TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS

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GROWTH LITERATURE……Miles J. Stanford

STUDY STANDARDS

If the Holy Spirit has given you a hunger to grow in the Lord Jesus, He has no doubt been directing much of your Bible study to the deeper truths of Romans, Ephesians, and Colossians. Coupled with this you may have been seeking study material in the realm of spiritual growth.

If, on the negative side, the Spirit has burdened you to be free from the dominion of sin and the old nature, that is something to value very highly and to nourish carefully. If, on the positive side, the Spirit has fostered a yearning in your heart to be conformed to the image of Christ, thankfully cultivate and protect that.

There is no question but that your spiritual development must be based upon personal study of the Word, supplemented by sound growth literature.

GROWING AND SHARING

There are several important reasons for. confining your study of the growth truths to the soundest and most Christ-centered writing that is procurable. First of all, you want God’s very best in your spiritual growth; you hunger to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3;18). Always avoid the secondary!

As you may have discovered, growth calls for a tremendous amount of concentration. Have you noticed the time and work involved? It isn’t that you are dull and slow of comprehension; the fact is that the growth truths require prayerful study, over and over and over again. Therefore it would be foolish to spend time on less than the best.

Another essential factor is that our spiritual growth is not only to be carefully nurtured for the Father’s glory, and for our own benefit, but also for the sake of others. Note what Paul writes to Timothy, and to each of us: “Give attendance to reading”…to doctrine….Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profit may appear to all. Take heed to thyself and unto the doctrine; continue in them” (1 Tim. 4:13,15,16).

When it comes to sharing and recommending growth material, we should maintain just as high a standard for others as for ourselves. There is a blessed ministry for each of, us: (a) by means of our spiritual growth –“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conduct, in love”; (b) by means of sharing–“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, unto which thou hast attained” (1 Tim. 4:12,6).

DELIVERANCE……THE BEGINNING

To answer your questions on deliverance:  I can only share with you the concepts the Lord gave me; my “history” with the Lord.  I had learned the Romans 6-8 (sanctification truths) and  knew they were not in my life and walk with the Lord….how to apply was a mystery to me, but as I read what the apostle Paul had written about the Christian life and the early Plymouth Brethren writers, I knew there was another experience:  one of joy and peace and contentment (versus the depression, sorrow and grief that I was experiencing).

I knew the reality of these truths were not based upon “good circumstances”…i.e. money in the bank etc., but based on the source of the Christian life: knowing Jesus Christ. So, I learned to ignore my unstable emotions and thoughts (see 2 Cor. 10:3-5,7) and  stand upon the word of God. All this means is believing God’s Word….believing what He says, though it may not be in your life.  He will make all things clear…He will work it into your life in time. (Heb.13:21) I am sure you have “tasted that the Lord is gracious” and are able to believe He will give you what He has promised through His Word.  Our “part” is to rest in Him and His Word while He works in us.  Now resting does not mean doing nothing.

When He in His perfect timing, brought in the “sifting” and “those things that are shaken” (Heb.12:27), He brings us “low” (as J.N Darby said) and humbles us (as George Mueller said.).  This hopefully causes us to be teachable and not bitter. We are to be “tenderhearted” throughout His dealings with us.  (keeping that fellowship with Him..1John 1:3-9).  There is a “turning point” (see Deliverance papers by William  Kelly and J.N. Darby) where we look “outside of ourselves”…He now is our focus more and more rather than the trials.

What does the Word of God say about us?  For one thing:  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”  Reading this is not enough.  We must dig…what does it mean to be “in Christ” ?  We are  now identified with Christ…not our sin or our sin nature.  Not that we take a “light view” of sin…but we confess and leave it with Him.  Wonderful gift from Him.  I read and read…especially Romans 8.  I may have told you how I wrote the scriptures from that chapter on 3×5 cards and taped them to my cupboards.  Hannah Whitall Smith said in one of her books:  “He saves me now.” Present tense.  That went up on the cupboards.  The discouraging thoughts came like waves that rolled upon me, but I was standing upon those verses.  Gradually, I realized in my experience freedom as I “refused” to dwell on the discouraging thoughts.  And the thoughts diminished.  So it is with refusing the sin nature on all levels.  This is a miracle and what our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross (see Romans 6:6-7,10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Romans 8:3).  

As we continue to believe what the word of God says about freedom from the sin nature and we apply the truth, the pull of the sin nature fades.  Not that it won’t pop-up in some other way, but the answer is the same.  We “died” with Christ positionally and now the Holy Spirit makes real all those “riches of His grace” in us.  First we must “know” the sanctification truths before we are able or even interested in experiencing freedom from the power of the sin nature in us.  Truly this verse is fulfilled in us as we study His word:  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb.11:6) If we study “lightly”, we will know the freedom from sin “lightly.”  If we are a divided man (James 1:6-8) we will be unstable.  The Lord revealed to me during my “wretched man” time that I put my loved ones before the Lord.  I did not realize I had done this all my Christian life.  This process is very necessary…and very personal.  What He reveals to one believer will obviously be different than another.  We learn that He must have preeminence in our life.  Out from that relationship comes love for others.  

The Lord brought me to Romans 12:1 and 2 Cor. 5:15.  Years earlier I would go forward on an altar call as we were urged to obey Romans 12:1.  It was all for naught…I did not understand.  It takes time and it is a work of the Holy Spirit to reveal “self” to ourselves.  I believe as we have been taught that Romans 12:1 is a one time thing that we look back on.  But it is no issue now..I belong to the Lord.  The epistles are full of our “riches in Christ”…our positions in Christ.  We do not experience the truth but as we stand upon them, our thinking changes.  You asked how we “cooperate” with the Lord in our growth process.  This is where submission comes in…some call it yieldedness, some brokenness.  “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”  In our Bible classes , we learned the definition of humility:  a lowering of our minds to God’s mind…His written word.  We chose to believe what the Lord says in His word over human viewpoint.

We accept the humbling of the Lord in our circumstances…that He does all things right so this circumstance is from Him for my spiritual good.  We may experience suffering as we yield to the Spirit…as we are “crossing the sinful nature” but it is as nothing when we realize the blessings of walking in the Spirit…versus the reaping of the flesh.  There is much “reaping” in the flesh but even that is turned to our spiritual good. We learn thoroughly that doing things His way brings the peaceable fruit of righteousness.  Read as the Lord leads you; there is encouragement for us in our “wilderness journey” here.  lkp

GOD’S WILL

“”Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

A visitor at a school for the deaf and dumb was writing questions on the
blackboard for the children. By and by he wrote this sentence:
“Why has God made me to hear and speak, and made you deaf and dumb?”

The awful sentence fell upon the little ones like a fierce blow in the face.
They sat palsied before that dreadful “Why?” And then a little girl arose.

Her lip was trembling. Her eyes were swimming with tears. Straight
to the board she walked, and, picking up the crayon, wrote with
firm hand these precious words: “Even so, Father, for so it seemed
good in thy sight.” Matt. 11:26

No chance hath brought this ill to me;
‘Tis God’s own hand, so let it be,
He seeth what I cannot see
There is a need -be for each pain,
And He one day will make it plain
That earthy loss is heavenly gain.

Like as a piece of tapestry
Viewed from the back appears to be
Naught but threads tangled
hopelessly;
But in the front a picture fair
Rewards the worker for his care,
Proving his skill and patience rare,
Thou art the Workman, I the frame.
Lord, for the glory of Thy Name,
Perfect Thine image on the same.
–Selected
(Streams in the Desert, February 12)