The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Crucifixion of Natural Desires, Purposes, and Aims

If we would be what the Lord would have us to be, we must be willing, in the spirit of inward crucifixion, to renounce and reject all other natural desires, and all our own purposes and aims. We do not mean to imply in this remark, that we must be so far lost to feeling and action as to be absolutely without all desires, purposes, and aims whatever; but that there must be a crucifixion and excision of all desires and purposes, which spring from the life of nature, and not from the Spirit of God. In other words, it is our duty, as those who would glorify God in all things, to check every natural desire and to delay every contemplated plan of action, until we can learn the will of God, and put ourselves under a divine guidance. Every desire must so far lose its natural character as to become spiritually baptized and sanctified, before it can be acceptable to God; and every plan of action also must, in like manner, have a divine origin.

This principle in the doctrines of holy living... goes very far, and strikes deep. The desire of knowledge, for instance, is generally considered a very innocent one. But whenever it becomes so strong as to disquiet the inward nature, and thus to perplex our intercourse with God, it is obviously wrong. It ought always, therefore, to be subject to a divine teaching; and to be merged and lost, as it were, like all the other natural desires, in the supreme desire for God's glory; a desire, which evidently is not the product of nature, but which can come from the inspiration of the Holy Ghost alone.

It  is a very proper remark to be made also in this connection, that our most intimate friendships, which involve more or less of desire and generally strong desire, must be crucified. We are not at liberty to make an idol of our friends, however excellent their characters or however closely united by natural ties. Such inordinate friendships stand between the soul and God, and hinder it from reaching its true center; and we do not see, how they can be regarded in the divine sight as better than any other forms of idolatry. Even if those friends are eminent Christians, so much so as to bear the very image and likeness of the Savior himself, we cannot let our affections center upon them so as to make them the place of the soul's rest, without causing injury and offense to God.

To sum up all, which is to be said here, in a few words, we may probably assert correctly, that we are not to desire anything whatever out of the will of God. In other words, if we find a preference or choice in ourselves, in such a manner as to lead us to desire one thing rather than another irrespective of the will of God, we may justly conclude, that the state of mind, of which we are then the subjects, is a selfish and natural state, and not a truly religious and divine state.  It is, therefore, to be rejected, and the mind is to remain without desire, until the will of God can be revealed and take effect in us.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

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