The High Calling To Obscurity

If God has called you to be really like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of Christ-like humility, and put on you such demands of obedience that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do. 

Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it: and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent (Acts 16:6-7). 

Others can brag on themselves, on their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing; and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification of pride that will make you despise yourself in His light, along with all your good works done apart from Him (Matt. 5:16)  

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries;  but God may supply you daily because He wants you to have something far better than gold, and that is a helpless dependence on Him that He may have the privilege of providing your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury (Phil 4:19).  The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you tucked away in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade (1 Cor. 3:12-13) 

God will sometimes let others be great but keep you small (1 Pet. 5:6).  He will often let others do a work for Him, and get the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing or the difference it might make (Is. 49:4).  And then, to make your work still more precious, He will allow others get the credit for the work which you have done and this will make your reward ten times greater when Christ comes.  The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for seemingly insignificant words and feelings or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.  

So, make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with those He purchased with His blood.  He will not always explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in how He deals with you.  God will take you at your word that you want to obey, and if you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave then He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot say or do. 

Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes in ways that other followers are not dealt with (Jn. 21:22).  And then, when you are so possessed with the Living God that you are in your secret heart pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, then you will have found the peace that passes all understanding — the kind of peace that comes with being content in His will for every circumstance (Phil 4:12).

(Adapted from a Beeson Divinity School chapel service - 1994).       

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