Christ for the Heart: October 2007

Table of Contents

1. To Me to Live Is Christ
2. That I May Know Him
3. The Secret of Strength
4. Object Supreme
5. Christ for the Heart
6. Devotedness of Heart (John 14:13)
7. Christ Dwelling in the Heart
8. The Heart and Heaven
9. Epistle of Christ (2 Corinthians 3)
10. A Satisfied Heart
11. Conformity to Christ
12. Christ in Everything
13. I Love Thee Still
14. Hearts Full of Christ

To Me to Live Is Christ

The mind of the Spirit for you and me today is that we should be channels for the flowing forth of the eternal life that is in Christ, in the midst of the world. He would have a stream flowing forth from us, telling of the God who is its source and of the Christ who supplies it.
For what reason does Christ show that all He possesses is ours? Merely that we should be saved? No! He might then have waited till the eleventh hour before He had called us. No, He wants the eternal life to be told out in a world where Satan is master, so that He can point angels, principalities and powers to the church, to learn in us the manifold riches of God’s grace. As children of the Father’s house, who have known the bosom of the Father, who are members of the body of the glorious Head in heaven, let me ask you if the character of the Head is seen in you? Are you seeking to make the wilderness resound, not merely with the name of the Lord Jesus, but with lives conformed to His character and to the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven? God has His wishes for His saints, and shall not my heart respond to His desires? See to what an extent Paul carried this. To some it seems a strange thing to press the life of Christ on people, but of what value is a beautiful watch without hands? And what is a saint if not showing forth Christ, or a vine if it bears no grapes?
To Die Is Gain
The Apostle could say, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). What was Paul about when he wrote that word? He felt that he was for Christ, and Him only, whether in life or in death. He could say, “I have only one object — Christ. And I have only one desire — that Christ should be magnified in my body.” If, therefore, they had beheaded Paul, would he have lost anything? No! Christ would have been magnified in his body still. What sort of testimony was that in Caesar’s court? A Roman knew how to face death as a display of courage. However, to go forward to it in the thought that death was gain, because there was a Jesus who had been crucified between two thieves, who was the joy of a man’s heart, a natural Roman could not have understood. Let me ask you: Since you have known Christ, Christ’s heart, Christ Himself your treasure, your life, Christ everything that God could give you — has your thought been, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”? It is our privilege while passing through this scene. How it changes death, if to die is gain, Christ being magnified in it! That is what a life of communion with God gives to a man. He is ennobled by God, most truly. If the life of Christ is flowing out through me, I am like the hands of a clock through which the life of the works within shows itself. Is that bondage? Is it legality for Christ to say, “Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and I expect you to show it”? If this is bondage, would to God there were ten thousand times more of it. G. V. Wigram, adapted

That I May Know Him

These words were from the pen and heart of the Apostle Paul (Phil. 3:10). As I meditate upon them in faith in the presence of Christ, my own heart also breathes out, “Oh, that I might know Him.” It may seem strange that such words should be written by Paul who:
(1) When journeying to Damascus to persecute and imprison the saints, had been arrested by the Lord, who spoke to him from heaven and drew him to Himself in true heart repentance (Acts 9).
(2) Was caught up into Paradise and heard unspeakable words (2 Cor. 12:4).
(3) Was many times in bonds for Christ (Phil. 1:13).
(4) Could say, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
(5) Counted the things which were gain to him naturally as loss for Christ (Phil. 3:78).
(6) Declared, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Tim. 1:12).
Surely none knew the Lord Jesus Christ like Paul! It was because He knew Him and loved Him with deep devotion that he desired to know Him fully, even to conformity to His death. We may well ask, “Who is this person whom the Apostle desired to know?”
In the past eternity He was with the Father —“daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him” (Prov. 8:30), while “by Him were all things created” (Col. 1:16). In the fullness of time He had come forth from the Father into the world (John 16:28) and, while in it, so delighted the heart of the Father that He declared from heaven concerning Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him” (Matt. 17:5). In John 10:17, we read the Lord’s words, “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” Of His own volition He went to the cross in our stead — “His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). Before He bowed His head and gave up the ghost, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
Now our precious Saviour is alive forevermore, and He has entered into heaven itself, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12). He now appears in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24). Soon He will come and take us to heaven to be with Himself and like Himself forever (1 Thess. 4:13-18). What a wonderful Saviour He is, and how deeply we should love Him and desire to know Him more! If we are willing, He will draw us to Himself, into a sphere where all is of God. There we learn Him in the preciousness of His love; there we long to dwell forever with the Lord. If we are there already in spirit, there will be the corresponding answer while we are left here. There will be flow of worship to the Father, acceptable through Christ Jesus our Lord; there will be love one toward another as those who are members of His assembly; also there will be ministry of Christ among us followed by the telling forth of the glad tidings in the power of the Holy Spirit. May the true language of each of our hearts be “that I may know Him!” P. Jackson

