20 Quotes From “The Highest Good”

The Highest GoodSome of my most highlighted books are Oswald Chambers’ books, so The Highest Good was no exception. It was difficult to narrow down, but here are 20 of my favorite quotes from this book. (If you would like to read my book review of The Highest Good, click here).

“If I am a child of God, distress will lead me to Him for direction. The distress comes not because I have done wrong, it is part of the inevitable results of not being at home in the world, of being in contact with those who reason and live from a different standpoint.” 

“Spiritual insight is not for the purpose of making us realize we are better than other people, but in order that our responsibility might be added to.”

“God expects us to be intercessors, not dogmatic fault-finders, but vicarious intercessors, until other lives come up to the same standard.” 

“In times of prosperity we are apt to forget God, we imagine it does not matter whether we recognize Him or not. As long as we are comfortably clothed and fed and looked after, our civilization becomes an elaborate means of ignoring God. … But remember God’s blessing may mean God’s blasting. If God is going to bless me, He must condemn and blast out of my being what He cannot bless. ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ When we ask God to bless, we sometimes pray terrible havoc upon the things that are not of God. God will shake all that can be shaken, and He is doing it just now.”

“God intends our attention to be arrested, He does not arrest it for us. … We are apt to pay more attention to our newspaper than to God’s Book, and spiritual leakage begins because we do not make the effort to lift up our eyes to God.” 

“The majority of us do not enthrone God, we enthrone common-sense. We make our decisions and then ask the real God to bless our god’s decision.”

“When I wish I was somewhere else I am not doing my duty to God where I am.” 

“Let us not be so careful as to how we offend or please human ears, but let us never offend God’s ears.”

“We have not only lost Jesus Christ’s idea of righteousness, but we laugh at the Bible idea of righteousness; our god is the conventional righteousness of the society to which we belong.” 

“It is so absurd to put our Lord as Teacher first, He is not first a Teacher, He is a Savior first. He did not come to give us a new code of morals: He came to enable us to keep a moral code we had not been able to fulfill. … If He is a Teacher only, then He is a most cruel Teacher, for He puts ideals before us that blanch us white to the lips and lead us to a hell of despair. But if He came to do something else as well as teach—if He came to re-make us on the inside and put within us His own disposition of unsullied holiness, then we can understand why He taught like He did.”

“The only way to get out of our smiling complacency about salvation and sanctification is to look at Jesus Christ for two minutes and then read Matthew 5:43-48 and see Who He tells us we are to be like, God Almighty, and every piece of smiling spiritual conceit will be knocked out of us for ever, and the one dominant note of the life will be Jesus Christ first, Jesus Christ second, and Jesus Christ third, and our own whiteness nowhere. Never look to your own whiteness; look to Jesus and get power to live as He wants; look away for one second and all goes wrong.”

“For the past three hundred years men have been pointing out how similar Jesus Christ’s teachings are to other good teachings. We have to remember that Christianity, if it is not a  supernatural miracle, is a sham.”

“The point is that Jesus saw life from God’s standpoint, and we don’t. We won’t accept the responsibility of life as God gives it to us, we only accept responsibility as we wish to take it, and the responsibility we wish to take is to save our own skins, make comfortable positions for ourselves and those we are related to, exert ourselves a little to keep ourselves clean and vigorous and upright; but when it comes to following out what Jesus says, His sayings are nothing but jargon. We name the Name of Christ but we are not based on His one issue of life, and Jesus says, ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world’—and he can easily do it—‘and lose his own soul.’” 

“It is remarkable how little Jesus directed His speech against carnal and public sins, though He showed plenty of prophetic indignation against the sins of a wholly different class, He preached His grandest sermon to a bad, ignorant woman (John 4:10-14), and one of His most prominent disciples was a publican named Matthew. The one man He ever said He wanted to stay with was another publican called Zaccheus, and some of the most fathomless things He said were in connection with a notoriously bad woman (Luke 7:36-50). … Jesus aroused the conscience of the very worst of them by presenting the highest good.”

“Ask yourself, then, what is it that awakens indignation in your heart? Is it the same kind of thing that awakened indignation in Jesus Christ? The thing that awakens indignation in us is the thing that upsets our present state of comfort and society. The thing that made Jesus Christ blaze was pride that defied God and prevented Him from having His right with human hearts.” 

“If we know that we have received the unmerited favor of God and we do not give unmerited favor to other people, we are damned in that degree.”

“‘If ye then, being evil…’ (Luke 11:13). Jesus Christ is made to teach the opposite of this by modern teachers; they make out that He taught the goodness of human nature. Jesus Christ revealed that men were evil, and that He came that He might plant in them the very nature that was in Himself. He cannot, however, begin to do this until a man recognizes himself as Jesus sees him.” 

“The holiest person is not the one who is not conscious of sin, but the one is more conscious of what sin is. … The purer we are through God’s sovereign grace, the more terribly poignant is our sense of sin. … Sin destroys the capacity of knowing what sin is. … We shall find over and over again that God will send us shuddering to our knees every time we realize what sin is, and instead of increasing hardness in us towards the men and women who are living in sin, the Spirit of God will use it as a means of bringing us to the dust before Him in vicarious intercession that God will save them as He has saved us.”

“‘God is able to make all grace abound toward you.’ Have you been saying, ‘I cannot expect God to do that for me’? Why cannot you? Is God Almighty impoverished by your circumstances? Is His hand shortened that it cannot save? Are your particular circumstances so peculiar, so remote from the circumstances of every son and daughter of Adam, that the Atonement and the grace of God are not sufficient for you? Immediately we ask ourselves these things, we get shaken out of our sulks into a simple trust in God. When we have the simple, childlike trust in God that Jesus exhibited, the overflowing grace of God will have no limits, and we must set no limits to is.” 

“The love of God rakes the very bottom of hell, and from the depths of sin and suffering brings sons and daughters to God.”

The Ragamuffin Gospel (book review)

Ragamuffin GospelThe Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning was originally published 15 years ago, but its message to us is just as needed—maybe even more needed—today! The subtitle nails the essence of this book: Good news for the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out. Indeed it is.

Without realizing it, Manning’s ragamuffin message has impacted much of my thinking for the past decade. Ever since I started working in a church, I have been more acutely aware of how many people feel like their beat-up, burnt-out status somehow disqualifies them for God’s grace. The message they’ve heard is, “Get your act together, and then get yourself to God for help.” As a result our societies are filled with the de-churched, and our churches are only left with those who think they have their acts together.

Manning’s message is such a refreshing wake-up call! He speaks to those bedraggled de-churched people to assure them Jesus wants them just as they are. He came to meet with the messed-up and burnt-out, to show them Abba God’s love. Manning also confronts the pharisaical view of far too many Christians who truly think God only helps those who help themselves, and who want people to make themselves worthy of God’s grace.

This book was like a breath of fresh air. It clarified my frustrations with churchy people, and it renewed my passion for all the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out to know the amazing, unconditional, unmerited, awe-inspiring grace of a All-Loving God!

I am a Random House book reviewer.

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