It is not just that the Lord wants people of a certain kind and type; not just that He wants us to be of a certain nature. He created man for a great destiny, and this thing pride came in and made it impossible for man to fulfil that destiny. So He has secured it in a Man utterly different from us, the Lamb slain, the Man who emptied Himself, the Man who became obedient unto death, yes, such a death as the Cross, the last word in shame, in despicability; and now He says to us, “Have this mind in you” (Phil. 2:5). I think the greatest conjunction in all the Bible is there. “Wherefore… God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9) – “Wherefore …” – all that leads up to that and all that issues from that. Two vast realms of meaning and value are linked by that conjunction “wherefore”. But – ‘this is the way the Master went’. Well, we cannot do what He did, or fulfil all that He fulfilled, but we are called to drink of the cup which was His cup.
Now this is not a word, perhaps, of great inspiration, but I feel it to be a word of very great importance. This must be true of us individually. There must also be a corporate humility. This is the way along which the Lord will commit Himself. He will never give us anything to feed our flesh, to enlarge and strengthen our natural life. He will hold us to the way that keeps us safe where that is concerned. How wonderfully the Bible becomes alive when you look at it in this way! It was Adam’s sin, Israel’s sin, the sin of us all. “By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations… that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch” (2 Cor. 12:7); that was making a man safe for great revelation, undercutting pride.
Yes, this is an important word; it explains a lot. But let us remember that the Lord always has positive ends in view, not negative. Though His ways may seem to be destructive, even annihilating ways, He has always in view and not in the far view only, but as quickly as possible, as soon as possible that position where He can Himself let go, so to speak, His own fears, His own reserves; and say, ‘I have found that to which I can give Myself without fear’. May it be like that with us.