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"But One Thing Is Needful”

When we fully understand that God uses everything in our lives (all thoughts, feelings, words and actions) to “work together for our good,” we can then realize that the sum of all we encounter is but to teach us to know that we need not to wonder if our daily lives are counting for Him in the way He desires. He is the Orchestrator and therefore in control of the finalities of all begotten of Him, in directing our lives through the administration of His work “in” and “for” us (Phil 2:13; Rom 8:28).

Thus wherever we are, it is in His school of training, which will—without fail—always serve to progress us unto our next level of learning. In His omniscience, all has been taken into account, even the wrongs we will inadvertently choose, and has been preplanned to an inevitable single end—to continually “conform” us to the life of the Lord Jesus (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18). This does not address the redemption in which we are “irrevocably” planted (Rom 11:29), but increases our effectiveness in the possession of it!

- NC

 

 

 

“But One Thing Is Needful”

“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things” (Luke10:41). The Lord’s words are very striking. Beloved friends, if you are busy about many things you will not only be busy, but troubled. Martha, we read, “was cumbered (distracted) with much serving”; and she was not only “encumbered,” but also “troubled”—it weighed upon her (vs 40—NC). If you have service that weighs you down, look to it; see well why it is. Plainly that very character would put you along with Martha there.

“And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (vs 39). The Lord takes her up to signify His entire approbation as to where she was and what she was. He has a reproof for Martha’s service, but has only approbation for Mary’s simply sitting at His feet. “But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (vs 42).

Only “one thing.” To what a little point would that diminish all care (e.g. eliminate unnecessary concerns—NC) if we only recognize and bowed to the truth of the Lord’s words. There are a great many needs in the busy world; there are a great many duties that you have, and that Christians think they have to society, to their neighbors, and what not. The Lord here would bring our hearts from everything simply to one—to sit at His feet and hear His Word!

Don’t you feel as if that would leave service out altogether? How is it possible that only a single thing is needful, and Mary had chosen that very part, when there are so many things to do? Are we to leave out service to the Lord? What does it mean? Beloved, this: That the thing which is to be our care is that we receive from the Lord Jesus. And if we are receiving, service and everything else will take care of itself. Mark, I do not mean that you won’t serve. You will. But I say this: that if your care is not for service (i.e. as a priority—NC), but to be receiving from Him, you will find that the “one thing” of which the Lord speaks embraces all the rest.

What our Father wants from us is receptiveness (first, then service—NC). He wants in us the capacity to receive. “Come” and “drink”; and he that believeth on Me (faith being that receptive character in the soul), out of his inner being shall flow rivers of living water.” Mark what a beautiful thing—that out of the innermost of man’s nature (e.g. new nature—NC), the part that craves, the fullness flows.

If rivers of living water flow out of you, this means both testimony and service, surely. It implies real ministry to others, and that God is to get His own from you in the world. But if this is to be true of you, what are the means by which it is to be accomplished? You are to come and drink; you are to come and receive as Mary did, and you will find in this “one thing needful” all other things are contained. Even amid a ruined world, paradise is returned again for him who takes this place at Jesus’ feet—this place of happy dependence to which there is no lack.

You see, the fullness is His, it is not ours. People have the idea that grace in a man is a sort of thing that God puts as it were a seed into the soul, and it is to grow and grow, and develop there into more, so that he has consciously more and more. That is not it at all! Surely I do not mean to say that a man is not born of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, and that as so born he does not grow. Certainly he does; but that is another thing (grace admits in only one degree but understanding it deeper ever increases—NC). From the very beginning of growth this ought to be true of us.

Beloved, the blessedness we speak of is to be found in that which God has already given to us, if we are Christians—that which the Apostle sets forth in Colossians 2:9 and 10 (the key of the epistle): “In Christ dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are filled up in Him.” Now, if that is really so, you see your competence at once. God has given you place, your part, in Him already. And think, beloved, that in One in whom is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, in Him we are “filled up!” Faith has got to recognize this. Faith has got to make it all practical. Not to make the thing true—it is true—but we have to recognize it to find the proper truth of it.

