Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Christian,

If you haven't heard me say so before, I'll say now that Stepping Heavenward is my favorite book.  Each time I read it, I identify with Katy all the way through.  I am convicted, encouraged, & my passion for Christ grows deeper with each perusal.  I'm rereading it now & would like to share a part of this phenomenal book with you today.  This is a letter from Katy's minister, Dr. Cabot, addressing her lament that she is like the blind man in Mark 8:24.  I'm going to start not quite halfway through this beautiful letter & stop before the end of it; even though it's long, I pray it will be as profitable for y'all as it always is for me.  I encourage you to read it as though it's written to you; read it 2 or 3 times even.  Drink in the words & let your very soul be filled with wonder that we are so loved by God.

Having been pardoned by your God & Savior, the next thing you have to do is to show your gratitude for this infinite favor by consecrating yourself entirely to Him, body, soul, & spirit.  This is the least you can do.  He has bought you with a price, & you are no longer your own.  "But," you may reply, "this is contrary to my nature.  I love my own way.  I desire ease & pleasure; I desire to go to heaven, but I want to be carried thither on a bed of flowers.  Can I not give myself so far to God as to feel a sweet sense of peace with Him, & be sure of final salvation, & yet, to a certain extent, indulge & gratify myself?  If I give myself entirely away to Him, & lose all ownership in myself, He may deny me many things I greatly desire.  He may make my life hard & wearisome, depriving me of all that now makes it agreeable."  But, I reply, this is no matter of parley & discussion; it is not optional with God's children whether they will pay Him a part of the price they owe Him, & keep back the rest.  He asks, & He has a right to ask, for all you have & all you are.  And if you shrink from what is involved in such a surrender, you should fly to Him at once & never rest till He has conquered this secret disinclination to give to Him as freely & as fully as He has given to you.  It is true that such an act of consecration on your part may involve no little future discipline & correction.  As soon as you become the Lord's by your own deliberate & conscious act, He will begin that process of sanctification which is to make you holy as He is holy, perfect as He is perfect.  He becomes at once your Physician as well as your dearest & best Friend, but He will use no painful remedy that can be avoided.  Remember that it is His will that you should be sanctified, & that the work of making you holy is His, not yours.  At the same time you are not to sit with folded hands, waiting for this blessing.  You are to avoid laying hindrances in His way, & you are to exercise faith in Him as just as able & just as willing to give you sanctification as He was to give you redemption.  And now if you ask how you may know that you have truly consecrated yourself to Him, I reply, observe every indication of His will concerning you, no matter how trivial, & see whether you at once close in with that will.  Lay down this principle as a law - God does nothing arbitrary.  If He takes away your health, for instance, it is because He has some reason for doing so; & this is true of everything you value; & if you have real faith in Him you will not insist on knowing this reason.  If you find, in the course of daily events, that your self-consecration was not perfect - that is, that your will revolts at His will - do not be discouraged, but fly to your Savior & stay in His presence till you obtain the spirit in which He cried in His hour of anguish "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me:  nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42).  Every time you do this it will be easier to do it; every such consent to suffer will bring you nearer & nearer to Him; & in this nearness to Him you will find such peace, such blessed, sweet peace, as will make your life infinitely happy, no matter what may be its mere outside conditions.  Just think, my dear Katy, of the honor & the joy of having your will one with the Divine will, & so becoming changed into Christ's image from glory to glory!  (pg. 62-63)

2 comments: said...

Have you read Elizabeth Prentiss' biography, More Love to Thee? It is excellent.

The Boyds said...

It's waiting for me on the bookshelf by my side of the bed. I'm looking forward to reading it.