We are all conscious how very testing are the limitations that growingly bear down upon us as those who would serve the Lord. They raise many questions and problems in our minds, so far as concerns the fulfilment of what we have thought to be our ministry. The situation is a very trying one. We have to look deeper, still more inward, as to God’s thought.
This is a fact borne out in the case of every servant of God in history who has really come under the hand of God — that the real values of their lives for all time have been those which correspond to the wine of the grape, the thing trodden out in the winepress, the agony of the heart; and you know that it is true in your case that if ever you have had anything at all which you knew to be worthwhile and which has really helped someone else, it has been born out of some travail in your own experience. You have gone into the winepress, through an agony, to produce it and that is the nature of real service to God.
How do we know? — not have information, but know? We only know anything in that deepest sense by going into a situation where we are stripped of everything in order to prove that one thing, and to find in knowing it our deliverance, our salvation. That is the way in which we learn, and there is no gap whatever between that kind of knowledge and our very being. That knowledge is not objective to ourselves, it is ourselves, and when we give that we give ourselves. We cannot stand back from that and say, ‘I believed that once, but I do not believe it any longer; I had those ideas, but I do not hold them now.’ Oh, God could never be satisfied with anything like that.
There may be sifting and adjustment as to our ideas, but the Lord is after ‘true knowledge.’ We stand or fall by our knowledge, because true knowledge is life, is being, and it is what God Himself is in us.