Alas, we are all Marthas, apt to be busy with much serving. And the last thing which we naturally think of is to come to the Lord to find satisfaction in Him alone. You think, “If He is such a glorious Person, He must be served. No, if He is such a glorious Person, would He come down from heaven to earth to be served by us? Was it not more adequate faith in Mary, saying, as it were, “If He had wanted service, He would not ask for it from such poor, incompetent hands as ours.” “The less is blessed of the better” (Heb 7:7). It is not more blessed to receive, but “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” And are we trying to serve the Lord Jesus? Take care we are not trying to be “the better,” and to make Him “the less” (of course inadvertently so—NC).  Are we trying to serve Him, when He had to come from heaven to serve us?

What is the secret, beloved ones, of all the dishonor done to Him (alas!) by His people? It is that they are not where Mary was—they are not in the place of real occupation with Himself. That is what the Lord wants. He has come all this weary way to attract our hearts to Himself. He wants us to receive out of His fullness—He want us simply to receive. Not to get us to say, after a little while, “I must be doing something now” (receive to do, not to do then receive—NC). He wants us to receive, receive and receive!

If it is only receiving from Him, every other responsibility will be met easily—not by effort, but met of necessity. This will come after you own soul is fully satisfied; for the vessel must be filled itself before it can properly flow over. It is not from a vessel that is partly full that you expect an overflow. You must sit at His feet until you are filled yourself—that is the first thing. And when filled yourself, don’t think that you require effort then. As surly as you are filled yourself, out of your inner being shall flow “rivers of living water.” How slow are we to receive in its full reality the grace that requires not, but gives—that delights to give—that only seeks to have objects for it; the grace that, simply as we receive it, we find not only fullness for ourselves, but that which makes our lives full also for others.

That “one thing” needful is occupation with Him—to sit at His feet and learn of Him. So then, if we want to serve Him, the only possible way is to receive from Him first until our hearts are so full that we cannot contain it any longer. The overflow is not measured by the capacity of the vessel, but by the power of the spring. Think of that! Think of our testimony in the world being the testimony of the divine fullness—not the measure of what we are, but the measure, so to speak, of what He is. The “one thing” needful for us is that our whole souls should be satisfied with Himself—and to be occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ is to be satisfied (In satisfaction there is absence of greed—NC).

- F W Grant

 

 

Excerpt from MJS devotional for August 10:

The legal Christian considers the law to be his best friend who will enable him to live righteously. But in reality the law, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, is his beloved enemy. The Spirit’s purpose is to bring the well-meaning believer down into defeat, wretched and ready to realize, “I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Rom. 7:25). - MJS

“It is perhaps the most alarming symptom of decay to be seen amongst evangelical believers today, that so many have accepted (at any rate mentally) the fact that they cannot be justified before God except by the sacrifice for sin once made for all upon Calvary, proceed to build a new legal code by which to live, and seek to be sanctified by their own efforts and endeavors. – JCM

www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/

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Replies

  • This reply was deleted.
    • SS it seems that you believe that God is reactive, that He only made that decision when He saw Adam and Eve disobey His commands, but it obvious that this was the plan before the foundation of the Universe [Ephesians 1:4] & [Matthew 25:34].  There was one plan from the beginning, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, one plan.

       

      • Yes, everything is going according to what He purposes for good and evil, according to how He knew it would, and as is everything He knows (which is everything of course), it all has been on His mind from everlasting (eternity past concerning creation).

        I see it that all are doing God's will, but only believers are also doing His desire; His will (but not His desire - 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pe 3:9) for unbelievers is "resurrection unto damnation," and believers "unto the resurrection of life" (John 5:29).

        • Robert, I may be me, but I have no idea what you posted here, can you explain in more straight forward and simple terms.

          • I was commenting on the issue of God's plans by differentiating between His will and His desire. For example God's will is being done by everyone. His will is eternal judgment for unbelievers; and His will is eternal life for believers. All are subject to the will of God in one of these two ways.

            Maybe this wasn't a necessary issue because it's not a common conception.

            Blessings!

  • It always worries me when I see the word 'legal' attached to anything of the faith.  Orthodox Jews are a prime example of a legalistic society, they have laws for everything, they are so wound up, no bound up, in laws that they failed, and continue to see the simplicity of Jesus' sacrifice that fulfilled all those laws.  Well at least those laws that are of God.

