LIVING AS APPRENTICES
Sarah Young’s devotional, Jesus Calling, has become the “quiet time” reading of choice for many Christians. I have gone through this book several times and been blessed. We even give it away to the participants in our Apprentice of Jesus classes.
Today, however, I was reminded of an older book which set the stage for my life as an Apprentice decades ago, Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for his Highest. As I paged through this daily devotional, (first copyrighted in 1935; now available in an “Updated Edition in Today’s Language”), I was immediately brought back to the time when I first learned the “hard” but glorious truths of commitment to Jesus. Much of it was way above my head (or too deep) then. But today everything jumped off the page as truth behind my experience in the “with-God” life.
I can’t resist sharing a quote that popped out for me this morning. It is based on John 16: 33. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (For those of you who may have the book, this is from a devotional for August 2.)
“God does not give us overcoming life – He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds are strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength. Are you asking God to give you life, liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain. And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the first step. Then God will give you nourishment – “To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the tree of life”(Rev. 2:7).
If you completely give of yourself physically, you become exhausted, But when you give of yourself spiritually, you get more strength. God never gives us strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment. Our temptation is to face adversities from the standpoint of our own common sense. But a saint can “be of good cheer” even when seemingly defeated by adversities, because victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God.”
Here is the Biblical truth behind the AA advice to “live one day at a time” (or one hour or one moment). And of course, 12-step programs are places “where victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God.”
How true! So how can we help Christ followers become conscious of that truth and develop that awareness in the first half of their lives? (Isn’t this a very Richard Rohr discussion? 🙂
Understanding that “the strain of life builds strength” often does not come until the second half of one’s well-strained life.
The book’s complete title is “Jesus Calling, Enjoying peace in His Presence.” Sarah Young writes from the first person perspective of Jesus, “calling” us to a life of confidence, hope, trust, joy – and accountability. It’s very readable and conversational. I think you would enjoy it. Here is a quote from the devotional for Nov. 9: “Sit quietly with me, letting all your fears and worries bubble up to the surface of your consciousness. There, in the Light of My Presence, the bubbles pop and disappear. However, some fears surface over and over again, especially for the future. You tend to project yourself mentally into the next day, week, year, decade and you visualize yourself coping badly in those times. What you are seeing is a false image, because it doesn’t include ME. Those gloomy times that you imagine will not come to pass, since My Presence will be with you at all times. . . . “
I missed this post somehow. Must have been because we were away. I’d never heard of Sarah Young or Jesus Calling. But if it’s of the same caliber as Oswald Chambers, it’s one to get for sure! When we first read it years ago a lot of it was too deep for us too. Yet, somehow there was always something there that called us to come up higher. But now it just seems to get richer and richer. Maybe because through the years the Lord has called us in deeper and deeper. This is a great one…except God. If not for that, who would have strength to go on?