By: Ng Zhiwen
Well, as you’ll see here, I’ve moved on from John Piper (great book, t’was a christmas gift from someone in Zion – thanks for the blessing!) to Oswald Chambers for devotional reading.
Today’s reading just jumped out at me as if it was a word in season:
<quoted from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His highest, updated edition, 1992>
Arguments or Obedience?
… the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
Simplicity is the secret to seeing things clearly. A saint does not think clearly until a long time passes, but a saint ought to see clearly without any difficulty. You cannot think through spiritual confusion to make things clear; to make things clear, you must obey. In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. If there is something in your life upon which God has put His pressure, then obey Him in that matter. Bring all your “arguments and… every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” regarding the matter, and everything will become as clear as daylight to you (2 Corinthians 10:5). Your reasoning capacity will come later, but reasoning is not how we see. We see like children, and when we try to be wise we see nothing (see Matthew 11:25).
Even the smallest thing that we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is completely sufficient to account for spiritual confusion, and spending all of our time thinking about it will still never make it clear. Spiritual confusion can only be conquered through obedience. As soon as we obey, we have discernment. This is humiliating, because when we are confused we know that the reason lies in the state of our mind. But when our natural power of sight is devoted and submitted in obedience to the Holy Spirit, it becomes the very power by which we perceive God’s will, and our entire life is kept in simplicity.
This echoes what John 7:17 says… that “knowing” comes through a spirit of obedience (“willing to do His will”).
And I like what Oswald Chambers exposes to be the gate to such obedience… humility. Try as we might to be rational about it, this is very true. And we need to learn to be content that our Father knows best.
My other thought is this… such wisdom on how to live well does not generally come from what is taught in school (per se), nor does it come from any textbook or fictional novel or newspaper or website or blog. A devotional is impactful to the extent that the writer is deeply established in his walk with God (no doubt, probably with much struggling and stumbling along the way), and can bare his soul to convey it with words.
Most of the time, the wisdom to live well is transmitted through relationship. Personal relationship.
Who are you learning from? Who is sharpening you? (Prov 27:17)