Do we collate our union and fellowship with the Father and the Son according to our obedience, or according to how we are to Them in the Son? Our obedience is the result of the Father’s work in us (Phl 2:13), which never needs to address the attainment of favor (already permanent in Christ), but rather to express love and gratitude for that which has been forever attained (Grace and Mercy).
The Christian has already and forever attained all acceptance, love and pleasure in and to the Father—through Jesus—which never requires re-attaining, that our hearts and minds can rest in the assurance of eternal acceptance with God, never according to what or who we are, but according to what and Who They are. Remember, if we encounter disappointment with self concerning our place in Christ, we have based our acceptance according to the “arm of flesh” instead of “the arm of God,” in which case there never need be disappointment.
As there is growth in Him there is more capacity for fellowship with Him, and this is increased as the heart is occupied with Him (2 Cor 3:18). The order is first “won”; this deepens as the heart learns His love in humiliation—He “loved me and gave Himself for me.” Second, “satisfied,” because you are in fellowship with Him where He is. The heart that is captivated by an object could never be at rest until it was with the one who had won it; for satisfaction you must be where He is—there is no company otherwise. The first desire of the true heart is to rest in the presence of the Lord Jesus—to be in personal nearness to Him.
In the Canticles we find that whenever He is presented, all is bright, but though there is true affection, and often deep delight, there cannot be satisfaction of heart until there is assured association and union with Him. But when there is satisfaction, there comes new occupation. All before related chiefly to oneself; but when the heart is satisfied, the occupation will be studying Him, and seeking to be suitable to Him. The loss is that many try to be suitable to Him, in order to satisfy their own hearts; then there is legality about it, and it bears the mark of seeking to make oneself the object rather than another.
Now when the heart is satisfied, it sits before the Lord and studies His mind, and enters on work just as it will please Him. All the previous activities of the heart are increased by each new one; that is, I feel the most won by Christ when I am satisfied by Him, and as I study Him, I am more won and satisfied. As I am satisfied I am “furnished” (2 Tim 3:17), and it is the adorned one that is qualified to be the serving one.
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,” is the principle of the serving one, and as he is more won, more satisfied, more suitable, so is he more serving. The action of love is always to seek the company, the presence of the loved one, as Jonathan to David, and to express the love by making little of oneself. The answer to the sinner is, “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace”; this is the confirmation given to the sinner at his first personal acquaintance with the Savior.
The saint has that love deepened, and as he is led on to association and fellowship, he is satisfied. Love does not think of anyone but its Object until it is quite sure of its place with Him, and then when at rest about itself it studies the mind and heart of its Object.
I find that Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me when I was in a most unattractive condition. But He makes me suitable to Himself, and I am assured of the permanency of His love and of my association with Him. Therefore my heart is free to study Him. The more I am in His company, the more I acquire the tastes which answer to His heart and mind.
When I rest in the Lord Jesus, then I begin to find all my joy and strength in Him, and I occupy myself with Him. This is the first step, or foundation, to true devotedness. I do not become devoted in the true sense until I have found my rest in Him. I am an object to Him, then my heart is at liberty to make His its object, He having made me His.
- J B Stoney
HAND HEWN –MJS