The Secret of Strength

The secret of our strength is the knowledge of Christ and having the heart occupied with Him. We learn to say in such circumstances, Christ is this to me, Christ is that to me, Christ is everything to me, thus it is all and only Christ. And no better school can there be to teach us watchfulness and dependence on Him. The experience is good, we learn our own weakness and folly in the midst of those who would rejoice in the smallest compromise, and we become more and more cast upon Christ and learn more and more of the depths of His grace, the value of His word, and the glory of His Person. The Apostle John puts it this way: “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:14).
A. Miller

Object Supreme

And is it so, I shall be like Thy Son?
Is this the grace which He for me has won?
Father of glory! Thought beyond all thought,
In glory to His own blest likeness brought!
O Jesus, Lord, who loved me like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work! With Thee, too, there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Myself the prize and travail of Thy soul.
Nor I alone; Thy loved ones all, complete,
In glory around Thee with joy shall meet;
All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord!
Object supreme of all, by all adored!
And yet it must be so! A perfect state,
To meet Christ’s perfect love — what we await;
The Spirit’s hopes, desires, in us inwrought,
Our present joy — with living blessings fraught.
The heart is satisfied, can ask no more;
All thought of self is now forever o’er;
Christ, its unmingled Object, fills the heart
In blest, adoring love — its endless part.
J. N. Darby, 1872

Christ for the Heart

Water is essential. We cannot live without it. The woman in John 4 had Jacob’s well and her waterpot for the temporary satisfaction of her thirst. The well was deep, and, the Lord having nothing to draw with, the woman concluded that He needed her to meet this vital need.
Like the woman, we must have water to live. And like her, we are seeking it. But where are we seeking our water? Are we, like her, using a waterpot to draw from the man-made wells of this earth?
When she met the Lord, she discovered in Him a new water source — an everlasting fountain of refreshment given within her. She no longer needed Jacob’s well. She no longer needed her waterpot and left it behind. She had Christ as the soul-satisfying object of her heart. She needed and wanted nothing more for herself.
Paul found that Christ so fully satisfied his heart that by comparison everything else was “dung” and easily cast aside. When the eye is fixed on Christ, the heart is so filled that it is easy to give up everything else.
As we read in this issue of Christ as the soul-satisfying object for our hearts, may we be like the woman of the well and the Apostle Paul. “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matt. 6:22).

Devotedness of Heart (John 14:13)

How much blessing is lost by souls from being occupied with some action or blessing from Christ, instead of making Himself the aim and object of the heart. In John 14, in a striking and beautiful way, He presupposes that nothing can cheer the heart during His absence but Himself — that the vacancy caused by His absence never can be otherwise filled. He therefore promises to come for us! No sweeter word could be said in parting than this, “I will come again”! It was a promise filled with every joy to the widowed hearts of those He was leaving behind. But there is more: He adds, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (vs. 18). He promises to come for us, and while we wait for that moment, He will come to us; what more could the heart desire! It is very precious. He will come for us and He will come to us — one in person, and the other by the Holy Spirit whom He was about to send. But “come” is the word by which He would cheer and sustain the heart. The heart which knows most of His coming to us will most truly desire and look out for His coming for us.
Oh for more personal affection for Him! Out of personal love to Christ Himself, one may admire and feel their need of Him without the sense of giving up anything here. This is devotedness — it is the heart seeing such worth in Christ that it lays aside as weights those things which hinder the soul’s enjoyment of Him. Christian Truth, Vol. 8:5-6

