It is continually encouraging to know (esp. the more we see the “old man” at work in us) that God knows our most important desire is to “please” Him, because there are often times when this can be difficult to express, but yet ever remains true to those reborn (Phl 2:13). It’s when we are occasionally distracted via the “old man” (sin nature) that we are disappointed, until God returns our thoughts to the fact that we, again, somewhere along the line have trusted in the “arm of flesh” (2Chron 32:8) instead of the arm of God (Job 40:9)—for God never disappoints; and it’s not that we go in and out of fellowship with Him, but that the fellowship is harder to see in the distractions. This is all to cause us to repeatedly exercise faith in knowing we walk in unbroken “forgiveness” (1Jo 1:9), and the fellowship continues to grow.

Heart to Heart

If the Lord Jesus valued and enjoyed companions while He was here, and surely not one of those whom He had could have apprehended Him much (in comparison to what Paul revealed concerning more of the mind of God—NC), how much more is any fellowship in the Spirit to each of us—our being positioned in Him before the Father? It is only in company that we learn one another’s real history. How many of our acquaintances know nothing of the exercises of heart through which we pass?

The outside and visible trials are apparent to any thoughtful heart, but the inward—the invisible—how little they are even conjectured oftentimes! He, blessed be His name, knows all, and to the deepest exercise of heart He ministers first, and chiefly. What you cannot tell anyone you can tell Him, if you have confidingness in Him. Confidingness is that I believe in His perfect wisdom as well as in His goodness.

It is a great thing to be able to go on alone with the Lord, even apart from any human friend, and to be here in all the calm dignity that the sense of His sympathy imparts. I have often to say that there are trials which everyone can see and sympathize with, while there are others which no one can see, and consequently cannot sympathize with. These later must be borne in secret with the Lord Jesus.

It is here we learn when truly with Him what it is to cross our Jordan—alone with Him—enjoying Him in the scene where He is, in the power of the Spirit. Then there is, as it were, no more spirit in us as regards the things to which natural life connects us. We are perfectly happy apart from everything with Him; we are over Jordan, and the more practically we accept this as our proper position in life, the less we expect here, and the more we are dissociated from all here; and yet we are able to be here better than ever.

The one most out of this scene in divine power is the one best able to act in it while here for God. To cross the Jordan is ever real death to man naturally, but the Lord Jesus values our company too well to allow us, when our hearts are toward Him, to be unacquainted with the full effects for us of His death, resurrection and ascension. We have died with Him in order that we might enjoy His life in fellowship with Himself—where He is.

We never really know love until we are near the One who has it for us, and then we know it by the confidence which He inspires within us, like John lying upon the Lord Jesus’ breast (Jhn 13:25; 21:20). When we know the Father’s love we know that He cannot view us less than as His Beloved, even though we are in this world.

—J B Stoney (1814-1897)

The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS