Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

What Other Writers Say about Depravity and Humility April 18, 2013

Filed under: Humility — Janie Kellogg @ 7:03 pm
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For clearer explanation of this post please read “Two Sides of the Same Coin” published on Treasure in Earthen Vessels website on April 18, 2013.

 

In an effort to add some muscle to my conclusions on depravity and humility, I have chosen to share a few quotes by renowned Christians. These quotes, presented as food for thought, are written by recognized authors, speakers, preachers and teachers of God’s Word. Many of them are men and women who helped shape Christianity as we know it today. References for the longer quotes are given at the bottom of the post.

 

Please read these selected writings slowly, and if possible, print them so you can give adequate time to digesting and discerning them for yourself. I believe these vital topics have been ignored, if not completely omitted from much modern-day Christian teaching, and I fear that the Church of today is suffering greatly because of it.

 

Chris Tiegreen ~ We praise this high and holy God for His power and majesty. Do we also praise Him for His humility? We can; we serve a humble God. He did not ride into this world on a gilded chariot. He was born in a stable. He left His radiant appearance to be clothed in a human body subject to temptation and pain. We are not worthy to utter His name, but He tells us to call Him Father and Friend….Consider the humility of God. The high and holy One is never inaccessible to someone with a contrite spirit. He encourages your intimacy with Him. He’ll even wash your feet.1

 

D.L. Moody ~ God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.

 

Andrew Murray ~ The salvation that Christ brought is not only a salvation that flows out of humility; it also leads to humility. We must understand that this is not only the salvation which Christ brought; but that it is exactly the salvation which you and I need. What is the cause of all the wretchedness of man? Primarily pride; man seeking his own will and his own glory. Yes, pride is the root of every sin, and so the Lamb of God comes to us in our pride, and brings us salvation from it. We need above everything to be saved from our pride and our self-will; it is good to be saved from the sins of stealing, murdering, and every other evil; but a man needs above all to be saved from what is the root of all sin, his self-will and his pride.2

 

Benjamin Franklin ~ A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

 

J. Oswald Sanders ~ Humility, the antithesis of pride, has been defined….as the virtue by which man becomes conscious of his own unworthiness. We never conquer a sin of which we are unconscious or over which we do not grieve. We must hate what God hates. Self-knowledge is not easy to come by, as we are all so prepossessed in our own favor. We see the splinter in our brother’s eye with great clarity but, with strange inconsistency, fail to detect the plank in our own. We need to genuinely ask God to expose us to ourselves. When we see ourselves as we truly are, we will sink in self-abasement.3

 

Oswald Chambers ~ Self complacency and spiritual pride are always the beginning of degeneration. When I begin to be satisfied with where I am spiritually, I begin to degenerate.

 

Charles Spurgeon ~ Beware of no man more than yourself; we carry our worst enemies with us.

 

F. B. Meyer ~ I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.4

 

Ann Voskamp ~ Humility isn’t burden or humiliation or oppressive weight but humility is the only posture than can receive the wondrous grace gifts of God—God who humbled Himself and came to the feed trough.5

 

Sarah Young ~ In her book Jesus Calling, Christ speaks in first person: “Though you are an earthen vessel, I designed you to be filled with heavenly contents. Your weakness is not a deterrent to being filled with My Spirit; on the contrary, it provides an opportunity for My Power to shine forth more brightly.”6

 

Donald G. Stamps ~ Christianity is not the removal of weakness, nor is it merely the manifestation of divine power. Rather, it is the manifestation of divine power through human weakness.7

 

V. Raymond Edman ~ Climbing in the Spirit is accomplished by kneeling and not by running; by surrender, and not by determination….First, there is a hunger of heart, often followed by a sense of desperation that leads to utter surrender of self. Thereafter, there is the meeting of the soul with God in whatever manner the Almighty is pleased to reveal Himself to the desperate seeker who, like Jacob, will not let Him go until there is blessing.8

 

J.I. Packer ~ For only at the point where the insufficiency of natural strength is faced, felt, and admitted, does divine empowerment begin….Divine strength is perfected in conscious human weakness….If I could remember each day of my life, that the way to grow stronger is to grow weaker, if I would accept that each day’s frustration, obstacles, and accidents are God’s ways of making me acknowledge my weakness, so that growing stronger might become a possibility for me, if I did not betray myself into relying on myself—my knowledge, my experience, my position, my skill with words, and so on—so much of the time, what a difference it would make to me!… May God in His great mercy weaken us all! 9

