“Looking unto Jesus.” — Hebrews 12:2
It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.”
Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee — it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee — it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument — it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.”
Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.”
“I asked myself, How may I best improve these three hours upon the coach top? It darted through my mind, with vivid light, as a beam from the Lord, that a man can do no better things than believe the love of God to himself and his species. I saw – as I never saw before – how all stimulus to holy work comes out of that. I therefore at once gave myself up to a believing meditation of the truth which, with unusual demonstration, the Spirit had borne home upon my heart. As I did so, the meaning of the cross marvellously shone out. My faith strengthened. I took hold of God’s love to me and to man as I had never done before. The journey seemed done too soon. I got down from that coach-top with an indelible lesson and a soul on fire.”
“You hae your doxy, and I hae my doxy. I think I could show you that I am theoretically richt, but I am sure you are no’ practically wrang. Fare ye weel, and Guid Almichty bless you”.
Some interesting thoughts on glory here. Is God’s main goal to get glory through creation and/or through us? Or is it to share his glory? Much of this links to the questions “who is God?” and “who are we in him?” Our understanding of this issue affects the way we understand our God and inevitably it affects the way we live as Christians — our perception of our relationship with God and our heart position toward him.
Did God create us to love and glorify himself because he had some inherent need or void to fill? Or did he create us in order to invite us into the love and glory he already had from eternity?
A few lines from Iain Murray’s biography of John Wesley. Here he writes about a man who followed in Wesley’s footsteps, the celebrated Methodist preacher William Bramwell.
To a James Drake he wrote: ‘… Dwell much on the love of Jesus.’
… His personal life was conformed to this same spirit. To keep oneself in the love of God was for him the mainspring of the Christian’s life. It was a privilege requiring constant watchfulness for ‘Satan will use a thousand means to damp our love’. ‘To be clear in pardon of all our sins, to be pure in heart, to live in love — this is heaven on earth. What is all the world compared with this! To live in profession is so far well; but to enjoy the kingdom, to live in God, to have union with him, to bear his image, to glorify our God, and finish the work, — this is our grand business on earth.’
… to understand the man aright we have to go to what he saw as the whole purpose of the Christian revelation: The gospel is to bring men into the presence of God. Its objective is not forgiveness, nor even holiness (in itself); it is union with God and all other blessings are related to that end. In Paul’s words, the end is “that you might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:19). This is the belief that leads to the wonder expressed by Charles Wesley,
And will this sovereign King
Of glory condescend?
And will He write His name
My Father and my Friend?
For Bramwell, the first need of the Christian is ‘to live in the closest fellowship with God’. ‘To retain a constant sense of the presence of God is our glory in this world.’ And he was sure that ‘to live in God’ is the only source of the believer’s usefulness. This is the repeated note in his letters. Christians are to ‘do all in God'” ‘We may do all things in him. You may see, talk, walk, and suffer in the Lord.’ Giving his own testimony, he writes: ‘I view him [Christ] in all my acts, take hold of him as the instrument by which I do all my work, and feel that nothing is done without him.’ This is how he understood the command ‘Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might’ (Eph. 6:10).