- Oswald Chambers
If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else; but if you say lazily — “I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say,” the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else. Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.
- From “My Utmost for His Highest” December 15 reading
- For more Oswald Chambers click here to link to online “My Utmost for His Highest“
[This is an old post but a good one. Worth bringing attention to every now and then.]
I know that I have this quote on another page, but I had to bring it forward, make it easier to access, because the truth of what Oswald Chambers expresses here is much of what drives me on not just with this site but with my approach to God, his truth, his words and life in general.
He is right, you know!
Honest struggle with life and truth “will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else.” That is the reason that I (dave) feel that I have anything to say because I know I have struggled honestly before God. Generally speaking, as a society, and as the professing Church, because we have absorbed the same values as our culture, we have tremendously underestimated the value of our failures and have equally overestimated the value of our successes.
Read the pages of Scripture, and re-read, and listen, and read and listen. . .
(“Okay, dave, I get the point.”) The great people of the faith? Their failures are not only not omitted, but they are sometimes magnified. So why do we edit Scripture to make it more user-friendly? Why do we second-guess God? There is so much more than the Sunday School stories, more than moral teaching, more than systemized theology. I recently began reading in Genesis because my last go-round of reading the Bible through in a year took me a year and seven months, so I am just now starting again.
The story of Abraham (or should I say Abram?) is amazing. Now as we read this account we have to do at least three things to gain the most from it:
1) Remember what God said about Abraham.
2) Pay close attention to what is really going on in the story.
3) Let God show us where we are in the picture.
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. (James 2:23 NKJV)
Abraham had this standing with God because of his faith, not because of his credentials, not because of his great success.
Review point 1) Remember what God says about Abraham: “And he was called the friend of God.” Hold on to that truth all the way through the story.
Review point 2) Pay close attention to the story. Before Abraham ever left home he was worried about Sarai’s beauty getting him killed. Before he ever left home he came up with the half-truth excuse that Sarai was his sister.
This fear caused Sarai to end up in Pharaoh’s harem and in the harem of Abimelech. [You don’t have to take my word for it. If you don’t agree, go back and read the stories. I made it easy and quick for you; all you have to do is click on the hyperlinks.] Now we know that Sarai didn’t sleep with Abimelech; we don’t know this from the first episode with Pharaoh. Another interesting point is that much of Abraham’s wealth came from these two men as a result of his sin.
Before you get too upset with me let me encourage you to be patient. This great failure on Abraham’s part really is a result of his faith. We must remember the end result — “And he was called the friend of God.”
Abraham was a great man, a great man of faith, and a man who even though he failed greatly continued on in God. Hmm … Do we have a hint unfolding before our very eyes as to what the true life of faith is?
The God-breathed words of Scripture tell us about his life of faith, his journey into the unknown with only the promise of God as his light. He could have stayed home and none of this would have happened. He faced his fear and left his home not knowing where he was going. Following God was more important than protecting his image and staying safe. The potential for success (pleasing and glorifying God) weighed greater to Abraham than his fear of failure.
Much, much more in this story. You must read it.
But it is time to review point 3) Let God show us where we are in the picture.
Have you ever seen someone take a photograph and point someone out? Maybe you have done this? “See! There you are!”
That’s what we have to let God do. Show us where we are in this story. Show us where we are in our story. Let God point it out, let God speak to us — “See! There you are.” There you are stepping out in faith, there you are following up on your pastor’s exhortation to greater service, there you are trying to love and give as God would call us to, there you are trying to overcome your fears, there you are trying to defeat a chronic habit. . .
There you are trying to follow God in faith; leaving comfort for the unknown.
And like Abraham, there you are falling flat on your face.
Abraham blew it big time, but he had faith. Abraham was blessed by God like no one else, but even that did not keep him from failing miserably.
The question is not “Have I failed?” The question is “Will I go on in faith?”
If you are willing to go on in faith, and if you are willing to express your honest struggle with life and truth, “then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else.”
And I would like to give you the opportunity to share that wine on this site. Join with me in providing refreshing strength and courage to each other.
Others need your “wine of strengthening,” your honest expression of life as lived by a person of faith. If you are this type of person, you have something to say that can benefit another thirsty traveler.
Would you give them a drink?