My for His Highest


Come up hither, and I will shew thee things. Rev. 4:1.

An elevated mood can only come out of an elevated habit of personal character. If in the externals of your life you live up to the highest you know, God will continually say—‘Friend, go up higher.’ The golden rule in temptation is—‘Go higher.’ When you get higher up, you face other temptations and characteristics. Satan uses the strategy of elevation in temptation, and God does the same, but the effect is different. When the devil puts you into an elevated place, he makes you screw your idea of holiness beyond what flesh and blood could ever bear. It is a spiritual acrobatic performance, you are just poised and dare not move; but when God elevates you by His grace into the heavenly places, instead of finding a pinnacle to cling to, you find a great table-land where it is easy to move.

Compare this week in your spiritual history with the same week last year and see how God has called you up higher. We have all been brought to see from a higher standpoint. Never let God give you one point of truth which you do not instantly live up to. Always work it out, keep in the light of it.

Growth in grace is measured not by the fact that you have not gone back, but that you have an insight into where you are spiritually; you have heard God say ‘Come up higher,’ not to you personally, but to the insight of your character. “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” God has to hide from us what He does until by personal character we get to the place where He can reveal it.

Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8.

Purity is not innocence, it is much more. Purity is the outcome of sustained spiritual sympathy with God. We have to grow in purity. The life with God may be right and the inner purity remain unsullied, and yet every now and again the bloom on the outside may be sullied. God does not shield us from this possibility, because in this way we realize the necessity of maintaining the vision by personal purity. If the spiritual bloom of our life with God is getting impaired in the tiniest degree, we must leave off everything and get it put right. Remember that vision depends on character—the pure in heart see God.

God makes us pure by His sovereign grace, but we have something to look after, this bodily life by which we come in contact with other people and with other points of view; it is these that are apt to sully. Not only must the inner sanctuary be kept right with God, but the outer courts as well are to be brought into perfect accord with the purity God gives us by His grace. The spiritual understanding is blurred immediately the outer court is sullied. If we are going to retain personal contact with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean there are some things we must scorn to do or to think, some legitimate things we must scorn to touch.

A practical way of keeping personal purity unsullied in relation to other people is to say to yourself—That man, that woman, perfect in Christ Jesus ! That friend, that relative, perfect in Christ Jesus !

The friend of the Bridegroom. John 3:29.

Goodness and purity ought never to attract attention to themselves, they ought simply to be magnets to draw to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing towards Him, it is not holiness of the right order, but an influence that will awaken inordinate affection and lead souls away into side-eddies. A beautiful saint may be a hindrance if he does not present Jesus Christ but only what Christ has done for him; he will leave the impression—‘What a fine character that man is!’—that is not being a true friend of the Bridegroom; I am increasing all the time, He is not.

In order to maintain this friendship and loyalty to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful of our moral and vital relationship to Him than of any other thing, even of obedience. Sometimes there is nothing to obey, the only thing to do is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, to see that nothing interferes with that. Only occasionally do we have to obey. When a crisis arises we have to find out what God’s will is, but the greater part of the life is not conscious obedience but the maintenance of this relationship—the friend of the Bridegroom. Christian work may be a means of evading the soul’s concentration on Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends of the Bridegroom, we become amateur providences and may work against Him whilst we use His weapons.

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30.

If you become a necessity to a soul, you are out of God’s order. As a worker, your great responsibility is to be a friend of the Bridegroom. When once you see a soul in sight of the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been in the right direction, and instead of putting out a hand to prevent the throes, pray that they grow ten times stronger until there is no power on earth or in hell that can hold that soul away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we become amateur providences; we come in and prevent God, and say—‘This and that must not be.’ Instead of proving friends of the Bridegroom, we put our sympathy in the way, and the soul will one day say—‘That one was a thief, he stole my affections from Jesus, and I lost my vision of Him.’

Beware of rejoicing with a soul in the wrong thing, but see that you do rejoice in the right thing. “The friend of the Bridegroom . . . rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” This is spoken with joy and not with sadness—at last they are to see the Bridegroom! And John says this is his joy. It is the absolute effacement of the worker, he is never thought of again.

Watch for all you are worth until you hear the Bridegroom’s voice in the life of another. Never mind what havoc it brings, what upsets, what crumblings of health, rejoice with divine hilarity when once His voice is heard. You may often see Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it. (Cf. Matt. 10:34.)

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