Archive for the ‘Mantle Beyond Humiliation’ Category

Beyond Humiliation 21: “The Cross Day by Day”

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” Luke 9:23

These words, usually associated with Jesus’ searching question to the rich young ruler, continue to call through the intervening centuries to a life of constant dying to self and following after Jesus.

To the one first quieried, the happy “only one thing thou lackest” anticipated response, became the sorrow-provoking, “sell all that thou hast, give to the poor, and follow me” disappointing and eventually rejected mandate. And so, though rich in the goods of this world and supposedly rich in spiritual things, the young ruler turned sorrowing away, much to the amazement of the disciples who thought riches were a reliable indicator of one’s relationship with God.

They asked, “Who then, can be saved,” and heard Jesus beckon them to a life of ongoing crucifying and dying to self in order to follow Him. They didn’t want that kind of life any more than the rich young ruler and quietly resisted, but it was apparently the only way, for they later came to embrace such a life, and with the exception of one, paid the ultimate sacrifice in pursuing it.

To be fair, the young ruler probably didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about, having so long bought into the prevailing opinions of his day. I hope he eventually recognized the error of his ways, returned to Jesus, and took up the cross-bearing life–though there is no mention of him later in the New Testament.

In our day, knowledge of, and appreciation for, the need to die to self and take up the cross is little known, most people having bought into the prevailing opinion of our day. But it doesn’t change the need to die, and I believe this lack, more than anything else, explains why there is so little power in God’s church today.

So what is the “take up your cross” life and how does one embrace it? Is it something you do or is it something God does in you?

In this final chapter from Gregory Mantle’s wonderful book Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, we learn some final secrets.

Here are a few successive paragraphs to give you a taste of the chapter.

The life to which He calls us, and the path along which He leads, is characterized by cross-bearing from beginning to end. In outward appearance the cross varies, but it is always something which crosses self, and frees us from our own self-will. It is therefore the way to rest, for the only place in the wide world in which the soul can find true rest is in taking up the yoke or cross of Christ. In doing our own will there is never rest, but in yielding to the will of another there is. “The soul abiding under this cross comes into the true, pure, and perfect liberty, where it hath scope unto holiness, freedom unto righteousness, and is in strait bonds and holy chains from all liberty to the flesh, and from all unholiness and unrighteousness of every kind.” [Isaac Pennington]

Someone has described this cross-bearing life as a spread-out surrender, a surrender which covers our whole sphere of action, and lasts all our days. It is often in little things that Christ asks us to deny ourselves, and it would be far easier for some to take up a great cross and die once upon it than to take up these little crosses day by day and die a deeper death upon them. So the word “daily” becomes to some, what Christ’s Cross was to the Jews, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

Yet, as we have already suggested, it is only in this cross-bearing life, in ever yielding our will to our Lord, that we find rest and peace. The way of the Cross is the Royal way, and they who tread it are kings and priests unto God. It is always to those who tread it the way of glory as it was to Christ, “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame.” It was because of this that Paul gloried in tribulation, “knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us” (Rom. v.3-5). “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”

I am pleased that I have finally been able to add all of Mantle’s chapters to path2prayer.com. It is a long-held dream and I pray you will be blessed in reading his book as I have been blessed.

Here is where you find all of “The Cross Day by Day.”

Of course there is more on this subject at path2prayer.com.

“Graveyard Religion” from His Robe Or Mine is very helpful by Frank Philips.

I have also been blessed by this chapter on the “Believer The Temple of the Holy Ghost” from Gerhard Tersteegen is also helpful.

You will also be blessed by Gordon’s chapter “The Price of Power” in his Quiet Talks on Power.

Happy reading!

Beyond Humiliation 20: “Step by Step”

Monday, October 29th, 2007

“If you live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galations 5:25

What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”? This question is taken up by Gregory Mantle in the next to the last chapter of his book Beyond Humiliation; The Way of the Cross: “Step by Step.”

