Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?
- 2 Corinthians 12:14-15
“When someone thinks that to develop a holy life he must always be alone with God, he is no longer of any use to others. This is like putting himself on a pedestal and isolating himself from the rest of society. Paul was a holy person, but wherever he went Jesus Christ was always allowed to help Himself to his life. Many of us are interested only in our own goals, and Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we are totally surrendered to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve. Paul said that he knew how to be a ‘doormat’ without resenting it, because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus. We tend to be devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things which allow us more spiritual freedom than total surrender to Him would allow. Freedom was not Paul’s motive at all. In fact, he stated, ‘I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren…’ (Romans 9:3). Had Paul lost his ability to reason? Not at all! For someone who is in love, this is not an overstatement. And Paul was in love with Jesus Christ.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
I feel so at peace when I am in my secret spot. Nature calls and I leave my spot from time to time. I need to eat. I need to sleep. And, yes, I watch a few television shows. But what I really hate doing is leaving the house.
This Chambers quote is before the days of the internet and social media. These days you can have a ‘life’ outside without ever going outside. You can have a conversation with the other people at the dinner table by using your thumbs on the smart phone and never uttering a word. But is that really having a conversation? Is that really having a life?
But, as soon as I get three blocks from my house and someone runs a stop sign, nearly hitting me, or cuts me off in traffic, the Peace and Joy the Holy Spirit placed in me in my secret spot seems gone. The Holy Spirit is still whispering in my ears, but He should whisper louder at that moment. We enjoy modern advances that Chambers never thought would be possible, but in some ways it simply means that evil can land at our doorstep that much faster.
It also means that families can break apart. Around the time of Chambers’ ministry, families stayed in the same neighborhood with their parents, at least the same town or county. The famrers built houses on the farm near their parents. But I grew up in Mississippi, my wife went from Indonesia to the Netherlands to SW Texas to SE Texas. Our sons live in Tennessee and Nebraska. Our younger son, the one in Tennessee, said, while going to college, that he wanted a one state buffer between us and him. He wanted to be able to visit without much trouble, but he wanted to be far enough away that he could be the unrivaled head of his household. In other words, he was afraid we might meddle. A hundred years ago, people would not conceive of such concepts. Okay, some people did conceive of it or we would not have moved to every little corner of the earth by now.
I really enjoy writing and having comments come back from people all over the world while never leaving my secret spot, but I am too much of an introvert. I can become too settled by staying home. With settling comes complacency. I never want to get to that point. As a result, I need to get outside my comfort zone. I need to exercise some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that I do not naturally have as an introvert.
And the trick is to continue to listen to the Holy Spirit as He guides, even when I am “out there.” As soon as I leave my comfortable secret spot, I will be in enemy territory. If I am not listening to God, I may not be able to show God’s love to others effectively. Because I am in enemy territory, I must have my wits about me. And whatever fate may come my way, I must look to the book of Acts and see how the Apostle Paul reacted in such situations, glorifying God rather than giving ill treatment for ill treatment.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.