 

A.W. Tozer ~ The inner veil is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power. To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our nature to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them….Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us. It can never be removed only in spiritual experience; never by mere instruction…..There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment.10

 

Hannah Whitall Smith ~ The “old man” is, of course, the self-life, and this self-life (which we know only too well is indeed corrupt according to deceitful lusts) is not to be improved but to be put off. It is to be crucified….It is of no use, then, for us to examine self and to tinker with it in the hope of improving it, for the thing the Lord wants us to do with it is to get rid of it.11 

 

Cora Harris MacIlravy ~ Let us remember that the Lord does not pour the Spikenard of Humility upon the evil odors of our pride and arrogance. It is easy to ask God to adorn us with humility and enable us to be lost sight of in Christ. But the process, through which we must pass to receive the answer to this prayer, is the way of the cross and suffering. It is ever taking sides against ourselves; it is refusing to pity our own suffering; it is taking sides against all the workings and evil odors of our pride, self-confidence and self-seeking. For only when the alabaster box is cleansed of these self-workings, can it be filled with the Spikenard of Humility.12

 

Amy Carmichael ~ If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

 

We must never be dismayed over the wretchedness of man, for “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). Great victory awaits those who will humble themselves and ask God to allow them see the hidden mysteries of the gospel. ~ Janie Kellogg

*Note: In all quotes above, emphasis has been added to words shown in italics.

 

1Chris Tiegreen, The One-Year at His Feet Devotional (Netherlands: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003), 195.

2Andrew Murray, The Master’s Indwelling, 34.

3J. Oswald Sanders, quoted in Dr. Bruce H. Wilkerson, 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1999), 75.

4F. B. Meyer, quoted in Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2010), 171.

5Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2010), 171.

6Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 100.

7Donald G. Stamps, Life in the Spirit Study Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), Notes for 2 Corinthians 4:7, 1816.

8V. Raymond Edman, They Found the Secret (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1960, 1984), 53.

9J. I. Packer quoted in Dr. Bruce H. Wilkerson, 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1999), 90.

10A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Wingspread Publishers, 1982, 1993), 42-43.

11Hannah Whitall Smith, quoted in Dr. Bruce H. Wilkerson, 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1999), 63.

12Cora Harris MacIlravy, Christ and His Bride (Chicago, Illinois: The Elbethel Christian Work, 1916), 86.

 

God Wants Me to Fail April 2, 2013

That’s absurd! What do you mean: God wants me to fail? That sounds like false doctrine, especially in this age of prosperity for all believers. Of course God doesn’t want me to fail.

 

Oh yes, He does, and the sooner the better. Here’s why.

 

The sooner—we make the journey through the wretched condition of man described in Romans Chapter 7, enslaved to the flesh, and move on to the victorious proclamation found in Romans Chapter 8—the better.

 

Unfortunately, getting through Chapter 7 is a process that can take years. Some Christians are stuck in the quagmire of Chapter 7 for half a life-time—yours truly for one—until God granted seeing eyes to the marvelous escape hatch.

 

When Paul found that escape hatch, he boldly proclaimed: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”1 Can we say that? Have we escaped yet? A personal answer is required from each of us, for God delivers His children one life at a time.

 

But how can we rise up out of that place of wretchedness? It happens only when we discover that all of our self-efforts are futile and wasted, and begin to embark—get on board with—the central message of the gospel: Jesus came to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

 

Face the TRUTH: We cannot save ourselves. We cannot sanctify ourselves. WE CANNOT!

 

Our “self” can never please God.

Our “self” can never keep the law.

Our “self” can never be whipped into obedience and trained to be good.

Our “self” is a hopeless cause.

 

When we grasp this fact—the undeniable total depravity of man—we are on our way to freedom. (Read that again.)

 

Whether we realize it or not, we have a false belief that there is at least some good in man—well, in me anyway. But Paul said, “In my flesh dwells no good thing.”2 With all of Paul’s credentials, surely he had something good in him, but not so. And neither do you and me.

 

Do I know that in my flesh dwells no good thing? (Read that question slower.) If we don’t, we have not yet come to the end of ourselves. Until we reach the end of self we will not be able to move on into the deliverance that awaits those who will admit the truth: “In MY flesh dwells NO GOOD thing.” In other words, I ADMIT THAT I AM DEPRAVED!

 

Accept self’s defeat, get over it, and move on into the glorious provision that awaits us in Romans Chapter 8. However, we will never see it until we accept depravity. God will not allow us to. He didn’t give insight to the proud, self-sufficient Pharisees. Neither will He give it to us.