Notice the following paragraphs taken from different sections of his chapter:

“Step by step” is the secret of a life which is never perturbed, never surprised by sudden assaults of the evil one, never shorn of its spiritual strength. With returning consciousness there is, in such a life, a resolute determination to take no step in the untrodden pathway of the day but by the Spirit. His guidance is sought and His will consulted in the choice of food. Anything that has been known to dull the spiritual vision, and unfit the body for the sacred uses for which it is designed, will be avoided. “What effect will this book have upon my spiritual life? Will it increase or diminish my relish for the Word of God?” are questions we shall ask when opportunities for reading are afforded us. “I never spend a penny,” said a poor widow one day to the writer, “without asking that I may be guided how to spend it.” She was seeking to take step by step by the Spirit. We need not particularize further. Here is the principle by which our life is to be governed, and to follow it will fill our life with such joy and power as we never dreamt of before.

Later Mantle states:

Our life is made up of these little steps. We fancy we could be heroic on some great occasion. We could die for Christ we think, if called upon to lay down our life for Him. It is questionable, however, if we could, unless we have cultivated the martyr spirit hour by hour, for if our strength and desire to please God has failed in the trifles of our life, how can we be sure of them in the great testing time? It is far harder to live for Christ moment by moment than it is to die once for Him; and if we wait for great occasions in which to display our fidelity, we shall find that our life has slipped away, and with it the opportunities which each hour has brought of proving our love to our Lord, by being faithful in that which is least.

I like the idea that we can live in such contact with the God through the Spirit, that every detail of our lives will be regulated by Him. Granted, one must desire a “step by step” or “moment by moment” life if one is to experience such a life.

I want that kind of life. I hope you do too!

Have you experienced that kind of life? Perhaps you could share your testimony with me and many could learn from your experience.

Here is where you will find Gregory Mantle’s chapter, “Step by Step.”

Learn more about what it means to be a Christian on a practical basis at path2prayer.com’s Practical Christianity link.

Beyond Humiliation 19: “The Tests of Obedience”

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

In the lastest chapter posted from Beyond Humiliation; The Way of the Cross, Gregory Mantle discusses the fact that all of us are given testing experiences. Note the following paragraphs from his chapter:

God always has a number of His children under examination. Some of them pass with honors, but a few are turned back to learn their lessons over again. Many fail in this critical time in their spiritual history because they do not understand the Divine purpose. They cry out with Job: “He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, He hath set darkness in my paths.” They do not perceive that the position they have taken over and over again is being put to the test.

Madame Guyon puts it thus: “God will give us opportunities to try our consecration, whether it be a true one or not. No man can be wholly the Lord’s unless he is wholly consecrated to the Lord; and no man can know whether he is thus wholly consecrated except by tribulation. That is the test. To rejoice in God’s will, when that will imparts nothing but happiness, is easy even for the natural man. But none but the renovated man, none but the religious man, can rejoice in the Divine will when it crosses his path, disappoints his expectations, and overwhelms him with sorrow. Trial therefore, instead of being shunned, should be welcomed as the test — and the only true test — of a true state. Beloved souls, there are consolations which pass away, but true and abiding consolation ye will not find except in entire abandonment, and in that love which loves the Cross. He who does not welcome the Cross does not welcome God.”

Needless to say this is a very important and practical matter to consider. I hope you will take the time to read and spiritually grow as a result of reading “The Tests of Obedience.”

Learn more about the more abundant life at path2prayer.com.

Behond Humiliation 18: “School of Obedience”

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

“Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

These words speak to the fact that Jesus, who was already perfect, was somehow taken to a higher level of experience–in this case obedience–through the things that He suffered.

Many have debated what this means exactly, but nonetheless, the experience of suffering was known to Jesus, and Scripture suggests that it is needful for us.

My question for you is this: Are you aware that suffering is a necessary part of character development? Have you personally experienced this suffering? Are you able to cheerfully accept suffering as something God allows in your life?

Perhaps I am raising questions that you have pondered? You are not alone.

The following three chapters come from the latest chapter made available from Gregory Mantle’s Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, and deal with my questions regarding the necessary experience of suffering in the Christian’s life.

Mantle strongly suggests suffering IS necessary in the following three paragraphs, which are not concurrent paragraphs, in his chapter “The School of Obedience”:

There is great danger lest the preciousness and indispensableness of the experience of suffering should be not sufficiently emphasized. It is pleasant and easy to learn obedience under some teachers, but before we have graduated in this school we must pass into the hands of others whose lessons are not pleasant or easy; we must go out of the sunshine into the darkened room; gladness and joy must give place to anguish and soul-travail, and through an experience of suffering from which, perchance, we start, and shrink, we learn obedience.

The Divine nature of Jesus could not be perfected that was perfect already; but human nature is born weak and undeveloped, and it has to grow. One of its essential laws is its capability of improvement, and thus it was that Jesus, by passing through a long curriculum of trial and suffering, learned obedience. He could only learn obedience by becoming incarnate, by stooping to share our discipline, and bearing the Divine will as a yoke, instead of wielding it as a scepter. His obedience was perfected by suffering, and with His obedience His human character. The means produced the end with Him that it might produce the self-same end with us, and from the moment of His perfection Jesus consecrated suffering as a minister of the Divine purpose, so that His followers need no longer shrink from and tremble at it, but rather glory in and welcome it as a conquered foe that has become their friend.

To shrink, therefore, from suffering is to shrink from what is a requisite part of our education both for earth and for heaven. We shall be spiritual babes all our lives, spelling out nothing but the alphabet of Divine truth, if we refuse to drink of the cup of which Jesus drank, and to be baptized with the baptism that He was baptized with, for “it became Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” He could not have become our Leader and Captain had He not trod the rough road He calls upon us to tread. Exemption from suffering would have meant exemption from Leadership. He could not have lifted us into a share of His glory had He not stooped to the companionship of our griefs; nor can we rightly call ourselves His soldiers unless we are following in His steps; or expect to be lifted into the companionship of his glory unless we are among those who know the “fellowship of His sufferings.”

The experience of suffering is well known. Recognizing that suffering is necessary in the Christian life is less known, and results in much confusion. This is somewhat surprising since there are so many examples of individuals who suffered in the Bible, including Jacob, Job, Jesus and Paul, to list only a few.

Looking beyond the Bible, we find Mantle is not alone in pointing out that enduring suffering is foundational to spiritual growth. Note for example L. E Maxwell in his book, Crowded to Christ:

Most Christians are not brought into the overcoming life without passing through afflictions, both external and internal. This happens through two chief causes, viz., ignorance and self-will. More generally it is through the latter. We are slow to learn what is to be done, but still more reluctant to submit to its being done. While most Christians would like to have full enjoyment of Christ, they want other enjoyments as well; and therefore attach their affections first to one object and then to another. All the time they long to have the benefits of reckoning themselves dead indeed unto sin though Jesus Christ, they are secretly bowing to some idol seen or unseen. From this they refuse to be detached-”and there they remain for a time, fixed, obstinate, inflexible.” How blessed that our God is patient and loving and determined! If He sees that He can utterly detach us from every earthly tie and fuse us into a living union with Himself through the Crucified, His love will not shrink from reducing us to the very dust of despair and death. He will apply the sword to every tie that binds us to the world. He will spoil all our pharisaical foliage. He will lay the axe of the Cross to the very root of the tree of self. We may find the whole of our inward fabric of our lives overwhelmed and burned and blasted to the very extremity of endurance. Shrink not, fearful soul. This is God’s undoing of the old life. Remember that we can enjoy the new only as we learn to put off the old. In the midst of all this dreadful baptism God is teaching you to unlearn self and learn Christ. Who teacheth like Him?

One of my favorite authors put it this way:

A refining, purifying process is going on among the people of God, and the Lord of hosts has set his hand to this work. This process is most trying to the soul, but it is necessary in order that defilement may be removed. Trials are essential in order that we may be brought close to our heavenly Father, in submission to his will, that we may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. God’s work of refining and purifying the soul must go on until his servants are so humbled, so dead to self, that when called into active service, they may have an eye single to the glory of God. Then they will not move rashly from impulse, and imperil the Lord’s cause because they are slaves to temptation and passion, because they follow their carnal desires; but they will move from principle and in view of the glory of God. The Lord brings his children over the same ground again and again, increasing the pressure until perfect humility fills the mind, and the character is transformed; then they are victorious over self, and in harmony with Christ and the Spirit of heaven.

The purification of God’s people cannot be accomplished without suffering. God permits the fire of affliction to consume the dross, to separate the worthless from the valuable, in order that the pure metal may shine forth. He passes us from one fire to another, testing our true worth. True grace is willing to be tried. If we are loath to be searched by the Lord, our condition is one of peril. God is the refiner and purifier of souls. He places us in the heat of the furnace, that the dross may be forever separated from the true gold of Christian character. Jesus watches the test. He knows just what fire of temptation and trial is needed to purify the precious metal, in order that the radiance of divine love may be reflected. E. White, Review & Herald April 10, 1894

Some of you reading may know what I am talking about when I speak of the necessity of suffering; others perhaps have been wondering. Perhaps reading these paragraphs has proven a little helpful in coming to conclusions in this matter. To gain the full benefit, read the rest of Gregory Mantle’s chapter from Beyond Humiliation: “The School of Obedience.”

You can find more resources on the meaning of trials at path2prayer.com.

 

Beyond Humiliation 16: Not I, But Christ

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Most of us are acquainted with the hymn “Not I, But Christ.” Written by A. B. Simpson, his words speak to the desire to have Jesus supreme and the “all in all” in our lives.

Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted, Not I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard, Not I, but Christ, in every look and action, Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.

Not I, but Christ, to gently soothe in sorrow, Not I, but Christ, to wipe the falling tear, Not I, but Christ, to lift the weary burden, Not I, but Christ, to hush away all fear.

Not I, but Christ, no idle word e’er falling, Christ, only Christ, no needless bustling sound, Christ, only Christ, no self-important bearing, Christ, only Christ, no trace of “I” be found.

Not I, but Christ, my every need supplying, Not I, but Christ, my strength and health to be; Christ, only Christ, for body, soul, and spirit, Christ, only Christ, live then Thy life in me.

Christ, only Christ, ere long will fill my vision; Glory excelling soon, full soon I’ll see Christ, only Christ, my every wish fulfilling — Christ, only Christ, my all in all to be.

Of course the challenge is how to bring about His supremacy and the desired “all in all” experience? Is is something we do by trying really hard? Is it something that comes as we “die to self”? Is it by being a part of an accountability group? All of these methods and more have been tried, but with limited, transitory, success.

As I write, I am reminded that the ever struggling Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, experienced new victory as a result of his friend McCarthy sharing a few lines from the book Christ is All by Henry Law.

Since his day many Christians have been seeking answers.

In this “Not I, But Christ” chapter, Mantle shows that the secret is not only putting something off, but also putting something on.

Here are three paragraphs to hopefully whet your appetite to read the entire chapter.

The secret of possessing an unfailing love is to claim the fulfillment, moment by moment, of Christ’s own desire, “That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John xvii. 26). The indwelling of Jesus, and the indwelling of Divine Love, are conceived of here as one and the same thing, and they truly are inseparable The conditions on which this love may become ours are clearly revealed. They are separation from the world: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (v.16); obedience to the Word: “The words which Thou gavest Me I have given unto them, and they received them” (v.8); and unity with the children of God: “That they may be one” (v.22). …

We cannot be too frequently reminded that it is only by “putting on” Christ that we “put off” self. Our moral nature abhors the vacuum that would be created by an old affection taking its departure from the innermost chambers of our being, without any new affection to succeed it. The old monarch — the imperious I — will retain his position until the new monarch — Incarnate Love — is invited to supplant the tyrant, restore tranquillity, and enthrone Himself in our nature. The ruling monarch will not abdicate at a mandate from the chair of reason; nothing can displace him but the all-victorious rivalship of Jesus, whose love is the divinely appointed prescription for the exorcism of self. “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him Who died for them and rose again.” “I saw,” said George Fox, “a sea of light, and a sea of ink; and the sea of light flowed into the sea of ink, and swept it away for ever.” …