Christ Dwelling in the Heart

“That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:17-19). If I am walking in self, I cannot see beyond the petty things of this world, but when I get beyond the region of self, I am able to judge about sin and sinners, to have a true judgment about everything, and I am able to understand the breadth and length and depth and height. He does not say of what — that has to be filled in. But in order to make all practical I must “know the love of Christ.” If I were going into the Queen’s presence, how glad I should be if someone would tell me what to do! Well, this knowledge of the love of Christ is the very thing that calms my heart when I think of the immensity of the glory that is to be revealed in me. Christ is beside me. I have known Him intimately down here and as risen too, for He is just the same as when He said, “Children, have ye any meat?” When I read that the glory of God lightens the city, is that too dazzling, too much for my eye?
The next words that I read are that “the Lamb is the light thereof.” You see, the heart gets into a condition where it is at home, and therefore the poorest, simplest saint is quite at ease in all this glory, because Christ is in it all, and Christ is in his heart. I may be a poor earthen vessel, but then I have got the treasure inside. By faith in my heart He speaks to me; He manifests Himself to me as He does not to the world. It is a wonderful thing for me to say that I know Christ’s love, at the same time that I can also say it passes knowledge. And now the Apostle, having shown the saints the exalted position, rises up to it and says it is “that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Wondrous place! Wondrous purpose of love to have brought me here! Now how shall I look on tribulation? Oh, I can glory in it! I can joy in God, not merely joy amid the circumstances, but joy in God Himself.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). This is often wrongly put forth as though it said, “Able to do for us” (quite true, of course, in its place, because He is able and does do for us), but it is not the thought here; it is “able to do in us”—“according to the power that worketh in us” (vs. 20). The church has been looked at as all that we have been speaking of, in order that Christ may be glorified in us. “He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be  .  .  . admired in all them that believe in that day” (2 Thess. 1:10), although the Apostle is not here (that is, in Ephesians) looking at what it will be in the future, but what it is now by faith. Moses reflected in his face the glory of God when he came down from the mount; so should the church now. The angels are looking on; there is wisdom in the church, although very feeble. The angels ought to see in the saints the glory of God, but how little, beloved friends, how terribly little, can be seen! How everything has failed that has been put into the hand of man, as far as man is concerned — the law, the Son of David, Nebuchadnezzar, the church! Man has spoiled everything, as far as he had the power.
And, dear friends, would that you knew you were weak. Then you would be better able to say, “Now unto Him be glory.” When Paul said, “I was with you in much weakness,” we learn God had “much people in this city.” There must be weakness in the vessel. The object known is Christ; the place, our hearts. God is looking for Christ being known by us and God glorified in us, not merely Christ dwelling in us by the Holy Spirit, but in our hearts — my heart; my thoughts, my feelings, the same as Christ’s. The Lord give us to know how God has treated us, that we may know the heart’s obligation to love, and that obligation not a legal one.
J. N. Darby, adapted

The Heart and Heaven

I have not the thought of what we shall do in glory; my thought is, Christ will be there. The full stream of His affections will flow over and spread blessing everywhere, “His fullness” poured forth to fill every heart, and every heart perfectly filled and satisfied with it. G. V. Wigram

Epistle of Christ (2 Corinthians 3)