    "The legal Christian considers the law to be his best friend who will enable him to live righteously."  God however knows that we cannot obey the totality of the law, He knew that before He set the law, which is why His plan was for Jesus right from the creation event.  This can be seen in every book of scripture, there are prophesies and mirror events of Jesus' ministry and sacrifice all the way through.  So even Abraham's covenant with God was made in the light of the second covenant of Jesus' payment for all of our sins, once and for all.  So what is the purpose of God's law, if we cannot live totally within it?  It is to show our love for God, our maker.  If we love God then we must wish to bless Him, or please Him, make Him happy.  When we obey His laws, or do our best to obey them, it pleases Him, and it tells God that we love Him.  Isn't it significant that God only gave us ten commandments to live by?  The greatest of these laws Jesus repeated in Matthew 22:37 what was given in Deuteronomy 6:5, linking the old testament with the new.

    "And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

    Surely this is the only law that matters, that if we truly love God we will do everything to please (bless) Him?

    • I like and agree with what you’ve presented! I believe it was God’s intention to teach man to understand His holiness and what good is, and Adam and Eve only knew what was wright and wrong but not what good and evil was. They knew it was right to obey God and that it was wrong to disobey—via His commands (Gen 2:16, 17), but they had no knowledge and understanding of what good and evil meant.

      When God placed the “Tree of knowledge” in the garden He knew, even after commanding them not to, that they would disobey, and this is how He began to teach man concerning His holiness. It’s also my belief that since God foreknows all that will occur prior to creation, all things happen as He allows them so, otherwise He would have chosen a different way.

      Thus I do not find it difficult to conceive that God uses evil to manifest what is good, for how can one know what good and evil are unless contrasted or compared with one another. Thus it is His desire to manifest His holiness via contrast with evil. This answers to the reason for Satan being created and used, and man’s sinful nature being used.

      The point is that He desires us to be incapable of success apart from depending on Himself. Hence the Law was solely used to reveal to man that the created cannot succeed within himself! Even perfect obedience cannot procure rightness with God because it’s always a matter of the motive for obedience, and man with the sin nature (old man) cannot attain to where He must bring us concerning obedience. Even man with the new nature (new man, i.e. reborn) cannot attain so, due to the taint of the old man; and I feel it was not God’s plan to create man apart from the necessity of redemption.

      Blessings Friend!

      • "When God placed the “Tree of knowledge” in the garden He knew, even after commanding them not to, that they would disobey, and this is how He began to teach man concerning His holiness. It’s also my belief that since God foreknows all that will occur prior to creation, all things happen as He allows them so, otherwise He would have chosen a different way."

        I do agree with you here Robert, however, I suppose it's the physicist coming out in me, but I wanted to clarify what I believe to be a part of God's physical nature.  The Bible indicates that God exists somehow outside of time and space, this is supported by current cosmology thinking, that the singularity came into existence in a condition of no time or space, otherwise the singularity could not have expanded.  We have long regarded God as being 'omnipresent', most regarding this as being everywhere at once, but it also includes being in all times at once.  So I believe that when the scripture describes God as 'I Am' it means just that, God just is.  This being so it also accounts for God being unchangeable, because He speaks through all time, all laws for all man and all time.  He sees the whole history of the universe in an instant from He creation of the universe through to the appearance of the New Earth.  The consequences of this of course is that, although we have free will, God knows everything, every decision we make or every direction we take, with the result, and also that God's laws are made for all time, they do not change with time, and neither does His plan for salvation, which is all one plan from creation on.

        • Intersting and thanks for your input Brother!

  • This reply was deleted.
    • Appreciate your reply SS, and I think I know your meaning. His truths function in the life of everyone reborn, regardless of what we think or feel concerning them. It’s just a matter of time until we come to the proper understandings God will show us concerning them.

      Blessings Friend!

    • SS, I believe that a part of the reason for Christ's earthly ministry was so that God could understand how humans felt, our emotions, etc.  Even though He created us as perfect beings, a little lower than angels, after the fall it was a whole new ball-game.  As God He was above our feelings other being blessed and being angered.  Jesus experienced every human emotion, and through Jesus, the Father.  If we accept that God displays perfect love, then I cannot understand why you would say that, "God really don’t go on feelings. . ."

       

This reply was deleted.

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