The Nature of the Dispensation In Which We Live # 4
Why We Are Where We Are
Now, there are many more things I would like to suggest to you. May I just add this little word for each life? You see, the Lord disposes of us entirely on spiritual considerations, that is, our spiritual growth,and through that, the spiritual growth of others. That is the thing that is governing the Lord in His disposing of us all the time. If only I were in such and such a place, in such and such a situation, had such and such a job; if only I were there or here, how much more I could be doing for the Lord, how much more I could be counting for the Lord! But where I am, I am bottled up, I am shut up, I am pressed down, and there seems so little for the Lord, so little, practically nothing, if anything at all, for the Lord. It all seems so inadequate, so insignificant, so unworthwhile, and life is passing, nothing very much to show! Are you up against a situation like that? Things seem; what you want to see, you cannot see. That is the trouble, this matter of the things seen, even spiritual values.
Let me say this, and I understand the position, I know. It is a thing we have got to settle. What is the Lord doing? Have I deliberately taken myself out of the Lord's hands, taken my own way, acted without prayer, without committing my way to the Lord, chosen my own course? Oh well then, if that is true, there may be an explanation of the situation, but if I am where I am without any self-will, where the Lord has been given first place, where I have sought to honor Him, trust Him, put my faith in Him and subject everything to Him, and yet this situation obtains, what is the explanation? The Lord is more concerned with my, and with your, spiritual and heavenly measure than He is with the number of things we are doing. We would call spiritual success the number of converts, the number of churches, the number of workers. The Lord does not! It is the spiritual measure of ourselves that matters. That is what it is with the Lord. The heavenly measure, the spiritual measure, what there is of the Holy Spirit, that is the thing that matters. "Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth me" (Jeremiah 9:24). This is a hard school, knowing the Lord, a bitter school, nevertheless, that is what the Lord is after, a spiritual, heavenly measure of Christ. He is more concerned about that than He is about anything else, and remember that you and I can NEVER HELP ANYONE BEYOND OUR OWN SPIRITUAL MEASURE. The Lord is preparing us in this hard school to do something more than the average, to be something more than the average, of spiritual value. Whether it is here or hereafter, that is not the question, but that is the end that He has in view. Let me repeat. The Lord disposes of us on entirely spiritual principles. He puts us into the place, the situation, the circumstances, where our spiritual life is the thing in question, our spiritual life is the matter in hand, and we shall usually find that the Lord puts us where everything is contrary to our natural disposition, because that is the difference between Christ and Adam, between the spirit and the flesh, between the new creation and the old. Am I naturally one who shrinks and would not take responsibility, would never do by initiative myself? Well the school for me is, in the Lord's choosing, going to be one where I will have to take the initiative for my spiritual life, I have to do that from which my whole nature shrinks. I would like to be in a corner where no demands were made on me, where I could be left alone; but the Lord is not going to leave me there. Or the other way, Am I one who naturally lead, would dominate, would govern, would master, would lord it? Mine is going to be the bitter school of self-emptying where I shall eventually come to a place where I am not doing anything of myself. It is a bitter school because it lets men ride over your head, it brings you into the net, and all that about you that wants to be vindicated, justified, is simply being ground to powder, being humbled in the dust. That is the school which is going to make way for the Lord Jesus.
I wonder if you have contemplated the Lord Jesus. He was all this, you see, born to be Lord of the universe, and yet knowing how to be a servant. Again, He, the meekest of men, at times had to rise up and take a course, as in the cleansing of the Temple. Do you think it was easy? No, not easy. He did it on principle, on grounds of righteousness, but I believe that the Lord Jesus would rather not have done that. I believe the Spirit of Christ was, If I must come to you with a rod, it hurts Me more than it hurts you; it is not because I love to wield the rod, that is not My nature, nor the nature of the Spirit - and yet it works both ways.
Now you think of it, and that is what it means. The Spirit is making us, through our afflictions, which afflictions are things which work contrary to our natural constitution, making us to be conformed to Jesus in heaven and that by the Spirit, a spiritual life. Now I have suggested. Do you agree? Is it right? I hope the Lord will make it clear to us all and give us grace.