“The eye of the Lord Jesus is never off us! ‘He withdraweth not His eyes
from the righteous.’ Let us remember that the flesh never can be made
any better; but the Lord Jesus is continually thinking of us to do the needed
thing. What does He do? He puts down the flesh. How does He deal with
us? He makes nothing of us; and that is not at all pleasant.
The Lord Jesus took care by this thorn in the flesh that Paul should be
a person in some way contemptible. Paul asked three times that it should
be taken away. Not at all, the Lord says: I have given it on purpose;
I must make nothing of Paul, that I may be everything to him. Do you say
you are in Christ before the Father, and loved as Christ is loved? I reckon
myself dead, if I talk of my place before the Father; I bear about the dying
of the Lord Jesus, if I am to manifest His life in this world. [For we which
live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of
Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2Cor. 4:11]. Nature,
of course, does not relish that; but, if we are to manifest the life of the
Lord Jesus in our mortal bodies, the flesh must be put down.
Reckon [count on being true] yourselves to be dead unto sin [nature], because
in Christ you have died. When you go down to this world, the only possible
dealing with the [sin nature] is making nothing of you. This is not power,
but it is the way the Father deals with us to give power, whether
to an apostle or to the giver of a cup of water. If you are in Christ, one
wants nothing but Him from you. The thorn is not strength in itself, but
preparation for power. Suppose Paul despicable in his ministry: well,
there never was such a work done before. Then there must be something
besides Paul here: it must be Christ. Ah! says Paul, ‘I glory in my
infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’
The Lord Jesus’ strength is made perfect [perfected, matured] in our
weakness. He cannot make it perfect in our strength! I am as weak as
water—a poor weak thing. God has chosen that no flesh may glory in
His presence. Where a person is nothing, ‘My strength is sufficient.’
Where is His strength made perfect? In a person who has no strength
at all: then it must be the Lord Jesus. When I am made nothing of,
‘I glory in my infirmities.’ There is what the Christian is.
My Father says that I have died, and am now alive unto Him, and loved
as His beloved Son is loved. My position is in Him, and in Him only.
Experience contradicts this. So I have to find out that the flesh is a judged
and crucified thing. ‘I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live.’
If in point of fact the flesh is there, it is a judged thing.
The Lord keeps me then; He sends a thorn, if needed, to put me down
completely. When the flesh is practically put down in its place of death,
then Christ’s strength is made perfect in my weakness, for there can be
no doubt that it is His strength. Are your hearts content that the [sin nature]
should be put down? Can you glory in infirmities that the power of Christ
may rest upon you?
If we seek to have the life of the Lord Jesus manifested in us, if we are
conscious that He is our blessed portion….we want more depth — all of us –
showing us what the flesh is, and what the Lord Jesus is. The time is
coming when we shall see all the rest was worse than vanity, stunting
the life of Christ in us, instead of mortifying our members on earth.
May the Father give us to see the Lord Jesus that we may now say
with Paul, ‘I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord.’” (William Kelly….edited by lkp)