Thursdays With Oswald—The Destination Is Not The Goal

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Destination Is Not The Goal

     In natural life we have ambitions and aims which alter as we develop; in the Christian life the goal is given at the beginning, viz., Our Lord Himself. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” [Ephesians 4:13]. We do not start with the idea of what the Christian life should be, we start with Christ, and we end with Christ. Our aims in natural life continually alter as we develop, but development in the Christian life is an increasing manifestation of Jesus Christ. …  

     “And He went on His way through cities and villages, teaching, and journeying on unto Jerusalem” (Luke 13:22). Our Lord was not fanatical. Had He been a fanatic, He would have said—“Because I am going up to Jerusalem there is no need to stay in this village or that; I have only one duty, and that is to go up to Jerusalem.” Our Lord took plenty of time to do His duty in the cities and villages that He went through on His way to Jerusalem. Nothing made Him hurry through the villages where He was persecuted, or linger in those where He was blessed. …  

     The aim of the missionary is not to win the heathen, not to be useful, but to do God’s will. He does win the heathen, and he is useful, but that is not the aim; his aim is to do the will of his Lord.

From So Send I You 

The Christian’s goal is not Heaven. The Christian’s goal is not winning a bunch of people to Christ. The Christian’s goal is not even being an effective Christian.

The Christian’s goal is to be like Jesus, making Him increasingly visible in my daily life.

God will do amazing things through us as we journey through this life, and Heaven is a wonderful reward for a Christian. But those things should never be our focal point. May our focal point always be this: I want to know Jesus more, and I want His life to be seen in me. I want His will to be done, and His glory to be seen.

The Cure For Spiritual Fanaticism

“Some time after Pentecost a group of believers met to pray for strength and power to meet the emergency then facing them, and to enlist the help of God on their behalf. ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4:31). Some of these were of the original number filled at Pentecost. It is hardly conceivable that God acted contrary to His own will in filling them again after Pentecost. Still other outpourings are recorded in Acts 8, Acts 10 and Acts 19. All these occurred some years after the original act.

“In brief, the teaching of the New Testament is that the outpouring at Pentecost was the historic beginning of an era which was to be characterized by a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. …

“This anti-emotionalism, though it is sponsored by some good people and travels in pretty orthodox company, is nevertheless an unwarranted inference, not a scriptural doctrine, and is in violent opposition to psychology and common sense. Where in the Bible are feeling and faith said to be at odds? The fact is that faith engenders feeling as certainly as life engenders motion. We can have feeling without faith, it is true, we can never have faith without feeling. Faith as a cold, unemotional light is wholly unknown in the Scriptures. …

“The Holy Spirit is the cure for fanaticism. Not the cause of it.”

—A.W. Tozer, in Paths To Power

Thursdays With Oswald—Two Ways To Handle A Crisis

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald ChambersTwo Ways To Handle A Crisis

     A man must decide whether he will be identified with the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, which will mean the turning out not only of the “old man,” but of the old responsible intelligence, the old bondage, the old legalism, the things which used to guide the life before, and the forming of a totally new mind. 

     It works out this way: in your practical life you come to a crisis where there are two distinct ways before you, one the way of ordinary, strong, moral, common sense and the other the way of waiting on God until the mind is formed which can understand His will. 

     Any amount of backing will be given you for the first line, the backing of worldly people and of semi-Christian people, but you will feel the warning, the drawing back of the Spirit of God, and if you wait on God, study His Word, and watch Him at work in your circumstances, you will be brought to a decision along God’s line, and your worldly “backers” and your semi-Christian “backers” will fall away from you with disgust and say, “It is absurd, you are getting fanatical.” 

From Biblical Psychology 

When you have to deal with a crisis, there are two options: (1) Use your common sense and the good ideas of others, or (2) Do it God’s way.

God’s ways usually defy the world’s common sense.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts,” says God. (Isaiah 55:9)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and … the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. (1 Corinthians 1:25; 3:19)

If you want to try to do it the “common sense” way, go ahead. God will let you try it, and a lot of people will encourage you to keep at it. But I think you will quickly find that the “God sense” way is so much better! Although very quickly your former “backers” and “cheerleaders” will look at you as a fanatic.

“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right then, have it your way.’” —C.S. Lewis

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