Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sunday Morning Thoughts From Oswald Chambers

Matthew 4:1-4 (King James Version)

Matthew 4

“1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Oswald Chambers had a way with words. As I read his devotion for February 20th my mind drifted away to a time in my life when great things were happening, very naturally. It was during that time someone challenged me to become more “spiritual.” I was in the process of preparing to be part of a crusade team that was going to Taiwan. After a meeting in which I was asking for some financial support a woman approached me and told me that she had been to Taiwan “in the spirit.” When I confessed my lack of understanding about what she meant she said, “If God really wants you to you to go He’ll get you there the same way he got me there, you’ll go “by the spirit.” You won’t need to go by airplane; you’ll just “be there.” Her answer stopped me short at first. She apparently believed herself so spiritual that all the normal conventions of life, including travel, didn't apply to her. After thinking about what she said for a moment I replied, “The Almighty had the foresight to send me to school and learn basic mathematics, ma’am. Having learned that I calculated that I had $200 available for the trip and since the trip is going to cost $1000 I am convinced that I need $800 in order to be able to make the trip.”

I was able, despite my lack of “spirituality,” to raise the funds and make the trip.

I occasionally think about my conversation with that woman when I’m around people who are so “spiritually inclined that they are no earthly good.” This is the subject Chambers was addressing in today’s devotionals. In the morning portion he talked about dreaming. It’s great to dream, it really is. But there are times when we need to wake up and find a way to make some of the things we dream about come true. Chambers put it this way:

The Initiative Against Dreaming

“Arise, let us go hence.” (
John 14:31)

“Dreaming about a thing in order to do it properly is right; but dreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong. After our Lord had said those wonderful things to His disciples, we might have expected that He would tell them to go away and meditate over them all; but our Lord never allowed “mooning.” When we are getting into contact with God in order to find out what He wants, dreaming is right; but when we are inclined to spend our time in dreaming over what we have been told what to do, it is a bad thing and God’s blessing is never on it. God’s initiative is always in the nature of stab against that kind of dreaming, the stab that bids us “neither sit nor stand but go.”

The evening devotional is just as pointed:

“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

“Our natural reactions are not wrong, although they may be used to express the wrong disposition. God never contradicted our natural reactions; He wants them to be made spiritual. When we are saved God does not alter the construction of our bodily life, but He does expect us to manifest in our bodily life the alteration He has made. We express ourselves naturally though our bodies, and we express the supernatural life of God in the same way, but it can only be done by the sacrifice of the natural. How many of us are spiritual in eating and drinking and sleeping? Those acts were spiritual in our Lord, His relationship with the Father was such that all His natural life was obedient to Him, and when He saw His Father’s will was for Him not to obey the natural reaction, He instantly obeyed His Father.”

“If our Lord had been fanatical He would have said – ‘I have been so long without food, I will never eat again.’ That would have been to obey a principle instead of God. When God is educating us along the line of turning the natural into the spiritual, we are apt to become fanatical. Because by God’s grace things have been done which are miraculous, we become devoted to the miracle and forget God, then when difficulties come we say that it is the antagonism of the devil. The fact is we are grossly ignorant of the way God has made us. All that we need is a little of what we understand by pluck in the natural world put into the spiritual. Don’t let your body get on top and say there is nothing after all in what God said. Stand up to the difficulty, and all that you ever believed about the transforming grace of God will be proved in your bodily life.”

Translated simply it all boils down to this. God has called you to make a trip. You do the math and see that you have a need and request help. You don’t pray to be “translated.” You do it all very naturally, like the rest of the human race. That’s natural spirituality!

I pray, dear reader, that these words will edify you this Sunday morning.


Josue said...

God never contradicted our natural reactions; He wants them to be made spiritual.And that process can be very exciting! It's always amazing to see how God can transform our tendencies to become godly :)

Jason J said...

Edifying indeed, thank you.

"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go."

Joshua 1.7