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Spiritual Matriculation

It is a great thing to be able to apprehend the particular lesson which the Lord is teaching us at the moment. Since we are going on with Him, we will be learning something. It is not merely that spiritual health is preserved in order that one may the more effectually learn.

In the early stages of a Christian’s life it is easy to note the lesson for the moment. Forgiveness, peace, liberty, and so on. But when we have arrived where Israel had on the days of Joshua, when “the land rested from war,” when it is no longer the question whether the old man is to be heard, or Christ, but when what is before us is simply and exclusively the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, the lesson is not so marked.

Yet there must continually be some new lesson, if there is to be any advancement. If a tree grows, there must be new buds. I find that there is one great mark of the lesson which, in His grace He is teaching me, and that is, the way in which that particular line of things are presented to me and pressed upon me in nearly every Scripture which I read or hear. It is ever recurring. The writing on the fleshly table of the heart is not done without digging deep. There is line upon line; here a little and there a little, but there is a deep sense of light respecting the lesson of truth which the Lord is teaching me.

It is always something of the Lord Jesus—be it His sympathy, or how He suffered here, or how He enjoyed the love of the Father; and it practically reproduces in me the life of the Lord Jesus. I increase in the knowledge of Him; and as I do, I am discovering that greater things yet are to be learned, and therefore I am ever proud of my learning; and as soon as one lesson is in a degree learned, I am led on to another; and every advance, like every fresh bud on a tree, only imparts tone and vigor to all the previous acquisitions.

I say all this that your reading of the Word may not be formal. It is quite right to obtain a knowledge of Scripture, as to its general meaning; but the more I do so, the more am I helped in the formative power of the Word, if my heart is really set on the Lord Jesus. A painter puts on color after color, and thus forms his picture; he studies the nature and use of colors first, but it is the skillful adaptation of them that creates the painting. It is well to read and get knowledge, but unless you are in communion with the Lord Jesus, you will not grow in likeness to what you admire as record in the Word.

- J B Stoney

Miles J Stanford devotional: None But The Hungry Heart