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul brings Christ before our souls in three ways — first, as written upon the hearts of believers; second, as manifested to “all men”; third, as a living person in the glory — the Object before us. It is God’s intention that, during the absence of Christ from this world, there should be gatherings of believers on earth who have Christ written upon their hearts, Christ manifested in their lives, and Christ before them as an Object in the glory.
As we read the last touching instructions of the Lord to His disciples and reverently listen to His prayer to the Father, we are conscious that underlying both the discourses and the prayer there is always before us the great truth that believers are left in this world to represent Christ — the Man that has gone to glory. It is God’s intention that though Christ personally is no longer here, yet Christ morally should still be seen in His people. All the epistles press upon us our privilege and responsibility as believers to represent the character of Christ to a world that has rejected and cast Him out.
In the addresses to the seven churches in Revelation, we see the Lord walking in the midst of the churches taking account of their condition and giving us His judgment as to how far they have answered to or failed in their responsibility. We learn that the great mass of those who profess His name have not only failed to represent His character before the world, but have become so hopelessly corrupt and indifferent to Himself that in the end they will be spued out of His mouth. Nevertheless, we also learn that in the midst of this vast profession there will be some who, though they have but a little strength, will answer to His mind by setting forth something of the loveliness of His character. Seeing then that it is still possible, even in a day of ruin, to express something of the character of Christ, surely everyone who loves the Lord will say, “I would like to be of the number who, in some little measure, manifest something of the beautiful traits of Christ to the world around.” It is true that it is possible for the world to form some estimate of Christ from the Word of God, but apart from the Word — which they may call in question or fail to understand, even if read — it is God’s intention that in the lives of His people there should be a presentation of Christ “known and read of all men.” Let us remember that whatever the circumstances, our one business should be to set forth the character of Christ.
Christ Written on the Heart
First, then, let us notice that Paul speaks of these believers as “the epistle of Christ.” He does not say the “epistles” but the “epistle,” for he is not thinking simply of what is true of individuals, but of the whole assembly, though, obviously, the assembly is composed of individuals. Then let us remark that he does not say, “Ye should be the epistle of Christ,” but that “ye are the epistle of Christ.” If we entertain the thought that we ought to be epistles of Christ, we will work to become such by our own efforts. This would not only lead us into legal occupation with ourselves, but would also shut out the work of “the Spirit of the living God.” The fact is that we become epistles of Christ, not by our own efforts, but by the Spirit of God writing Christ upon our hearts.
A Christian is one to whom Christ has become precious by a work of the Spirit in the heart. It is not simply a knowledge of Christ in the head (which an unconverted man may have) that constitutes a man a Christian, but Christ written in the heart. As sinners we discover our need of Christ and are burdened with our sins. We find relief by discovering that Christ by His propitiatory work has died for our sins and that God has set forth His acceptance of that work by seating Christ in the glory. We rest in God’s satisfaction with Christ and His work, and our affections are drawn out to the One through whom we have been blessed. “Unto you therefore which believe He is precious.” Thus Christ is written on our hearts and we become the epistle of Christ. If we are not the epistle of Christ, we are not Christians at all.
Christ Manifested to All Men
Having set forth the true Christian company as composed of believers upon whose hearts Christ has been written, Paul presents the second great truth when he says, “Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ  .  .  .  known and read of all men.”
It is one thing for an assembly of believers to be an epistle of Christ, and quite another for the assembly to be in such a right condition that they manifest to all men something of the character of Christ. The responsibility of any assembly of saints is not to walk well in order to become an epistle, but, seeing they are an epistle of Christ, to walk well in order that the epistle may be read of all men. If anyone writes a letter of commendation, it is to commend the person named in the letter. So when the Spirit of God writes Christ on the hearts of believers, it is in order that they together may become an epistle of commendation to commend Christ to the world around — that by their holy and separate walk, their mutual love to one another, their lowliness and meekness, and their gentleness and grace they may set forth the lovely character of Christ.
Thus it was with the Corinthian saints. They had been walking in a disorderly way, but as the result of Paul’s first letter, they had cleared themselves from evil so that he can now say that they were an epistle “known and read of all men.” The writing may become indistinct, and Christians are often like the writing on some ancient tombstone — so weatherworn that it is hardly possible to decipher the writing. So it may be with us. When first the Spirit writes Christ upon the hearts of a company of saints, their affections are warm and their collective life speaks plainly of Christ. The writing, being fresh and clear, is known and read of all men. But as time passes, unless there is watchfulness and self-judgment, envying, strife and bitterness may creep in and the gathering may cease to give any true impression of Christ.
