I was blogging my way through the book, Born Crucified, by LE Maxwell. The last post was back in August of last year, so I guess I’ve been slacking. A recent experience showed me afresh the need to be humbled before the cross of Christ.
I’m amazed at my own deceitfulness, pride, covetousness, and laziness that I don’t even realize is there. I’m living my Christian life, but it’s an un-crucified life. I deceive myself into thinking there will be spiritual fruit if I just apply certain methods to my Christian walk. Again, God forces me back to the cross. Here are some excerpts from Maxwell’s book; this chapter is titled, The Cross and Fruitfulness.
FROM THE DOHNAVUR FELLOWSHIP in India comes this story. Various nurses had tried to interest a certain woman, but she had never been concerned about the Way. They were simply talking, she thought, and turned an unconcerned and uncomprehending face upon them till she saw Kohila nursing a sick baby. She said nothing for awhile. Then one day she said to her, "Why do you do it? Why do you work for this baby night and day? What makes you do it?" "It is nothing in me," said Kohila; "it is the love of my Lord Jesus. It is He who gives me love for this baby:" "I have heard talk about Him," said the woman, "but I thought it was only talk; now I have seen Him, and I know it is not mere talk." She listened and accepted Christ in truth, though she knew what it would cost when she returned home. Two months after she had returned home–a strong woman--she was dead. That death for her meant the end of what she had known must come–sharp persecution for the sake of her new-found Lord; not peace, but a sword. Before her unconcerned and uncomprehending face, Jesus Christ had been "evidently set forth crucified" in Kohila. It is only as we embrace and live the Cross that the world sees the Crucified today. There is a sense in which Christ must be "lifted up" in flesh and blood before the eyes of the world. Only thus can He still "draw all men."
In reminding the Galatians of the gospel he preached to them Paul says: "I placarded Christ crucified before your eyes" (Lightfoot).
Notice the emphasis on what is portrayed to the world around us. Does the world see Christ crucified as we live our lives? I wrote (Paul wrote) Christ crucified, not Christ proud, Christ arrogant, or Christ sanctimonious.
Oh to get men in touch with Christ! We must present Him. We must somehow give Him; not merely preach Him, but present Him. We must be so identified with Him that in a certain sense it may be true: "I that speak unto thee am he." And where shall He be seen except in death? The Cross is the supreme attraction. C. M. Ciow has said: "The symbol of the Christian church is not a burning bush, nor a dove, nor an open book, nor a halo round a submissive head, nor a crown of splendid honour. It is a Cross." We have met many who lightly sing:
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me;
All His wonderful passion and purity.
But jolliness may not reveal Jesus to others. Paul said: "Death worketh in us, but life in you." It never occurred to Paul that a "happified" kind of experience was the supreme attraction. God does need a much happier people, but "in much affliction with joy of the Holy Ghost" is infinitely deeper than jolliness and gush. There is only one way in which you and I can draw souls to Christ. That is by the way of the Cross, the way of sacrifice, the way of death. A Spirit-filled evangelist, much used and much abused, said concerning the secret of his fruitful ministry: "We personified Someone, and that was the attraction. I have not the insufferable conceit to suppose that it was anything in me that drew them. I said to Jesus: ‘I will suffer anything if you will give me the keys.’ And if I am asked what was the secret of our power, I answer: first, love; second, love; third, love. And if you ask how to get it, I answer: first, by sacrifice; second, by sacrifice; third, by sacrifice." The principle of the Cross must become our law of life. We must thirst for it as for living water. Let Christ be Lawgiver as well as Lamb. And let sacrifice be the law of our daily lives.
Am I limiting God’s fruitfulness in my life because I am holding back something from the cross? Am I afraid to die and give everything, every little detail to Christ? Shouldn’t I have a little something for me? Anything that I hold back, God cannot and will not use. I like the portion above about a “happified” kind of experience. How many Christians do you know are submitting themselves to the happiness that they believe is Christ instead of submitting to the cross of Christ? Death to self – life in Christ should be our motto.
Mrs. Penn-Lewis, whose writings have brought blessing to many, tells of a crisis in her life which came after her deliverance from the dominion of sin. While enjoying her happy, joyous experience, she began to read a volume on the Cross. She says,
As I read the book, I clearly saw the way of the Cross, and all that it would mean. At first I flung the book away, and said, "No, I will not go that path. I shall lose all my GLORY experience." But the next day I picked it up again, and the Lord whispered so gently. "If you want deep life, and unbroken communion, with God, this is the way." I thought, "Shall I? No!" And again I put the book away. The third day I again picked it up. Once more the Lord spoke, "If you want fruit, this is the path. I will not take the conscious joy from you; you may keep it if you like; but it is either that for yourself, or this and fruit.–Which will you have?" And then, by His grace, I said, "I choose the path for fruitfulness," and every bit of conscious experience closed. I walked for a time in such complete darkness–the darkness of faith–that it seemed almost as if God did not exist. And again, by His grace, I said, "Yes, I have only got what I agreed to," and on I went. I did not know what the out-come of this would be, until I went to take some meetings, and then I saw the fruit. . . . From that hour I understood, and knew, intelligently, that it was dying, not doing, that produced spiritual fruit. . . . The secret of a fruitful life is–in brief–to pour out to others and want nothing for yourself: to leave yourself utterly in the hands of God and not care what happens to you.
Utterly in the hands of God? Not care what happens to me? What will happen to me then if I live that way? I reiterate as I have before, we need to be completely resigned to the cross of Christ. That’s the only way that the resurrection power of Christ can work in us.
Have fun and stay crucified ~ Galatians 2:20
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