The Things That Are Jesus Christ's

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 8
When the believer is in the simple enjoyment of union with Christ, which he is as he walks in communion, he necessarily is interested in the things that are Jesus Christ's. It is a mere consequence of realized relationship. However, it is painfully evident that many now, as in the Apostle's day, "seek their own things, not the things that are Jesus Christ's." It is important, therefore, to bring our own things into conformity with what is of Christ. There is a great deal in Christianity which is my own, and which interferes with being free to give myself to the things of Christ. I have first to learn the certainty of my salvation, next my portion on earth, as a son enjoying "home comforts" in a foreign land, the heavenly joys conveyed to my soul by the Spirit of God come down from heaven.
Now so long as I am occupied on the wilderness side of Jordan, I must be occupied with my own things. I have not merely escaped from Egypt, but I have the trials and difficulties of the wilderness to encounter. I need the throne of grace where I obtain mercy, and find grace for every needful time. I am safe from judgment first, then singing after crossing the Red Sea. Then finding Marah in the wilderness, and learning how the cross which has secured my peace with God, is now the power to turn the bitter water into sweet. Then there is the manna, and the rock that follows us-Christ's daily support; but at the same time there is the effort of Satan in Amalek, to check my progress. There is then on leaving the wilderness, the learning that there is nothing good in man (Num. 21). There is not full and satisfied deliverance until I have learned that I am over Jordan-until death that we brought in on ourselves, has been acknowledged and left behind; and we do not leave Jordan behind until we, by conscious union with Christ, rise from our own death with Him into the cloudless light in which He is, in heavenly places. Here I consider Christ's things begin; but my own continue during my course as well.
Now when we are seeking our own things, they are the things prominently before us, and we can detect it in everything we say and do. It is very evident that we cannot devote ourselves to Christ's things until we are in simple rest of heart touching our own. There is a preparation for the battle-field, as I might say. We eat of the passover and we eat of the corn of the land before the conflict, before we take an open stand for the Lord.
John 13 and 14 precede in moral order chapter 15. The heart of the believer is prepared by the Lord within, before he can come forth without, as it were, to stand for Him here as His friend. You must be in the Spirit, in heavenly places, before you can engage the enemy in all his force and opposition. You have to put on the whole armor of God before you can resist the wiles of the devil; and you must know your vocation before you can walk according to it. A soul must be in the peace of God before he can be free to engage in "whatsoever is lovely." The battle for Christ must be carried on in His name and by the Spirit only. It is not a warfare visible to the human eye. The success may be visible, but the conflict is not a visible one; therefore, we must be over Jordan, in the liberty of the Spirit, before we can engage the enemy in seeking the things of Jesus Christ.
Our blessed Lord in John 15:1212This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12) sets His disciples on the earth as characteristically of Himself. They are to love one another as He had loved them. They were His friends; as He had loved, they were to love. His interests were to be theirs in the same degree as they were to Himself. The wise woman in Pro. 31 sets forth the true nature of the service -she has the full confidence of her lord. "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her... • She will do him good and not evil" (as Eve had done). As there are two kinds of service in the Lord's ministry to the Church-nourishing and cherishing (Eph. 5:2929For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Ephesians 5:29))-so the true servant, devoted to His things pre-eminently, feeds and clothes the household. The Apostle gives a very large circle of works in Phil. 4:8, 98Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:8‑9). "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things"; but he sums up saying, "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." He was absolutely devoted to Christ's interests here.
There can never be the same kind of joy in the greatest blessing conferred on myself, and that my case required, as when in the smallest measure of His confidence I can enter into His things. There is a great distance between what His grace has done for us, and what I share as belonging to Him, as the Queen of Sheba in her interview with Solomon, though only a spectator, sets forth. It is in His things my heart learns not only the depths of His love, but how His heart acts for its object; so that then I find that His love passes knowledge, and it is then I know that all the resources of God are my support. What a moment of surpassing blessing it is when my heart is in its deepest joy, and I am conscious of all His power aiding me in that which interests my heart, because it is His things.
The Comforter is sent from the Father by Christ-the exalted Man-the Head of the body-to testify of Him; as He says, "He shall testify of Me." While then we seek His things, we are in the fellowship and strength of the Spirit of truth, so that the world, on the one hand, is marked off in a very distinct way. As John 16 says, "When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more." While on the other hand, He-the Object of the heart-is glorified. Communications, present and future-His things -are shown to you as Solomon's were to the Queen of Sheba, so that the deepest joy to the heart, and the fullest sense of God's support, are only known as His things are sought by me.
We have looked at the true preparation, and the immense gain of seeking Christ's interests; we may now note the loss, suffering and judgment entailed on those who either refuse the line of God's interest at any time, or depart from it when once in it.
We must admit that since the call of Abraham the blessed God has had a distinct line of interest which He committed to a man. I do not speak here now of His own testimony to His counsels, etc., but of that which was committed to man; and as those called of Him walked in true observance of it, they were singularly blessed by Him; but as they diverged from it, they were correspondingly the victims of the things which drew them aside. When Abraham diverged, he always suffered; and when he faithfully and persistently adhered to it, he was greatly blessed.
When Isaac diverged (Gen. 26), he had to deny the very relationship which his heart delighted in, just as a Christian now, when he drops from the line of testimony, denies his relationship to Christ, though the affection that he delights in is in his heart. Isaac suffers there and has to withdraw; and as soon as he does, he receives marked favor from the Lord. "And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed," etc. v. 24. And he had also a very signal instance of acknowledgment from man in the person of king Abimelech. Jacob abandons the line first because of his evil course- deception at home-and surely he suffered much on account of it. He on his return to it was beguiled from it at Shalem, and as he dropped down to the level of man, he suffered at the hands of man. In like manner from Joshua to Samuel. As Israel failed to be possessors of the land, they were carried captives, or oppressed where they would have ruled had they been faithful to the line of God's interest at the time.
Surely we see in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the history of the Church on the earth, and very markedly in our own day, and as it will be till the coming of the Lord, that those who are led by the Spirit of God devotedly in the line of His interests, are helped, not only by increased light and support from Him, but also by increased joy and usefulness, because they are seeking His things. And surely there could not be found on earth any path with greater or more perfect blessings.
The Lord lead all our hearts more into it, for His name's sake.