are at work at once.”
Disobedience leaves me stuck with trying to be a godly person with only what I know, but without the fullness of the Holy Spirit giving me His grace, goodness, and power. It is living according to the flesh . . . and the only way out of it is confessing sinful disobedience, receiving God’s forgiveness and grace, and picking up my flashlight and moving forward. I am to be like a child who trusts her Daddy, a baby who understands that truth is found in doing the next thing that my Father tells me.