Nevertheless, in spite of all our failure, Christians are the epistle of Christ, and it ever remains true that it is God’s great intention that all men should see the character of Christ set forth in His people. Here, then, we have a beautiful description of the true Christian company. It is a company of believers upon whose hearts Christ has been written, not with ink, but “with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” As in the tables of stone of old, men could read what the righteousness of God demanded from man under law, so now, in the lives of God’s people, the world should read what the love of God brings to man under grace.
Christ the Object in Glory
How then is the writing of Christ on the hearts of God’s people to be kept clear and legible, so that the character of Christ can be manifest to all men?
The answer to this question brings us to the third great truth of the chapter. Christ will be manifested to all men only as we have before us the living Christ in the glory as our Object. So the Apostle writes, “We all, looking on the glory of the Lord with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18 JND). There is a transforming power in beholding the Lord in glory. This transforming power is available for all believers — the youngest as well as the oldest — “we all,” not simply “we apostles,” beholding the glory of the Lord “are changed into the same image.” This change is not affected by our own efforts, nor by wearying ourselves in trying to be like the Lord, nor is it achieved by seeking to imitate some devoted saint. Rather, it is by beholding the glory of the Lord. There is no veil on His face, and as we behold Him, not only every veil of darkness will pass from our hearts, but morally we shall become increasingly like Him, changing from glory to glory. Gazing upon the Lord in glory, we are lifted above the weakness and failure that we find in ourselves and the evil around, to discover and delight in His perfection. As the bride in the Song of Songs can say, “I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.”
The Love of Christ
In the course of this epistle Paul gives us a taste of some of this precious fruit. Turning to 2 Corinthians 5:14, we read that “the love of Christ constraineth us.” Here the love of Christ is presented as the true motive for all ministry, whether to saints or sinners. With such love before his soul the Apostle can well say “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” In the light of this Scripture we may well challenge our hearts as to the motive that actuates us in all our service. Is it the love of Christ that constrains us, or is it the love of self? Another has said, “Alas! how often we have to reproach ourselves with going on in a round of Christian duty, faithful in general intention, but not flowing from the fresh realization of the love of Christ to our soul.”
The Grace of Our Lord
Passing to 2 Corinthians 8:9, we come to another lovely characteristic of Christ. There we read of “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul is pleading on behalf of the poor Jewish believers, urging the richer Corinthian saints to help in meeting their necessities. In both verses 67, he speaks of giving as a “grace.” Then he sets before us Christ as the One in whom we have a transcendent example of the grace of giving. He was rich, surpassingly rich, and yet to meet our deep needs He not only gives, but such is His grace that He becomes poor to give. “For your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” The very moment when He is enriching us with a fountain of water springing up unto eternal life He Himself has become so poor that he has to ask for a drink of water (John 4:7,14).
The Meekness of Christ
Turning to 2 Corinthians 10:1, we find some more refreshing fruit that marked the life of Christ. First we read of the meekness of Christ. The Apostle is correcting the spirit of rivalry that had been working among the Corinthian saints, whereby some of the gifted servants were measuring themselves with one another and seeking to commend themselves. To correct their vanity and self-assertiveness, he brings before them the meekness of Christ who never asserted His rights or defended Himself. It would be good for us if, in the presence of defamation and insults, we could catch something of the spirit of the Lord and show the meekness that refuses to assert our rights, stand upon our dignity or defend ourselves.
The Gentleness of Christ
Then the Apostle speaks of the “gentleness of Christ” (vs. 1) — another lovely quality that He ever exhibited in the presence of opposition. If we seek to maintain the truth, we shall soon find that there are those who will oppose and raise questions that lead to strife. But the servant of “the Lord must not strive” but seek to act in the spirit of the Lord and be “gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” The gentleness of Christ speaks of the manner in which He acted and spoke. How often, with ourselves, even if our motive is right and the principles we stand for are true, all is spoiled because our manner is lacking in graciousness and gentleness. Let us remember the striking words of the psalmist. “Thy gentleness hath made me great” (Psa. 18:35). Our vehemence may easily degenerate into violence by which we belittle ourselves in the eyes of others, but gentleness will make us great. Violence draws out violence, but gentleness is irresistible. “The fruit of the Spirit  .  .  .  is gentleness.”
The Power of Christ
Finally, in 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read of “the power of Christ.” Paul is speaking of bodily infirmities, insults, necessities, persecutions and distresses. He learned by experience that all these things only become an occasion for the manifestation of “the power of Christ” to preserve the believer through the trials and lift him above them. Thus we learn that whatever the trial, His “grace is sufficient” and His “strength is made perfect in weakness.”
As we look at Christ in the glory and admire these lovely moral traits, set forth in all their perfection in Christ, we find His fruit sweet to our taste and, almost unconsciously to ourselves, we shall begin to exhibit something of His gracious character and thus become changed into His image.
H. Smith, adapted