We cannot close this chapter more appropriately than by quoting the words of that robust thinker and manly Christian, the lamented Dr. R. W. Dale. “We must ‘put away’ our old self. It is not in a single limb or a single organ that we are affected; the very springs of life are foul; corruption has already set in. The whole structure of our former moral character and habits must be demolished and the ruins cleared away, that the building may be recommenced from its very foundation. We are to ‘put on’ Christ. We are to make our own every separate element of His righteousness and holiness. We are to make His humility ours, and His courage, His gentleness, and His invincible integrity; His abhorrence of sin, and His mercy for the penitent; His delight in the righteousness of others, and His patience for their infirmities; the quiet submission with which He endured His own sufferings, and His compassion for the sufferings of others; His indifference to ease and wealth and honor, and His passion for the salvation of men from all their sins and all their sorrows. We are to make His perfect faith in the Father ours, and His perfect loyalty to the Father’s authority; His delight in doing the Father’s will; His zeal for the Father’s glory. The perfection at which we have to aim is not a mere dream of the imagination, but the perfection which human nature has actually reached in Christ. Christ’s human perfection was really human, but it was the translation into a human character and history of the life of God. He is living still. The fountains of my life are in Him. It is the eternal purpose of the Father, that as the branch receives and reveals the life which is in the vine, I should receive and reveal the life which is in Christ. When, therefore, I attempt to ‘put on’ Christ, or to make my own the perfect humanity which God created in Him, I am not attempting to imitate a perfection which in spirit and form may be alien from my own moral temperament and character, and which may be altogether beyond my strength; I am but developing a life and energy which God has already given to me. If I am in Christ, the spiritual forces which were illustrated in the righteousness and holiness of Christ’s life are already active in my own life.

One of my favorite authors put this way in the book Steps to Christ:

“By faith you became Christ’s and by faith you are to grow up in Him,—by giving and taking. You are to give all,—your heart, your will, your service,—give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take all,—Christ, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper,—to give you power to obey.” E. White, Steps to Christ, p.70

Here are the words that were so life-changing for Hudson Taylor:

“The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun; the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing; the Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be holiness complete…. He is most holy who has most of Christ within, and joys most fully in the finished work. It is defective faith which clogs the feet and causes many a fall.”

Here is where you can find “Not I, But Christ” from Gregory Mantle’s Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross.

There are many articles on practical Christianity on this page of path2prayer.com.

Beyond Humiliation 15: “Married to Another

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I have posted another chapter from Gregory Mantle’s book, Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross. In this chapter he speaks to the liberation that comes, and the power that is realized when we find ourselves married to the Heavenly Bridgroom. Note the following:

The vocation of every believer is this: to be a revelator of the love of Christ. The believer is an epistle of Christ — an epistle of His love. So that what was impossible by a constraining principle from without, is delightfully possible by an impelling power from within. The second Husband therefore supplies a new motive as well as a new model, and to every call, His beloved may make answer: “The love of Christ constraineth me.” She serves now not in the oldness of the letter which is Sinai, but in the newness of the Spirit, which is Pentecost.

Be blessed in reading the rest of Married to Another.

Find more on the more abundant life at path2prayer.com.

Beyond Humiliation 14: The Risen Life

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

What does it mean to rise with Jesus to new life this side of heaven? Is there such a thing?

We would all agree as to the need, but does it really happen? This is the subject that Mantle tackles in the next “Risen Life” chapter of his book Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross.

Note the following:

This risen life is marked by perpetuity. There are animals which hibernate, and for all practical purposes are dead for a season: for a season they abandon their haunts and habits, but when the warmth of spring penetrates their burying-place, there is a revival of their old instincts. So there are those whose death is so unreal, that the. abandonment of sin is only temporary, and while they think themselves dead, the soul of sin lives on underneath the lethargic surface, and when the cause of its insensibility has passed away, returns with strengthened life to all its old habits and ways. Such was not the death and risen life of Jesus. This may mean, and to unwavering faith will mean the entrance into an experience where there need be no relapses into sin. The death that He died, He died unto sin once for all; but the life that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Even so, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ. (Rom. vi. 10, 11)

I think you will find much to think and pray about in reading the rest of The Risen Life.

