Pauline Abandonment

seven5“…. I count all thing to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ….” -Phil. 3.8

It is a rarity these days for men to come into a vital apprehension of this Pauline brand of abandonment to Jesus Christ. We are apt to talk up the qualities of our conferences, ministries, and distinctives, but it is far too infrequently that we are touched by the kind of consuming vigor, or “vehement longing” for Christ (as Jonathan Edwards once put it) that was the hallmark of the apostle’s life and service. We are too easily distracted, too quickly satisfied, too prone to wandering, and we lack the mentality and grit that the apostle expresses in Philippians 3.

Even so, a holy passion for the Lord should not be confined to Paul, Moses, Spurgeon, Wesley, or any other man. To abandon the “world, the flesh, and the devil” and to concentrate upon Him is the life-bread of the Church, for He is our great prize not only in the age to come, but in the here and now. We need desperately to discern that which draws our gaze away from Him, and to raze it to rubble before Him. We need to contend against the winds of this age, that we might come into the liberty of apostolic abandonment to Jesus Christ. Distracting things bear such a magnetic pull, especially in our gadget-laden generation. Even ministry itself may be the hindering point.

Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work. The one concern of a worker should be concentration on God, and this will mean that all the other margins of life, mental, moral and spiritual, are free with the freedom of a child, a worshipping child, not a wayward child.

…. There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him. The freedom after sanctification is the freedom of a child, the things that used to keep the life pinned down are gone. But be careful to remember that you are freed for one thing only- to be absolutely devoted to your co-Worker.

…. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work.

(O. Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; April 23rd selection)

The “surpassing value” is not in gold, popularity, platform ministry, or even in our personal sanctification. Great delight results when the Lord bears fruit in our ministry, but the “surpassing value” is in knowing the Man Christ Jesus Himself. All else flows from that remarkable place where we are enlarged in Him, drawing from His character, hearing His shepherding Voice, beholding His glorious face. Am I pursuing the treasures of this world; seeking a name in ministry; aching for a reputation before men; concerned only for my own peace, prosperity and happiness? Or am I totally abandoned in my innermost parts to Jesus Christ? Is He my treasure?

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