Unreserved Obedience To God…When Man Listens

Unreserved Obedience To God…When Man Listens by Cecil Rose for The Oxford Group

The new civilization which will replace our fast perishing social structure will be a miracle of God’s creative power working through men and women surrendered to His will. That is the basis of our hope–‘a city whose builder and maker is God.’

This means that my relation as an individual to the world-task becomes totally different. I am not one utterly insignificant builder amongst countless hosts, adding one brick to the gigantic structure of a new world-order which, at that rate, will take inconceivably long to complete. If such were the case, it would seem hardly worth while to bother with my brick in a world of such immediate urgency. Rather, my obedience to God can be like the closing of a switch which allows the current of His power to flow through a whole circuit of lives, blow up a mass of evil, weld together in new relationship two lives or a community, or set in motion far-reaching changes in men, in industry, in education, or any other area of human activity. My part as an ordinary man in the task of world reconstruction can thus be immediate and vital.

The effect of my unreserved obedience to the guidance of God cannot be calculated by any human arithmetic, either in its extent or its speed. A new factor has been introduced into the situation which completely alters it. God is in action.

What happens when men begin to seek and obey the guidance of God is not just an improvement in the present situation. God is not content to settle our strikes, resolve our family disputes, ease the tension of an international situation, restore equilibrium, and send us back to live more peaceably and comfortably a life on the old man-made lines. That is the extent of many people’s ambition. It is not the extent of God’s.

When men obey Him a revolution begins which will eventually change the whole structure of human society. When Philemon, obeying God, received back his runaway slave, Onesimus, as a brother, he did not merely re-establish his domestic equilibrium and resolve the difficulties caused for his wife by a reduced staff: he started a social revolution. He did the thing which struck at the very foundations of the society in which he lived, based as it was on domestic slavery. And before many years were gone the system was changed, and an area of human life was reorganized.

The Christian hope of a new world only differs from the other revolutionary programmes which are being urged upon us to-day in two respects: It goes further; and its method is entirely different. The changes in human society which a living Christianity will bring about will make Communism and Fascism look pale and anemic. An employer of labour a few years ago put his business wholly under God’s direction. Recently a Labour leader wrote of him: `He has done more, voluntarily, for his employees than any revolutionary Government would force him to do.’

The method of the Christian revolution is simple, unreserved obedience to God.

The head of an oil-refining firm, called to a conference on the testing of quality in oils, felt that in order to secure the most effective tests in the public interest he should reveal to his trade-rivals the carefully guarded secrets of manufacture by which he had built up his business. He did so: and at the same moment struck a blow at the foundations of the competitive system as we know it.

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