Monday, 13 February 2012

An Excerpt by Oswald Chambers

I have a soft spot for Oswald Chambers (Or am I just a sucker for a good ol' godly British man when I see one!?). Anything I have ever picked up by him has pierced right to the heart of whatever season I've been tramping through at the time... While home, I often root through my mom's book shelves and this time I fell upon a little gem by Chambers called, quite simply, "The Love of God". Using Jude 1:21, Chambers expounds on my God's love in a way that challenges me to be "driven further and further out into the ocean fullness of the love of God", and I can't help but share it with you!

"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
--Jude 1:21

"We know how to keep ourselves in health. how to keep ourselves in knowledge, and so on; but to keep ourselves in the love of God is a big order, and our minds are exercised to know what Jude means by this exhortation. Does relaxing all stringency and carefulness mean that we slip out into a broad, humanitarian spirit that says, 'God is love,' and 'God's in His heaven; all's right with the world'? No, it cannot mean anything so natural as that, otherwise we had no need of an inspired writer to tell us to do it, and besides, Jude strikes terrible notes of warning (see vv.17-19). 'Keep yourselves in the love of God' refers very clearly to something distinct and special, something revealed in the direct will of God; a spiritual endeavor that we must consider and consider carefully with the Holy Spirit's help.
'Keep' means work. It is not a lazy floating, it is work. Work, or you will depart from the love of God [I need to stress here that he is not taking about earning God's love here, but about the work it takes to keep ourselves aware of it, to remind ourselves, and to choose to live in the knowledge of it!]. Begin to trace the finger of God and the love of God in the great calamities of earth, and in the calamities that have befallen you. In sweat of brain and spirit, work, agonizing at times, to keep yourself in the love of God. It is our wisdom, our happiness, our security to keep ourselves in the love of God. How do I keep myself in any sphere but by using every means to abide in it? If I wish to keep in the spiritual sphere of the love of God I must use the great organ of the spiritual realm, faith. 'God loves me'. Say it over and over and over, heedless of your feelings that come and go. Do not live at a distance from God, live near Him, delighting yourself in Him. Remove all barriers of selfishness and fear and plunge into the fathomless love of God.
'Keep yourselves in the love of God,' not 'keep on loving God.' None can do that. When once you have understood the truth about your own heart's sinfulness, think not again of it, but look at the great, vast, illimitable magnificence of the love of God. Oh, may we be driven-- driven further and further out into the ocean fullness of the love of God, taking care that nothing entices us out of that fullness again.
'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?' (Romans 8:35). Oh, the fullness of peace and joy and gladness when we are persuaded that nothing 'shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

I want to be driven further and further out into the ocean fullness of the love of God. I want to take care that nothing entices me out of that fullness again. I want to trust that every single day-- even if those days include horrid and hard goodbyes with dear ones I love, and long journeys back to lonely and discouraging places-- He is inviting me to know more of His love. And from that place of receiving it, to every day give and reflect more and more of it. To watch Him transform this world with my own little piece of the mirror reflecting the truth of His love and mercy.

Let's keep ourselves in this love til our every decision, every action, every word, even every hope reflects it out to a dying world...

Thanks again, dear Oswald :)

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