Liberated From Every Other Control But His…When Man Listens

 

Liberated From Every Other Control But His…When Man Listens by Cecil Rose for The Oxford Group

I have tried in previous chapters to sketch the outline of that thoroughgoing Christian life surrendered, guided, shared and used by God–to which we are called. Nothing less will release the power of God into the life of our day. God needs men who are liberated from every other control but His.

We have hesitated at the cost. Revolutionary living means living out to-day the principles of the new world of to-morrow. We shall not wait for systems to be changed but shall let God take our life and hurl it at the fortifications of selfishness and wrong this has always been costly. It is not simply that it is painful and difficult to us. It may involve deeply those we love-and there so many of us have stopped short. The lost employment or diminishing business which means privation for them, the call to go ahead when they do not understand, and when God’s way to the healing of a world seems to begin with wounds at home-these are the prices which are so hard to pay. They may have to be paid. God’s way of life again and again turns out far better than our fears. It works in ways we never thought possible. But there are times when the conflict between a God-guided life and the present world means a cross, and someone broken and bleeding on it in obedience to a crucified Lord.

In the chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews which speaks with confidence of the city whose builder and maker is God, there is also written the record of those who `were stoned, sawn in two, and cut to pieces; they had to roam about in sheepskins and goatskins, forlorn, oppressed, ill-treated.’ No man, called to fight for his country, regards it as a ground for refusing, that his wife may be widowed, his children orphaned, his business ruined. Nor does he consider their pleas the deciding authority. We are contending for far more than our country’s victory.

In the end our own family life is lifted to a finer level and our children fired with a greater vision of God’s purpose when we recognize and obey a claim higher than the claim of their comfort and safety.

We are not living any longer in that comfortable world of illusion, cushioned by prosperity, which made such talk of cost seem remote and unreal. Revolution knocks at the door. The Cross in our lives is the only answer to the sickle and the hammer.

There is one other difference between our human attempts to reorganize society and God’s way of re-creating it.

We can only reorganize as far as we can see. We have to wait until our slow human understanding has mastered some of the complex problems with which we are dealing. The process is too slow, too cautious and too uncertain, in a world where the forces of destruction can move so swiftly. We cannot afford to postpone action until our human eyes can see the shape of things to come. Yet there is nothing else for us to do, if human wisdom is all we have on which to rely.

Fortunately it is not. The plan of the new world is clear in the mind of God; and the immediate steps of our own obedience can become clear to us, if we will listen to God. If we have to go out `not knowing whither’–unable to see how our obedience will work out- -that is only the venture of faith which is inherent in Christian living. We shall see the shape of things to come as they actually take shape around the lives of surrendered men and women.

Our hope is in God’s action. That hope is quickened by the fact that there is across the world to-day a growing army of men and women who are proving in their own lives that—

When man listens, God speaks;
When man obeys God works.

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