But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ" (Phil. 3:7).
As far as our Father is concerned, the early and middle years of the Christian life have to do primarily with our spiritual development. Maturity must underlie all abiding effectiveness. Most of our service during this time is learning how not to do it.
"Incalculable harm has been done to the deeper spirituality of the Church, by the idea that when once we are saved the using of the gifts in His service follows as a matter of course. No; for this there is indeed needed very special grace. And the way in which the grace comes is again that of sacrifice and surrender. We must see how all our gifts and powers are, even though we be children of God, still defiled by sin, and under the power of the old nature. We must feel that we cannot at once proceed to use them for God's glory. We must first lay them at Christ's feet, to be accepted and cleansed by Him.
"We must feel ourselves utterly powerless to use them aright. We must see that they are most dangerous to us, because through them the flesh, the old nature, will so easily exert its power. In this conviction we must part with them, giving them entirely to the Lord. When He has accepted them, and set His stamp upon them, we receive them back, to hold them as His property, to wait on Him for the grace to daily use them aright, and to have them act only under His influence." -A.M.
"Above all the difficulty which Paul had to meet in his care of the churches, that which arose from our disposition to return to the law, or to confidence in the flesh,' was the most frequent and the greatest."
"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord" (Phil. 3:8).
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