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Saturday, January 5, 2013

God's Standard of Values # 2

"Each counting another better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. Have this mind in you" - notice how frequently this word 'mind' occurs - "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be held on to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondslave, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the Cross."

This is the complement, I said, of Isaiah 53. What immediately follows is the complement of the end of Isaiah 52 ("My Servant ... shall be very high"):

"Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name ..."

What is the basis of the Arm of the Lord being revealed? To whom? ... To these, to these, described or addressed in this second chapter of the letter to the Philippians. When you pass into the third chapter, you find a list of those things in which man glories, of which man takes account, on which man builds, as exemplified in the past life of Paul. But God did not at that time look toward him in this way of approval and blessing; He did not say, 'I will stand by that man.' He first met him and laid him low in the dust, broke him and shattered him; and then, afterward, he lifted him up. The principle is so clear. The chief evil with God is PRIDE! The chief virtue with God is meekness! So this is but a confirmation of what we have in this great chapter in Isaiah. To whom will the Arm of the Lord be revealed? To this One, and to those like Him - to those who are of 'this mind that was in Christ Jesus.'

But are we not ever more and more amazed, when we think of this Servant of the Lord - knowing beforehand, as He did, what He was going to experience and suffer, and all that it was going to mean - being willing to take that course, in order to redeem us from out pride - the iniquity of our pride? The root of that word "iniquity" in the Hebrew means "perversity." It was in order to deliver us from that perversity - really an inward alliance with satan, in his pride of heart - that the Servant of the Lord went down to the depths of degradation! This gives us a true estimate of pride: we see what pride is in the eyes of God, as well as man's utterly false standard of values. And surely there opens up to our eyes the infinite value of self-emptiness, of 'having no confidence in the flesh' (Phil. 3:3), of the "meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Peter 3:4).

So then, if we want the Arm of the Lord for us, and not against us; if we want its girding, its support, its strength, in our lives, in our fellowships, our assemblies, and in our service - this is the ground. Nothing that is a contradiction to this will find that Arm lifted up on our behalf. He will leave us to wallow in the mire of our own creating, until, at the Cross, we are prepared to 'pour contempt on all our pride,' and to find what it means to be 'dead to all the world' - most particularly the world of our own hearts.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 1 - The Cross")

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