Natural Resources Cut off to Trust in God

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
There is one great truth connected with Christianity which we do not think enough about-the peculiar place the bodies of the Lord's people occupy in His dealings with them. We must not forget that the body is the Lord's, "the body... for the Lord; and the Lord for the body" (1 Cor. 6:1313Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:13)). Sometimes people make this a plea for indulgence, and sometimes for neglecting the body, but it ought to keep me from erring on either side.
It is an amazing fact that this body, once the vessel in which Satan's malignity was displayed against Christ, is now the vessel in which God is displaying the glory of His Son. I would call your attention to a passage in Phil. 1:2020According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (Philippians 1:20), where the Apostle speaks of his earnest expectation, and his hope that in nothing he might be ashamed, "but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death." In this vessel of clay, our body, that is the very sphere in which God proposes to display the superiority of His Son. If we reckoned thus, how differently should we think of bodily trial; He wants everything to be tributary to His great end—the magnifying in us, the displaying of the excellence of His own dear Son.
When we get into a difficulty, what is our first thought? Is not our first question generally, How can I escape from it? Rather let it be, How shall I best glorify God? How shall Christ be magnified? How wonderful a thing it is! Think of the blessed Son, the anointed of God, magnified in my poor body. The Christ at God's right hand magnified in me! I cannot, of course, make Christ greater than He is-that were impossible, that's not the thought- but all that Christ is to God, and for God, should come out in this worthless weak vessel; nothing less is His thought.
There is danger of our making the things of Christ as so many doctrines to which we give our assent. Remember that Christianity is not a well framed statement of theology (though, of course, it is a most full and perfect revelation of God); but Christianity, true Christianity, is a living power which ought to be displayed in me, seen in me, every moment. God never intended that the truths of Christianity should be separated from the Person of Christ. It is the display of His Person that gives force and power, and God would make all circumstances contribute to our showing out Christ. The Apostle says, "For to me to live is Christ."
The first chapter of 2 Corinthians shows us the Apostle in circumstances into which he was brought by his testimony—all hope, humanly speaking, was gone. That was God's object. I suppose there are few but know more or less of what it is to prove something of this. When God closes every door, what are we apt to do? The tendency in us is to try and escape of ourselves. The force and energy of our natural character comes out amazingly when we are pressed. Here the Apostle gets the sentence of death in himself. God brings him face to face with circumstances that shut out every hope, in order that he might turn his eye to the living God. Do we see this is God's way—to cut us off from natural resources? Here the Apostle gets the sentence of death in himself, and looks up to the Quickener of the dead.
"We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."
It is God who does this to meet the natural tendency of our hearts to turn to an "arm of flesh." The Apostle gets the sentence of death in himself that he might not trust in himself. It is wonderful how self-confidence sticks to us; we do not deny this truth as a matter of doctrine, but we do very much in practice. It is one of the last things we learn, to have "no confidence in the flesh."
What a living resource for the heart is God, the living God, who quickens the dead. I look to Him, and not only this, but all that He is in Himself is my portion, apart from the question of all that He does. I have this wonderful resource—God Himself- apart from deliverances, apart from how He will intervene for me. It is an unspeakable comfort this—we have the Deliverer before we get the deliverance. That is what the Lord wanted to teach the disciples in the storm. He said to them, as it were Have you so far forgotten the fact that you have the Maker of the bread in the boat with you? He would make my heart know the superiority of this knowledge-that I have the Deliverer Himself, who is above and beyond all circumstances.
We sometimes sing that hymn, "Jesus, Thou art enough!" Are we not wonderfully taken aback sometimes? Dear brethren, we must look for reality. God looks for it. Unreality is abroad. Two things characterize profession now—unreality and unrest. Now Christ gives both reality and rest. The Apostle could say, "We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in. God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver."
He hath delivered, He doth, He will-past, present, and future. The Apostle knew God, knew Him as a delivering God, and thus he could speak as confidently of the future as he could of the past.