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One of the primary goals for believers is to “exhort one another” (Heb 10:25; also Heb 3:13; 1Th 4:18; 5:11), for as they grow in Christ (Eph 4:15; Eph 2:21; 1Pe 2:2; 2Pe 3:18) they become more aware of identifying “the old man” or “sin that dwelleth within” (Ro 7:17, 20) and its devices. Learning the correct response to it is where the growth is learned. Nothing can inhibit the work of God’s salvation performed within a soul, but there can be delay concerning spiritual growth, which results in excessive discouragement. “The lost need saved and the saved need delivered,” from self, Satan and society. God give us to “be strong,” not in self but “in the Lord” (Eph 6:10).
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The plant called “hen and chickens” is a very beautiful illustration of the new man—Christ and His own. The stem and large central flower is the parent plant, and growing out of the stem all around are small blossoms, alike in color and material to the central one, and differing only in size. The color always indicates the material, and morally the outside must be in keeping with the life within. “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect (mature—NC) man” (Jas 3:2).

Our great study should be to increase the treasure within (not salvation but fruit of the Spirit in our walk—NC), for according to as I am a mirror, I reflect the Lord Jesus—that is, in the moral order which is suited to, and emanating from the Father. There it is that my spiritual tastes are formed, and there they are fed, and I am to be an epistle here of what is written on me there. I find no help from my body, but it is an “earthen vessel that the excellency of the power may be of God” (2Co 4:7). I acquire the tastes, for use here, and I seek to express them here (formed There—used here—NC).

It is not merely conscience judging whether I am up to the Word or light made known to me; but spiritual taste is much more—it is nature (the nature of a being is the most important attribute, as it determines the quality of the soul’s thoughts and decisions—NC). My taste is formed in glory, and there it is nurtured and strengthened, and as it is, so do I find nothing here in keeping with my taste (other than other believers of course—NC). Association with the Son of Man, the One most perfect, and in every way most beautiful, develops my new life and nature, which are the same as His (minus the deity of course – Col 3:4—NC). Where He is, is my home—there I feed and rest; but here on earth, I am learning to set aside in death everything in me which hinders the “manifestation” of the Lord Jesus in my “mortal flesh” (2Co 4:11).

Now if I have only conscience, and if I hear much truth, or see much light, I am ever judging myself as to the extent in which I have received it. Conscience never imparts (but supplies what you are to impart or decide—NC). It is like a register, which keeps an account of all the changes of conditions, or a pedometer, that only goes as you move, and therefore records how much you have walked. It occupies you with your condition.

On the other hand, taste is ever set on finding something to suit itself. The blessed Lord walked about on earth—His own estate—looking for everything in it which could suit His taste (possibly during His growth years—NC). He required no register, no action of conscience (no need to discern good and evil for He already kows—NC), but He found very little here for His taste, while He continued in heaven, though manifestly on the earth (Jn 3:13 “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven,” which manifests Christ’s omnipresence. The phrase "who is in heaven” is omitted in the modern inferior translations—NC). He was the “Son of Man which is in heaven.” I do not say for a moment that we can go on without the conscience—it is quite right that the register should take note of the changes of condition, but this of itself would never advance us (e.g. how one responds to the conscience is what can cause advancement—NC).

Where the taste is the primary thing, then the conscience only warns or intimates to us that the taste has not been, as I may say, consulted. You can discern a person’s taste by the company he seeks. If you choose company below what your conscience approves of, your tastes are low, and you will sink—the dead are there; but if you seek the company morally superior to you, your tastes are good, and you will be helped and strengthened even though you may feel your own inferiority.

As I cultivate divine taste, I am occupied with good, and the more I am so, the stricter becomes my conscience to record the changes of condition. How different the experiences, “My soul thirsteth for Thee” (Psa 63:1), and “Why art thou cast down oh my soul?” In the former I am occupied with Him who satisfies me; my taste has found its object. But when I am watching (applying excessive reference—NC) what the conscience records, I am occupied with the result of life, rather than with the strength to support it, and this always depresses.


—J B Stoney (1814-1897)





MJS devotional excerpt for October 12

“If our affections are true to the glorified Lord Jesus, they will make this world a wilderness to us but if our affections do not make it a wilderness His government will. The Father loves us too well to allow our hearts to nestle here; and He makes us conscious that it is a wilderness that He may have opportunity in our loneliness and our sorrow to speak to our hearts. The Voice that could not be heard in the din and bustle, and amid the laughter of the city, can be heard in the silence and solitude of the wilderness.”
-C. A. Coats (1862-1945)

 
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