Dealing With The Inner Life…When Man Listens by Cecil Rose for The Oxford Group
When we have this real love for people, the office and the factory, the home and the school, and every place where the daily business of life is carried on, will become the scene of life-changing. A hotel proprietor in the South of England meets every day with several of his staff to plan, under the guidance of God, how his hotel may become a place where the guests find not only comfort and rest, but God. A Dutch lawyer, who handled divorce cases in the courts, now settles many of them in his office by showing his clients how God can reconstruct their lives. Many doctors now know how to cure their patients more thoroughly, because they have learned the secret of healing the mind as well as the body.
Life-changing is simply normal Christian living. It is doing Christ’s work. If our aim falls below that level we are failing Him.
It is very tempting for us, confronted by this high call, to find excuses for our failure, and to reassure ourselves sin the fact that at least we are serving others in good ways, if not the highest.
Before we allow ourselves to venture up these sidetracks of excuse we should do well to ask ourselves some honest questions.
Have I every seriously faced this responsibility?
Am I actually willing for God to take me right into the centre of other people’s lives, or do I shrink from the cost of being involved?
Do I care enough whether they find God or not?
Have I enough conviction that the one thing people need most is a personal relationship with God?
Am I held back by the knowledge of things in my own life which have not been uncompromisingly faced?
Do I fear the opinion of others or the loss of their friendship?
And let us beware of pleading our unfitness for so wonderful and sacred a task as dealing with the inner life of men. That is not humility. It is distrust of the One who has called us, and with whom all things are possible-even the miracle of my being used to bring another person to God. Until these issues have been faced it is too soon to conclude that life-changing is not our calling.
We cannot change another person. Apart from the fact that God is already at work in the other person’s life, making him aware of need, awakening responses, and in the end convincing him of the truth of what he has heard and the rightness of the new steps he sees, any effort of ours will be quite useless. Anyone who has tried it knows that human argument and persuasion do not change people’s hearts. But, in the ceaseless work God is carrying on in the lives of men, He does fit us in when we fulfill the conditions.
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