A Satisfied Heart

If you study the Word in the presence of the Lord, you will be guided by it into ever closer intimacy of communion with Himself, and as you trace out His infinite perfections and glories that are unfolded to us and apprehended by the Spirit of God, your affections will be drawn forth in ever increasing fervency, and your heart, now satisfied, will overflow in adoration at His feet. E. Dennett

Conformity to Christ

It is faith and hope that drive us, even in this life. You sow, because you hope for a crop. A man is ambitious, because he hopes for power. It is always the thing hoped for that characterizes the man, if he is a consistent, energetic man. If I am hoping to be like Christ, I shall get the character of being as like Christ as I can by the way. The rest is a weight, and the moment it gets the character of weight, it is the simplest thing to get rid of it.
The flesh has to be overcome because it likes these things. Where Christ really takes possession of the soul, the difficulty is gone. My heart may care for something, while my conscience says, “You ought to do this or that,” but my heart does not chime in. The Word has reached my conscience, but it has not reached the heart. If we are really in earnest in seeking to glorify Christ, death works in us. It has already worked for us, and the effect of death working in us is that nothing but the life of Christ works from us towards others.
If Christ is actually the object, everything else is dross and an entanglement. I have nothing to do but throw it off. It is easy to throw off a weight when it is only a weight. Not that there is no conflict, but it is easy when Christ is everything!
Adapted from Words of Truth, 1871

Christ in Everything

How few of us open the Bible with the same eagerness with which we open a letter! How few of us cannot live without daily correspondence with Jesus! I mean hearty, living, personal communion with Him, such as the Song of Solomon describes. It is seeing Him in all His beauty and gazing on the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ that makes us strong, joyous and holy.
It is to the heart that seeks Jesus that God ministers Jesus, and it is the diligent soul that is made fat. In 2 Peter 1, we are told to add to our faith virtue, and all these other graces. But why? Not merely for the having them to God’s praise and our blessing, but that we may be neither idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus. Ah, that is everything, as Paul says, “That I may know Him,” and again, “The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Other knowledge, even about the Word, tends to puff up, but this keeps the soul like a babe on the breast of its mother and works into us the very grace and gentleness and love of Jesus Himself. Witness Mary, who sat at His feet. Note too that the grace of Christ is an active thing, not merely the idle contemplation of a beautiful picture. It is the power of living for the comfort and good of others.
This is important, for we may delight in the Word — honestly indeed, and yet, not connecting it with Jesus, it is like manna which stinks. We may delight in the Word simply because it gives us comfort. This is a good thing, so far as it goes, for the Word is meant to give us comfort. However, it is possible, even in getting comfort from the Word, to have the heart on self and not on Christ. Under such circumstances it may be a very lovely song, but leaving only a remembrance of its having been heard. When it is Jesus Himself we are after, He brings us into the banqueting house, and we cannot help joining in it. God would not have us to be invalids in His house all our lives, feeding on our sorrows and our joys, but like loving children, who come to a hearty breakfast in the morning, in all the gladness of His smile and the family joy. Then each one goes out to work hard and heartily for Him all day, returning to dine and to tell how he has spent his time in commending Christ, by his walk and ways.
The one thing needful is to be near Jesus and to hear His words — everything else will follow.
Adapted from Words of Truth, Vol. 7:155-157

