Look for the Lovely Will

“She kneeled beside him,

“Mary,” he said again, taking her little hand in his two long, bony ones, “I love you, my child, to that degree I can not say; and I want you, I do want you, to be a Christian.”

“So do I, father dear,” answered Mary simply, the tears rushing into her eyes at the thought that perhaps she was not one; “I want me to be a Christian.”

“Yes, my love,” he went on; “but it is not that I do not think you a Christian; it is that I want you to be a downright real Christian, not one that is but trying to feel as a Christian ought to feel. I have lost so much precious time in that way!”

“Tell me—tell me,” cried Mary, clasping her other hand over his. “What would you have me do?”

“I will tell you. I am just trying how,” he responded.

“A Christian is just one that does what the Lord Jesus tells him. Neither more nor less than that makes a Christian.”

“It is not even understanding the Lord Jesus that makes one a Christian. That makes one dear to the Father; but it is being a Christian, that is, doing what he tells us, that makes us understand him. Peter says the Holy Spirit is given to them that obey him: what else is that but just actually, really, doing what he says—just as if I was to tell you to go and fetch me my Bible, and you would get up and go? Did you ever do anything, my child, just because Jesus told you to do it?”

 

“…It is a miserable thing to hear those who desire to believe themselves Christians, talking and talking about this question and that, the discussion of which is all for strife and nowise for unity—not a thought among them of the one command of Christ, to love one another. I fear some are hardly content with not hating those who differ from them.”

“I am sure, father, I try—and I think I do love everybody that loves him,” said Mary.

“Well, that is much—not enough though, my child. We must be like Jesus, and you know that it was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us; therefore we must love all men, whether they are Christians or not.”

“Tell me, then, what you want me to do, father dear. I will do whatever you tell me.”

“I want you to be just like that to the Lord Christ, Mary. I want you to look out for his will, and find it, and do it. I want you not only to do it, though that is the main thing, when you think of it, but to look for it, that you may do it.

“I need not say to you that this is not a thing to be talked about much, for you don’t do that. You may think me very silent, my love; but I do not talk always when I am inclined, for the fear I might let my feeling out that way, instead of doing something he wants of me with it. And how repulsive and full of offense those generally are who talk most! Our strength ought to go into conduct, not into talk—least of all, into talk about what they call the doctrines of the gospel. The man who does what God tells him, sits at his Father’s feet, and looks up in his Father’s face; and men had better leave him alone, for he can not greatly mistake his Father, and certainly will not displease him.

Look for the lovely will, my child, that you may be its servant, its priest, its sister, its queen, its slave—as Paul calls himself.

How that man did glory in his Master!”

 

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All Does not Yet Gleam

This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.

― Martin Luther

With a Dark Thing to Reason of the Light?

The worst power of an evil mood is this –

it makes the bastard self seem in the right,

Self, self the end, the goal of human bliss.

But if the Christ-self in us be the might

Of Saving God, why should I spend my force

With a dark thing to reason of the light –

Not push it rough aside, and hold obedient course?

~George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul, 02/02

Doers Will Know

Every man must read the Word (Jesus) for himself. One may read it in one shape, another and another: all will be right if it be indeed the Word they read, and they read it by the lamp of obedience. He who is willing to do the will of the Father shall know the truth of the teaching of Jesus. The spirit is ‘given to them that obey him.’

–George MacDonald

Him Who Obeys

To him who obeys, and thus opens the door of his heart, God gives the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit of Himself, to be in him and lead him to the understanding of all truth; the true disciple shall thus always know what he ought to do, though not necessarily what another ought to do. The spirit enlightens by teaching righteousness. No teacher should strive to make men think as he thinks, but to lead them to the living Truth, the Master Himself, who will make them in themselves know what is true by the very seeing of it. To be the disciple of Christ is the end of being; to persuade men to be his disciples is the end of teaching.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Justice

Self to Christ

The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves,’ to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good.’ We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way—centered on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And this is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do.

— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity