Living by Grace, and Other Matters
The Lord’s Table
One of the factors that has contributed to the death of evangelical Christianity, especially in America, is the warped and defective views that Christians there have regarding the Lord's Table. The Lord's Table is to be partaken of by the believers every week, and is a time of great solemnity as well as an occasion of great joy.
Spirituality is Practical Love
"The measure of our spiritual life is no greater than our heart; the knowledge that is in the head is not the measure of spirituality. Spirituality is not mental agreement on things stated in the Word, it is the melting of one heart to another - to all saints." ~ TAS. [This explains why those of the Reformed churches have so little love, and very little life. Alas, too many are proud of their bookish knowledge. There is a world of difference between theory and practice.]
There are some exaggerated and weird statements that I keep reading now and then which purport to be Christian but are not. One such loony remark is: "When you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache." It becomes worse by saying: "When you open your Bible, Satan collapses." And "When Satan sees you reading it, he faints." These ridiculous concoctions make a mockery of the Christian faith.
you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache."
I don't think Satan cares. There are so many 'bloodless' Bibles. Most modern translations are ineffective. They are more the words of men than the word of God.
'When you open it, he collapses.'
This is the kind of overblown statement is typical of shallow cosmetic Christianity, and gives real Christians a headache. I think people who think Satan gets a headache and Satan collapses have the idea of a toy Satan, a sort of jack-in-the-box character who keeps popping up and down. They are the same people who confuse Santa Claus with God. And their idea of angels is little babies with wings and bare bottoms.
"When Satan sees you reading it, he faints."
It's kind of loony to imagine Satan fainting every time someone opens a Bible and reads it. Satan must be comatose by now.
"When Satan sees that you are living what you read, he flees."
I don't know what you mean by that. There are parts of the Bible which speak of deeds no Christian would dare to do. There are Abimelechs, Absaloms, Balaams & Judases no Christian would model himself on. 'Living what you read'? Maybe the weirdo who concocted such outrageous mumbo-jumbo should imitate Judas in Matt 27:5 and quit the scene...instead of further ruining evangelical Christianity with absurdities such as this.
You are either a whole-hearted Christian or not a true Biblical Christian at all. You may be a very good Christian in the eyes of the world, and even in the eyes of your local church or denomination; but where is your heart? Have you consecrated your life to Christ? Have you committed your life to obey the Lord at all costs? Has the cross worked so deeply in you that you realize your life is no longer your own, and that you belong totally to Christ.
Pilgrims and Strangers in this World
One thing I have learnt after walking with the Lord 20 years since I was born-again - that is, the Christian walk takes you far away from the world. You cannot love the world and love God at the same time. You have no interest in worldly pastimes, worldly fashions, worldly customs, worldly ideas. Your entire mind is oriented towards Christ - towards things that are spiritual & heavenly. I believe the Spirit of God does this deep inward work in the heart of every true child of God. Somehow you do not 'fit in' with the world. You are merely a pilgrim who is passing through.
Images of Christ
One thing bothers me about those who profess the Christian faith. If you are truly born-again and are walking with the Lord, how come you keep pictures of Christ in your profile icon, or your photo albums, or in your home or workplace? Nobody knows how Christ looked like. The traditional pictures of a long-haired Christ are false, and have no basis whatever. So why do you keep pictures of Christ? If you are truly spiritual, the eyes of your understanding will be opened to the truth that such images amount to idolatry and are in fact a cheapening of Christ.
The Increase of Christ
What is spiritual growth? What is spiritual maturity? What is it to go on in the Lord? Many think that spiritual maturity is a more comprehensive knowledge of Christian doctrine, a larger grasp of scriptural truth, a wider expanse of the knowledge of the things of God; and many such features are recorded as marks of growth, development, and spiritual maturity. Beloved, it is nothing of the kind... The hallmark of true spiritual development and maturity is this: that we have grown so much less and the Lord Jesus has grown so much more. The mature soul is one who is small in his or her own eyes, but in whose eyes the Lord Jesus is great. That is growth. We may know a very great deal, have a wonderful grasp of doctrine, of teaching, of truth, even of the Scriptures, and yet be spiritually very small, very immature, very childish. (There is all the difference between being childish and child-like.)
spiritual growth is just this: I decrease, He increases. It is the Lord Jesus
becoming more. You can test spiritual growth by that.
T. Austin Sparks
A truly crucified people are never in danger of the
world. The world has no place with a crucified man or woman, or a crucified
company of believers. The Cross is a great defensive against the world. If you
want to keep the world out, put the Cross in its place. If the Cross is truly
in its place in fullness, then everything else will come into order. The Cross
is the great defensive against the world...The Cross
is the great defensive against evil powers. The Cross makes everything safe; it
makes everything safe for the Lord.
You see, the Lord wants to commit Himself. He wants to trust Himself to His people, but if the Cross is not there at work, the Lord cannot trust Himself to them. The Lord says, "It is not safe for Me to give Myself there, or I should be involved in their un-crucified condition". The Cross makes everything safe for the Lord, and the Cross makes everything safe for the Church. If the Cross is really at work in all of us, we can trust one another. It is quite safe to trust yourself to a crucified man or woman.
T. Austin Sparks
Spirituality in Practical Day-to-Day Matters
Christ's spirituality included what was practical in everyday life. He brought heavenly forces and resources to bear upon the practical matters of everyday life. You can wash doors, or clothes, or floors - or do any of these ordinary domestic things - in spirituality. People seem to think that spiritual work and ordinary work - household work, for example - are two different things...
They talk about the spiritual work and the 'other work'.
But in reality, true spirituality brings in heavenly resources to do anything that is legitimate...and the doing of those things may be a testimony.
The majority of people have work which is of some regular, daily kind; and very often they feel utterly unable for it. They are tempted to think that if they had some spiritual ministry to fulfill - if they had to go and take a meeting or speak to some souls about spiritual matters - they could make a claim upon the Lord for help and He would carry them through. For the trivial round and common task, such a thought is all too often wholly absent from the mind.
Now, exactly the same resources have to come into the ordinary work as into what we call spiritual work. It has all to be done on a spiritual basis and therefore to be a testimony. To get through an ordinary day's work often requires something more than ordinary human resources. Spirituality consists in our doing everything as out from heaven.
T. Austin Sparks
Living by Grace, Living out of Heavenly Resources
consists in our doing everything as out from heaven.'
What a tremendous statement. Note the word 'everything'. It may be a big task or a small task; it may be a crucial project in your workplace or a menial chore - whatever it may be - you need 'heavenly resources' to do it. In other words, you need grace; you need the Spirit to take charge.
And for you to obtain grace or have the Spirit take charge of all your 'doings' - you have to 'pray without ceasing'. So whether it's cooking, or washing clothes, or brushing your shoes, or sweeping floors, or driving your car, or purchasing groceries; or whether it's baby-sitting, or signing a file, or doing exercise - anything and EVERYTHING - you need to be in tune with heaven, in tune with the Spirit of God, and live entirely by grace.
I am reminded of Paul's words in 1 Cor 15:10.
© Pratonix/Roland Oliver