 

Jesus pointed out two types of people who came to pray. One was a proud, self-righteous, keeper of the law, a Pharisee who was glad he wasn’t like other people. The other man fell to his knees, smote his breast, could not as much as lift his eyes, and prayed for mercy.3  There it is—depravity!

 

Which one went away justified? Which one went away with God’s favor? More importantly, which one are you and I? Do we still keep a mental list of all the good deeds we’ve done for God; for others? Or how much money we’ve given to His cause? Do we still hang onto a shred of goodness in us? Do we see ourselves just a little better off than others?

 

We will soon see that it is all about our position. Are we positioned where God can do something for us? And where might that place be? Depravity! See it?

 

Want out of the quagmire? Admit you are a failure—quickly! It is in your best interest. Romans Chapter 8 is the next stop along this journey. Get ready for it. “Learn Christ, on your knees, my child, on your knees.”4  ~ Janie Kellogg

 

 

1Romans 7:25; 2Romans 7:18; 3Luke 18:9-14; 4A Gentle Spirit, Barbour Publishing, July 1

Other related posts at Treasures in Earthen Vessels: There’s a Whole Lot of Living Going On ~ January 29, 2013; A Hard Pill to Swallow ~ March 28, 2012

Note: To access other related posts, type Title of post into the Search field and press enter.

 

My Faulty Default February 19, 2013

Of course I know what “default” means:  someone failed to repay a loan. Right? Apparently not, in this age of modern technology, and I was behind the curve.

 

At thirty-five my first computer class was intimidating, because I knew little to nothing about the new technology taking over my world. Even my years of experience in business didn’t help. Not here; not now.

 

So what’s with this word “default?” I seriously thought I knew what it meant. Eventually, I figured out it was the original settings on this ingenious beast setting in front of me.

 

Computers are programmed to respond to a command the same way every time. For example, F1 is always Help; F3 is always Print. These default settings are built in at the factory, and they remain that way until someone, who understands the internal workings of computers, changes them do otherwise.

 

What does this have to do with me? A lot—since I too am programmed.

 

My default was originally set to live in perfect fellowship with God on this amazing Planet Earth. From the get-go I would be able to walk with Him, talk with Him, and understand His ways. Imagine that—God and me on the same page!

 

Then it happened, right there in the Garden of Eden, my original setting was changed in a moment when Eve chose to experience evil. She had already experienced good since everything around her was good—God had called it so.

 

When Satan tempted her to eat of the tree of good and evil, she made a really bad choice.1

 

Go ahead and blame Eve. That’s the easy thing to do. Yet thousands of years later in my own garden of life, I did the same.

 

Because of Eve’s choice, my default (along with that of the entire human race) was reset to obey my sin nature. In other words, my fallen-from-God’s-intended-nature is now in control of ME.2 One could say that I have a faulty default.

 

So there it is—better known as self—reigning on the throne of my life and making my decisions. I am a slave to it3 and will continue to be until someone, who knows how to reprogram ME, resets my default.

 

In the meantime, self is looking out for ME. You know—it’s all about ME. I’m on guard for anyone who might hurt ME, take advantage of ME, do ME wrong, or give ME the short end of the stick. I also have a keen eye for anything that would rob ME of the credit, compensation, or glory due ME. I know it sounds selfish, but I prefer to call it self-preservation.

 

Jesus talked about this very thing. He said saving my life isn’t the best route to take—that is, if I want to follow Him.4 No doubt, that decision will require a change in my current default setting.

 

I’ve tried to change it, all by myself—unsuccessfully. Haven’t we all tried—unsuccessfully?

 

I needed the skill of the Master Programmer, someone who understands the inner workings of human hearts. I needed Jesus, the Creator and Author of life. He was the only one who could successfully change my default.

 

And He did! Jesus changed it the day I believed in Him as my Lord and Savior. Completely. Officially. Legally.5

 

 In a moment, I became a new creation and the old sin-default-setting is now gone.6 I am returned to perfect fellowship with God just as He intended for me to be in the beginning.

 

But then, that is what Jesus does—He sets captives free. I am no longer a slave to my faulty default. No one else has to be either. ~ Janie Kellogg

1Genesis 3:4-7; 2Romans 7:17-20; 3Romans 7:14; 4Luke 9:23-24; 5Colossians 2:13-15; 62 Corinthians 5:17