austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

August 3

3 AUG – Gaining Ascendancy over the Stone

“They were saying: Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the tomb? …for it was exceeding great.” Mark 16:3-6

It is the principle of the Cross again. He died for us – that is the objective. We died in Him – that is the subjective. Here are two sides in spiritual experience. He keeps the balance of things. We have to have this balance wrought in us, and to be delivered from this tendency of allowing our problems to obscure the Lord, this inveterate habit of ours of viewing the position merely objectively instead of saying, ‘What does the Lord want to teach us about this? What does He want to do in us in this matter? There is something He is after in us.’ He has something to do in us before He can do it for us.

How often we have found that when we have come to a new position with the Lord, when the thing has been done in us, then there has been outward movement. So the mention of the subjective exercise suggests that we have to take this matter to our own hearts as something which requires a change in us. I am quite sure that is how they must have felt when they were able to sit down and go over it all again. ‘We were terribly obsessed with our problem and were asking who could solve it for us. The Lord has made us to see that we must be inwardly different about these things, we must have a position of faith, of rest, over them; we must believe God.’ We must gain inward ascendency over the stone before there is any ascendency to be known over it outwardly. The stone is really not outside of us in the first place. It is inside; it is in our faith, it is in our spirit, it is in our minds.

When the Lord’s interests have brought us into such a relationship with Him that we can say there is no stone so big to be removed, no problem so great for solving, no difficulty so intense, but the Lord will do what is necessary for His Son’s sake when we have come to a position like that, the Lord is free to do a lot of things very quietly. As we say, they just ‘happen’. Sometimes He may bring us into the presence of the working of His power that is manifestly terrific, but not often and certainly not always. For faith, it is more like this: there is such power at work as to make possible the setting aside of the obstacle very quietly, so that we afterward wonder “And they were amazed”. And the angel said, “Be not amazed”. It is good to have amazement, but let us recognize that a certain amount of our amazement is because we have not sufficient faith.

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