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Have you ever been so busy desiring to do for others (admirable and honorable in its proper place) that its undertaking has often inadvertently reduced your time of fellowship with them, which detracts from keeping up with knowing them? We all continue to change in our lives concerning what we evaluate things to be, e.g. something we determine as important now may not be as such latter, or maybe even become more important, thus requiring us to keep up with one another as to what our desires are.
Of course God never changes, but the depth of knowing Him more— which is only through His Word—will ever continue, and the more He teaches us to know Him, the greater will be our success in “being about” His “business” (Luk 2:49). Continuing to read God’s Word and asking Him for more understanding of it initiates and perpetuates “drawing close to God” (Jam 4:8) more than all other things, and the closer we get to know Him, the greater we get to serve Him. The object is to put wanting to know Him better (Word-time) before wanting to serve Him more.
FYI: I’ve learned that that continuing to read and re-read the Scriptures, God causes increased spiritual growth. The majority of the spiritual growth truths lie within the Pauline Epistles, and I’ve found that just returning to where you left off well aids a persistent and life-long reading in the Scriptures.
Know To Grow
“That I may know Him” (Phl 3:10). It is of the greatest importance for the Lord’s own to recognize fully that, above all other things, His object is that they should know Him. This is the all-governing end of all His dealings with us. This is the greatest of all our needs. It is the secret of strength, steadfastness and fruitful service.
The primary objective of the Father’s dealings with us is that we may know His Son. This explains all our trials, sufferings, perplexities, weaknesses, predicaments, bafflings and pressures. While the refining of the spirit, the development of the graces, the removal of dross are all purposes of the fires, yet above and through all is the one object—that we may know the Lord.
Our minds are so often occupied with service and work; we think that doing things for the Lord is the chief object of life. We are concerned about our life-work, our ministry. We think of equipment for it in terms of study and knowledge of things. Soul-winning, or teaching believers, or setting people to work for the Lord, are so much in the foreground.
Bible study and knowledge of the Scriptures for efficiency in the matter of leading in Christian service as being the end in view are matters of pressing importance with all, and this is all well and good, for these are important matters (in their proper order); but back of everything the Lord is more concerned first about our knowing Him than about everything else.
It is very possible to have a wonderful grasp of the Scriptures, a comprehensive and intimate familiarity with doctrine; to stand for cardinal verities of the faith; to be an unceasing worker in Christian service; to have a great devotion to the salvation of others, and yet, alas, have a very inadequate and limited personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (all of which is best after entering a sufficient knowledge of Him—NC). So often He has to take away (halt—NC) our work that we may discover Him more.
This is the one thing that will remain when all else passes. It is this that will make for the permanence of our ministry after we have been taken Home. While we may help others in many ways and by many means so far as their earthly life is concerned, our real service to them is based upon our knowledge of the Lord Jesus (our knowledge is directly related to our fellowship, where we can be in union with Him but not necessarily in fellowship, even though we may be occupied with service—NC).
We want instructions and commands; the Lord intends for us to have a “mind.” “Have this mind in you” (Phl 2:5); “we have the mind of Christ” (1Co 2:16). The inspired statement is that “His anointing teaches you concerning all things” (1Jhn 2:7). We are not servants, we are sons (Gal 4:7). There is an appalling state of things among the Lord’s people today. So many of them have their life almost entirely in that which is external to themselves. Personal, inward spiritual intelligence is a very rare thing.
To know the Lord in a personal way means steadfastness when others are being carried away—steadfastness through times of fiery trial. Those who really know Him do not put forth their own hand to try to bring things about. Patient confidence is an essential and inevitable fruit of this knowledge, and in those who know Him there is a quiet restful strength which speaks of a great depth of life. In the Lord Jesus Christ “are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden” (Col 2:3), and the Father’s will for us is to come to an ever-growing realization and personal appreciation of Him in “Whom all fullness dwells” (Col 1:19).
- T A S
Excerpt from MJS devotional for December 27:
“Let no one imagine that he can be effectively used in the Lord’s service, or even make progress in the Christian life, without some measure of real entrance into the valuable principle: ‘When I am weak, then am I strong’ (2 Cor. 12:10). It is absolutely essential in forming the character of the true servant of the Lord Jesus. Where it is not known and felt, there is sure to be unsubduedness, unbrokenness, and self-occupation in some form or other. On the other hand, where one has been brought into this principle, there will always be a measure of brokenness, softness, and tenderness of spirit; and not only so, but also largeness of heart, and that lovely tendency to rise above those petty, selfish considerations, which so sadly hinder the work of God.” – C H M