“Power Belongeth Unto God”

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Until we leave this life, the walk of a believer is always exactly at the place where God desires him at any given time, because He is using everything in our lives at all times to progressively “conform” our manner of life here. This means all that we encounter and obtain (no more and no less) is exactly what He not only already knows of but also uses to mature us in His Son Jesus.



“Power Belongeth Unto God”

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Cor 72:11). God never gives intrinsic (of its own accord—NC) power to His saints. “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God (Psa 62:11). If this is important in the lives of the saints, how much more, if I may draw a distinction, is it for those who are called upon to serve in the Word. Yet in every service and in every action in the lives of God’s people, His power is needful, that they may walk and serve in the energy of the Spirit and in the manifestation of the life of the Lord Jesus in their mortal flesh.

In order for the Christian life to be “not I, but Christ,” the Father’s discipline is suited and adapted to each individual soul. This is the reason why, I doubt not, that all speculations as to what was the nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh, end in nothing. God has wisely seen fit to leave it untold. Were it made known, we would have perhaps settled that it was not ours (e.g. that we have no thorn—NC), and then have left it there. To have left it untold, gives us to see that there was a great principle of God’s dealings, seen in this man’s case, but applicable to all. Each would have his suited thorn, the very thing that would counteract his natural tendency; and so act to strip him of every pretension to power, and break any fancied strength of man.

We see this on every hand, but we see it more clearly in our own soul’s history. For it is not always that another is permitted to know the secret thorn which rankles in the breast, such as that we would give the world to remove, until we know the “end of the Lord.” He presses home the “stake” which pins us to the earth, as it were, in much powerlessness. You see this at times, for instance, in incongruous marriages. The soul is worn away, especially in a sensitive, spiritual mind; and there is no earthly power which can change the sorrow, and heavenly deliverance is withheld.

Again, there is a child whose conduct breaks the heart of a parent; every measure fails to deal with him, and the “thorn” rankles deeply in the wounded heart. It may be that some disgrace is permitted, as to which the soul feels that death were easier to beat. It may be that slander has stung the soul with deeper pain. There may be, too, some human weakness, which renders the afflicted one an object of pain to those who love him, or of ridicule to others. Such as these, and the many sorrows of the way are used of the Father as the thorn, to curb the energy of the flesh, to break the strength of “man.”

Circumstances, friends, relatives, health and good name all are touched by Wisdom in this holy discipline of the soul. These things in the hand of the Father are like the river banks which on either side guide the stream of waters useful and fructifying, which, if flowing onwards without these guides, would devastate all around, instead of bearing a blessing on their bosom. How often have we not thought what good Christians we might have been if circumstances were different; in short, if the banks which carry the river were broken down. Nay, these are the wise dealings of our Father to keep us just in the channel and path where we are, in order to glorify Him.

There is a “threefold cord” (Ecc 4:12) which must be found in the saint if he would serve his Lord aright: the motive, the energy and the end. At times the motive may be right and the end also, but the energy may be but the human vessel (Zec 4:6) working out, as it supposes, the things of the Lord. All three must go together, and this is the object of this disciplinary process that all may be of the Father, and not of us.

- F G Patterson



Excerpt from MJS devotional for June 20:

“What becomes us now is to have the Lord Jesus before us, and not the correction of the old man. The snare of trying to improve oneself is very common, and it is important to see, that however well-meaning it may be, it is really a denial that our old man has been crucified, and a revival of that which has been judged in the death of the Cross.” – MJS
None But The Hungry Heart
 
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To further explain concerning the spiritual growth of believers (which are those born again), all are at a certain level of learning to “walk in the Spirit,” and this learning will continue to progress until we’re taken out of the world. God has each on a preplanned course and are growing in accordance with all that He has purposed concerning our “being conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29).

This “conformation” is complete concerning being sons (children) of God, as Christ is the Son of God, but concerning living according to God’s holiness and pleasure this involves an unceasing progression, and the position each are at concerning this level of maturity is where God has them—for now—which maturity will ever progress.

John Gill:
“He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son; having perfect, distinct, special knowledge of them, joined with love to them, he predetermined, or fore-appointed them in his eternal mind, in his everlasting and unchangeable purposes and decrees to this end, conformity to the image of Christ; which is not to be understood of the Spirit of Christ: God's elect indeed are chosen to be holy, and through sanctification of the Spirit.”
 
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