I Love Thee Still

There is a growing tendency to looseness and laxity among believers, and this often takes the form of worldliness in amusements, dress, the furnishing of our homes, our affiliations and our companions.
Once we gloried in the cross, as being crucified with Christ, seeing on the one side a dead world, and on the other side a dead self. Now we view the cross simply as the transaction in which our sins were put away, and there we pause, disinclined to accept it as the end of ourselves for the world and the end of the world for us. “God forbid that I should glory” (Gal. 6:14) has ceased to be our prayer. We do not want the world rendered an object of contempt and shame to us, nor do we want to be rendered this to the world. Yet, this is where the cross leaves us.
The Beginning of Declension
We have lost Christ, perhaps not as an object of faith, but as the object of our affection. All declension begins here. With many of us it would seem to be enough to know Him as a Saviour. We are quite willing to use His sorrows and sufferings to separate us from our sins, but we do not want these to separate us from ourselves and our surroundings. With the individual as with the church, we are under the charge of “thou hast left thy first love” (Rev. 2:4), and we are solemnly called to “remember therefore from whence thou art fallen” (Rev. 2:5). There may be much in us that He can commend, but if He has lost His place in our hearts, if affections are alienated, we are “fallen.” Searching and solemn indictment! And what is His word to us? “Repent”!
It is not enough to be “on the ground” and to “have the truth.” We but repeat the sin of the Pharisees when we become content and complacent with externals. The truth must give us a state that comports and agrees with the place we are in. If this is effected, we will not “walk in the manners” of that world from which His cross has separated us.
Has the blessed Spirit been so grieved that He can no longer make good to us what is true of us in Christ? Have we lost the sense of His preciousness in our souls (1 Peter 2:7)? What disposition or desire can be satisfied apart from Christ, in whom every beauty, every charm and every glory meet? All must be disappointing, ephemeral and empty. The joy you are looking for you are leaving behind you in turning away from Him. Once, the passions and pleasures of this world, its gold and its glory, you counted but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ your Lord. “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of” (Gal. 4:15)? Iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxes cold.
He Is the Same
But He is the same, and our failure has not diminished His fullness; it is for us still. However chilled in heart or wayward in walk, I hear Him saying, “I love thee still.” Is there not a message from the cross, where love’s sweetest story was so fully told, where we became His at such awful cost, where He bought us so dearly?
I gave it all for thee;
What hast thou given for Me?
How much you are missing by leaving Him out of your life! And how much He is missing! The next thing to being with Him there is to have Him with us here, to have His conscious presence, and so to have a part with Him. When everything was slipping, Paul wrote to Timothy, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit” (2 Tim. 4:22). Do we catch this? It is the first movement toward being already in heaven. He was given for you — glory to His name! But have you lost Him as the One who gave Himself for you? Oh, what a loss, since “Christ is all” (Col. 3:11). He is the exalted One, “far above all heavens,” and you are not only the object of His consideration, but of His love!
Do we begin to grasp that height to which He has been carried — far above all heavens? He has the preeminence in all things, and “I am my beloved’s, and His desire is toward me” (Song of Sol. 7:10). What a secret to be in — a secret angels cannot know. Wait before Him until He fills you with His own fullness. For one look at Him there, Paul counted “all things but loss” (Phil. 3:8). No wonder he passed into an ecstasy and was “beside himself.” Stephen, occupied with Him and His glory, wore an angel’s face. Look long and lingeringly in that face that streams with the light of His glory, and it will cast a shade on all below.
Are you passing it all by? It is your loss now and eternally. Once in the secret of what Christ is, earth’s joys will become stale, and as His coming casts the light of the nearing glory across this “little while,” it will take the burden from your cross and the sharpness from the thorns, as you haste to meet Him with a bridal hymn.
F. C. Blount, adapted

Hearts Full of Christ

Where are our hearts? Oh, where are they? Are they occupied with this world, or are we quietly passing on to heaven, taken up with that which love cannot lose sight of — a living Christ in heaven?
What wealth do you have if you have not got Christ? If Christ is the Object before you, will all the things that fret you take Christ from you? All the things you long for, will they give you more of Christ?
Our springs, all the way from beginning to end, are in Christ; you cannot find anything apart from Christ. It will not do to stand on any ground apart from an ascended Christ. He who spoke as never man spoke is the One whose Word is to stand throughout eternity.
Ah! blessed Lord! I have got nothing but Thy love — a love that takes me right home to the Father’s house, to be with Thee where the full expression of that love is to be manifested. Such love is a powerful thing when it gets into the heart, to lead the feet into a walk quite different from that of a man who has not got it. I can turn to that Christ and say, Nothing can disturb me; that glorified Christ in God’s presence is the very ground of my peace.
G. V. Wigram