Beyond Humiliation 13: The Dying Life

Friday, October 5th, 2007

How does God bring about our death to self?

I recall leading a midweek prayer service series on the More Abundant Life theme some time in the past, when I was able to convince the attendees that dying to self was absolutely necessary. They didn’t disagree in the least, and in fact expressed a great desire to have such an experience.

The problem was, they had no idea how to bring such an experience about! One attendee called out and said, “You’ve convinced us of our need to die to self, but now SHOW US HOW TO DIE TO SELF!”

I spent a lot of time thinking about that and finally came to the conclusion that only God can bring such a thing about, and that He does so by intentionally orchestrating the circumstances of our lives, such that we come to the point of trusting Him continually!

Mantle shares some interesting thoughts on this “how” question in the “Dying Life” 13th chapter of his book “Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the cross.” Notice:

Thus brought through poverty to dissatisfaction with himself, he humbly acknowledges that he has neither wisdom nor worthiness. He was wont to desire and thirst after the reputation of holiness, like a meadow after the dew of heaven. He fancied that men’s praise of him had proceeded altogether from real goodness and by God’s ordination, and had wandered so far from self-knowledge as not to see that he was in himself unsound from head to foot; he fancied that he was really as he stood in man’s opinion, and knew nothing to the contrary.

In order that he may learn to know himself, our Lord suffers him to fall into unspiritual temptations such as he never experienced in those past days in which he fancied himself very good and spiritually minded. Out of mercy God deprives him of all understanding, and over-clouds all the light in which he walked aforetime, and so hedges him in with the thorns of an anguished conscience, that he thinks nothing else but that he is cast from the light of God’s countenance; and he moans greatly, and often with many tears exclaims: “O my God, why hast Thou cast me off, and why go I thus mourning all the days of my pilgrimage!”

When he finds himself thus, from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, unlike God and at variance with Him, he is filled with such a sense of his own unworthiness that he can hardly abide himself; and then he thinks many miserable things about himself from passages of Holy Scripture, and sheds many tears in the sense of his sinfulness, till he is weighed down to the earth with the pressure of God’s hand, and exclaims: “My sins have taken hold upon me that I am not able to look up!” He asks the heavens why they have become as brass, and the earth wherefore she is as iron, and beseeches the very stones to have compassion on his woes.

I know what Mantle says is true from personal experience! I’ve come to realize that in the “overcoming” journey, often we are first led to “hate” our sin, and fully recognize our inability to overcome in and of ourselves, before we finally find victory through Jesus.

Learn more in reading the rest of the 13th chapter, “The Dying Life.”

Read more on the more abundant life at path2prayer.com

Beyond Humiliation: 12 Beauty For Ashes

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

I hope you are reading the chapters through as they are being uploaded, for if you do, you will find them life-changing.

In this chapter Mantle discusses the utter deceitfulness of self in attempting to garb itself in religious garb. Note the following:

To human eyes the life (the natural life) is rich in foliage, here are lovely mosses (he is describing a plant of wonderous foliage that lacked any fruit), there are wonderful lichens; but human eyes cannot detect the malaria of selfishness which God sees. It is no longer selfishness in its repulsive forms, but in its most deceitful and attractive dress. It may be described as consecrated selfishness, or selfishness for God.

Now it takes the form of impulsive and intense earnestness. Work is undertaken because it seems to be of God, but the will of God has not been sought, nor has His strength been put on, hence creaturely energy takes the place of Divine power. Now it takes the form of jealousy for God’s glory, and a position of antagonism is taken to some project, which position says in unmistakable language: “Come and see my zeal for God;” but bitter criticisms are indulged, and uncharitable thoughts are cherished, which reveal only too clearly the malaria of a strong and subtle selfhood.

Or it takes the form of a craving for spiritual enjoyment. The finger is ever on the pulse of the emotions, and the soul is constantly inquiring “how do I feel?” So long as this emotional pulse beats strongly all is well, but if it grows faint and feeble, the soul is immediately plunged into the Slough of Despondency. This is particularly manifest in work for God. The guidance of the Spirit is honestly sought, and the spirit is cast upon Him for aid. If, however, after the work has been done, there should be an utter divestiture of emotional experience, the temptation of going back upon the guidance of the Spirit is indulged, and hours of anguish follow, because the tempter’s lie is believed, that the wrong course was taken and the wrong message given. This anguish is greatly aggravated if some prized human opinion is adverse to what has been said or done; and the victim of these experiences not infrequently threatens, because self-love has been thus wounded, to abandon work for God altogether.

