By Devern Fromke
I stood looking at a shallow dish of water in which some kernels of corn were breaking and sending forth green shoots. In that moment something I had been trying to express came into mind so vividly. It was just as though the Lord were saying: “It is not nature’s design for kernels to remain in this dish. Even so, I have too many little babes like these sprouting kernels who are under the delusion that, having accepted Me as their personal Saviour, all they need to do is grow. They do not seem to realize there can only be spiritual growth as there is proper climate and proper soil.”
I pondered what it would mean to be placed in a proper climate. He seemed to say: “Your climate is like a framework–so very important. There are some frameworks in which it is impossible to grow … if gaining a place in heaven by and by is your only goal, then you cannot expect spiritual growth, for there is no proper climate; you can only expect to reach heaven because Another has paid your admission price.
But if life holds the possibility of an infinite growth after the Infinite Pattern, then that should focus your eyes, stir your heart and quicken your spirit, for you can live with real expectancy for the big, the significant, the ultimate. Until you have been awakened to this kind of goal, do not assume that you have begun to breathe of that Eternal Climate.”
I understood the importance of a proper climate, now–what was the proper soil? Then I remembered a verse that is often quoted at this point as the answer: “But go on growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” … As I looked again at the little kernels in which death and decay was working, yet in which life was sprouting forth, I realized the importance of being transferred into “another dish”–into the environment or soil of His grace. As long as the little kernel remained in the dish, it was still living from its own stored up nutrients. Similarly, as long as there is no changing of the center of my life from self to God, there can be no real growth, or living by Him as my new source of Life. Living on the soil of myself, I simply cannot (really) grow.
We are not made to grow as a self-centered being–living in a display dish … We are designed to grow as our roots are in HIM. Hence the very first step in growing spiritually is a transplanting–a shifting from a self-centered to a God-centered source of life: this is growing in grace. And further, we must become alive and completely harmonized in the climate of His desire and purpose: this is growing in knowledge.
The rest of the article is at GraceNotebook.com
“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
Do you realize that the Christ in you is not an imperfect Christ? When the Lord Jesus wrought His Calvary work He not only dealt with the matter of forgiveness, but He went right on to the perfection of redemption, finally reaching the throne as the great Overcomer.
In Him, the Person, the whole ground of spiritual experience is covered and completed. There is no experience that can ever come to you or me that makes impossible the reaching of God’s end, for Christ has already met and overcome it. So we are not to struggle in vain attempts after perfection, but to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He seeks to make good in us the power of Christ’s finished work on the Cross. It is Christ in you who is the hope of glory. Anything less or anything else will bring no hope of glory but rather despair.
T. Austin-Sparks http://austin-sparks.net/
What is the balance between our part in ministry and God’s part? This question is an extension of the issue of our part and God’s part in sanctification. The latter is addressed in Philippians 2:12,13:
“Therefore, my beloved…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling [it was already “in-worked” at regeneration by grace -Titus 3:5]; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure [He expresses His power through us; we need to work out the evidence and maturation process in our soul as we cooperate].
Bob Hoekstra describes the cooperation of God ministering through Paul. Notice this avoids the extremes of passivity (God not requiring my participation) and also the extreme self-effort.
Yes, Paul “labored…abundantly.” In another letter he wrote: “To this end I also labor, striving” (Colossians 1:29). Elsewhere he stated: “For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day…we preached to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). As he wrote the believers in Corinth he recalled: “Are they ministers of Christ…I am more: in labors more abundant…in journeys often…in weariness and toil” (2 Corinthians 11:23, 26-27).
How startling to learn that Paul was not the cause behind this wondrous effect. This is seen in his confession: “yet not I.” Paul exerted himself for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How can a man labor strenuously and yet not be the cause of it all? The answer is in the remainder of his testimony: “yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” God’s grace at work in Paul’s life was the effective dynamic that brought forth such godly labor here on earth. “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” If we put our hope in the Lord, His grace will prove effective in our lives as well, giving us a testimony similar to Paul’s: “and His grace toward me was not in vain.”
– Day by Day by Grace 2/14