My Utmost for His Highest (abbreviated to MUfHH by yours truly) by Oswald Chambers is one of the devotionals I read every morning during my prayer time. I love it how Mr. Chambers (or as I like to call him, Pareng Oswald ;p) can be so profound and direct at the same time. Sometimes his reflections can be a bit deep and most of the times they pierce straight into the heart and soul, but they are great insights nonetheless.
Anyway, from time to time, I’d be sharing some of the reflections that can be found in this book in this blog because the messages I got there are just too valuable not to share. :) They’re the kind of things you read that you want to highlight all over because hit you straight on. In common language, swak na swak. :P And here’s today’s reflection, which definitely hits the spot.
ARE YOU READY TO BE OFFERED?
“I am already being poured out as a drink offering.” 2 Timothy 4:6 (R. V. Marg.)
“I am ready to be offered.” It is a transaction of will, not of sentiment. Tell God you are ready to be offered; then let the consequences be what they may, there is no strand of complaint now, no matter what God chooses. God puts you through the crisis in private, no one person can help an other. Externally the life may be the same; the difference is in will. Go through the crisis in will, then when it comes externally there will be no thought of the cost. If you do not transact in will with God along this line, you will end in awakening sympathy for yourself.
“Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” The altar means fire – burning and purification and insulation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God. You do not destroy it, God does; you bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar; and see that you do not give way to self-pity when the fire begins. After this way of fire, there is nothing that oppresses or depresses. When the crisis arises, you realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What is your way of fire?
Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.
* February 6, 2007 reflection from My Utmost for His Highest, emphasis mine.
This particular reflection reminds me of God.com by Alexander Langteoux, and Elijah’s sacrifice on Mt. Carmel (more to this on another post). This reflection obviously does not give a picture of a happy kind of faith, where one gets what he/she asks for in prayer. At first, our spiritual life would start like that, until God tells you it’s time to mature. And that’s where the struggle, the confusion and the sacrifices come in.
I think this is what most people avoid in their spiritual life, the one that comes after the initial wonder of discovering who God is. After a period of “bliss”, God brings our faith into a deeper level. This is the time when God asks one to do two things that I think are the hardest things to do: to let go and to trust. You may say that it’s easy to do that, like the way you let go of a top that doesn’t fit you anymore or the way you trust a friend by telling him a secret. But what if you have to let go of someone you loved for a long time because the relationship isn’t working out? Would you be able to let go? Or what if you had to tell your friend something about your past that you are so ashamed of, one that could potentially destroy your friendship? Would you be able to trust your friend even if he urges you to do so?
For the past few weeks, I’ve been learning that faith is hardly comfortable at all. It’s easy to tell God that you have faith in Him but to really put it into action is hard. To let go of yourself and to trust in Him fully is never comfortable. We tend to think that when we put our lives in God’s hands, our lives would become easier and it would be smooth sailing all the way. But it’s not. One of the major things we have to learn about believing in God is that it requires sacrifices. Although God loves just just the way we are, if we really want to follow Him, it would require sacrifice on our part. We cannot follow Him and our selfish desires at the same time. As we grow in our faith, we have to let go of our other baggages and learn to trust in Him. We have to let go of our former selves and trust that God is in control, that He won’t let anything harm us.
It may sound easy as I write it and you read it, but actually trying to live that out is, well, hard. I’m still struggling with this, and just as when I thought all my selfish parts have been “burned”, as Oswald Chambers said, I find out there’s more. The more you truly believe in Him, the more you — the selfish, conceited and nasty you — are destroyed to make room for the new person He is making you to be. This is the fire that comes to our lives once we decide to truly follow Him, the fire that burns not us, but the selfishness that lives within us.
I know this sounds all negative and all, but look at the last line of the reflection: Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be. Think of your deepest, greatest and most wished-for dream, the one that makes you sigh and say, “Someday.” Think of your sincerest hopes, the ones where you say, “I promise to be good if only this would happen to me/if only I could get this.” Now think of that, and think of what you will do when you fulfill those dreams, those hopes. Think of the joy you felt on Christmas morning as a kid, and multiply that a thousand fold. That is just a taste of what God has in store for you, for me, for us. The pain that you and I experienced, am experiencing and will experience as the fire refines us is nothing compared to what He has in store for us after.
Letting go. Trust. Sacrifice. JOY. Are you ready to be offered?
Have a nice day, everyone. :)