The purpose of God is to deliver His children from this life, which is still a mixed life, and full of vicissitudes and variations, and give in its place a life fixed and permanent, where the spirit, delivered from selfishness in every form, and in full union with the Divine will, rests solidly upon the great Center, and upon that alone. Do not let it be for a moment thought that we are minimizing or deprecating the experience that has been already attained. The soul has true life, but not full or perfect life; God is not yet that “all in all” which He longs to be, and He cannot and will not let us rest in any good which is outside Himself. Gregory Mantle, Beyond Humiliation; The Way of the Cross

Needless to say, Mantle has again touched the spiritual nerves of many Christians. We all know what he is talking about!

Now diagnosing is not so difficult, nor coming up with a prognosis for that matter–though the devil always whispers the worst possible outcome to discourage us, but coming up with a prescription for change is the GREAT challenge.

Mantle goes on to speak of how God deals with self. I think he knows what he is talking about and I hope you will take the time to read the rest of the chapter, Beauty for Ashes.

Learn more about how God deals with self at path2prayer.com.

Beyond Humiliation 11: The Gains of the Cross

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12: 25.

Mantle quickly asserts in this chapter:

We cannot have, at one and the same time, what the world calls life and what Christ calls life.

Many of us have been trying to have both forms of life at the same time and have found Mantle’s assertion unfortunately true! This has of course been frustrating because we have discovered that dying to self is REALLY dying to self–we would love to retain at least a little control, but the Bible doesn’t give any warrant for this aside from choosing to surrender and choosing to die to self. But we are not happy about this and often end up losing the blessings–the gains–of the experience, as noted by Mantle:

To cry out, “Save me from this hour!” to shrink and murmur, is only to disappoint God, to aggravate the evil, and to frustrate His purposes of grace. It is through the valley of the shadow of death, through the fiery way of trial, that we are brought into the wealthy place. It is God who directs the movements of the Sabeans and Chaldeans; it is He who permits the whirlwind to devastate and death to destroy, and our deliverance is not in fleeing from the marauding bands, but in saying, as Jesus did, Father, glorify Thy name! Whatever this means of severance and suffering, Father, glorify Thy name! and like our Master we shall hear a voice which assures us, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

He goes on to show that even the dying process can only succeed as God brings it about:

We shall do well to be on our guard against attempting to conquer self by any active resistance we can make to it by the powers of nature, for nature can no more overcome or suppress itself, than wrath can heal wrath. Our very efforts to overcome it, seem to give it new strength; self-love finds something to admire, even in the very attempts we make to conquer it. It will even take pride in what we mean to be acts of self-humiliation. There is no deliverance for us from this dread tyrant but in God. We are not skillful, or brave, or disinterested enough to wage this war alone. We must set ourselves against this foe which is His as well as ours, and while we strive in all things to work together with Him, we must trust Him to work for us and in us, till self shall die slain by God’s own breath. As living, intelligent beings, we must yield to the inspiration of the power that kills and makes alive, for God does not work irresistibly as upon dead matter, but intellectually and spiritually as upon honest mind. Self being reckoned dead, its gross affections may be put to death; so that instead of the works of the flesh will appear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. v.19-24). Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier the myrtle tree (Isa. lv. 13). Instead of the repulsive I life, shall appear the beautiful Christ-life. No longer I, but Christ.

Mantle’s words, though perhaps unwelcomed, contain the truths so foundational to victory and successful service. There are gains in the way of the cross–ONLY in the way of the cross–and the sooner we realize and accept the way of the cross, the happier we will be, and the sooner God will be able to begin working in greater ways in and through us–instead of in spite of us!

Here is link Mantle’s chapter the Gains of the Cross.

Learn more about this life at path2prayer.com