Lambs in the Midst of Wolves

Wolves-e1365022742667

At first sight . . . the Kingdom seems impossible and the world way the reasonable and workable way. Jesus, knowing that men would feel that his way is impossible says: “I send you as lambs in the midst of wolves.” It looks as thought the principles of Jesus have about as much chance of success as lambs have of getting through a pack of wolves. What can humility do in a world where it is considered a weakness?

decorative-lines-300x56

What chance of success has a business man if he should take the way of the Sermon on the Mount? Would not his competitors tear him to pieces, as wolves do a lamb, if he attempted it? And a nation that built its collective life upon the principle of love and turning the other cheek—would not other nations make short shrift of it? They would be lambs in the midst of wolves. So it seems. But when John saw the final end of things in Apocalypse the Lamb was on the throne!

-E. Stanley Jones,
Christ at the Round Table

Advertisements

A Terrible Force

christmas-backgrounds-manger-l

Loving humility is a terrible force:
it is the strongest of all things,
and there is nothing else like it.

–Fydor Dostoyevsky
The Brothers Karamazov

The power of humility

washing feet copy

  
Loving humility
is a terrible force:
it is the strongest
of all things,
and there is nothing
else like it.

–Fydor Dostoyevsky

Sowing and reaping

harvesting-quotes-4

You reap what you sow —
not something else, but that.
An act of love makes the soul more loving.
A deed of humbleness deepens humbleness.
The thing reaped is the very thing sown,
multiplied a hundred fold.
You have sown a seed of life,
you reap life everlasting.

–Frederick W. Robertson
(1816 – 1853)

Artwork: Vincent van Gogh

Humility, truth and vines

grapes-white-grapes-vine-leaves 2

Humility is the acceptance of the true spiritual order. It teaches the branch to abide in the vine. It restores the disordered hierarchy in the heart by replacing God upon His throne there.

Humility is simply truth, and independence is nothing but a lie, honouring the branch above the vine, the member above the body, and the creature above the Creator — calling a stream the fountain, and a planet the sun.

–Thomas Erskine
Unconditional Freeness of the Gospel

The pride of faith

539195_459632427437295_1007234818_n

There is a pride of faith, more unforgivable and dangerous than the pride of the intellect. It reveals a split personality in which faith is “observed” and appraised, thus negating that unity born of a dying-unto-self, which is the definition of faith. To “value” faith is to turn it into a metaphysical magic, the advantages of which ought to be reserved for a spiritual elite.

–Dag Hammarskjold
(1905-1961)

Published in: on 04/11/2014 at 0:24  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Eternal childhood

Perhaps this will be one of the supreme tests: would we choose the childlikeness of Heaven or the promise of “maturity”, of “humanity come of age” in Hell? Will we suffer gladly the blow and shock to our pride that is Heaven’s gift of eternal childhood (thus eternal hope and progress) or will we insist on the “successes” of “self-actualization” that Heaven denies us and Hell offers us? If the latter, we will find despair instead of hope, ennui [boredom] instead of creative work, and the emptying out of all our joy.

Jesus’ teaching, “Unless you turn
and become like children, you will
never enter the kingdom of Heaven”,
is not something to be outgrown.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, when asked which are the four most important virtues, replied, “Humility, humility, humility, and humility.”

–Peter Kreeft

The main source of mischief

Spiritual pride is the main door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those who are zealous for the advancement of Christianity.  It is the chief inlet of smoke from the bottomless pit, to darken the mind and mislead the judgment.  It is the main source of all the mischief the devil introduces, to clog and hinder a work of God.

Spiritual pride tends to speak
of other persons’ sins
with bitterness or with laughter
and levity and an air of contempt.

But pure Christian humility rather tends either to be silent about these problems or to speak of them with grief and pity.  Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others, but a humble Christian is most guarded about himself.  He is as suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart.  The proud person is apt to find fault with other believers, that they are low in grace, and to be much in observing how cold and dead they are and to be quick to note their deficiencies.  But the humble Christian has so much to do at home and sees so much evil in his own heart and is so concerned about it, that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts.  He is apt to esteem others better than himself.

–Jonathan Edwards
(1703-1758)

A true picture of God

If we accept Jesus as our God, we would have to conclude that our God does not want to be served by us, he wants to serve us; he doesn’t want to be given the highest possible status in our society; he wants to take the lowest place, without any status; he does not want to be feared; he wants to be recognized in the sufferings of the poor; he is not supremely indifferent and detached, he is irrevocable committed to the liberation of humanity, for he has chosen to identify himself with all the people in a spirit of solidarity and compassion. If this is not a true picture of God, then Jesus is not divine. If this is a true picture of God, then God is more truly human, more thoroughly humane, than any human being. He is a supremely ‘human God.’

–Albert Nolan

He alone is the Truth

. . . at every point in our theological inquiry we have to let our knowledge, our theology, our formulations, our statements, be called into question by the very Christ toward whom they point, for He alone is the Truth…

Out of sheer respect for the majesty of the Truth as it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, we have to do our utmost to speak correctly and exactly about it—that is the meaning of orthodoxy and the way of humility—but when we have done all this, we have still to confess that we are unfaithful servants, that all our efforts fall far short of the truth.

Far from seeking justification on the ground of our “orthodoxy,” we can only serve the Truth faithfully if we point away from ourselves and our statements to Christ Himself, and direct all eyes to Him alone. He who boasts of orthodoxy thus sins against Justification by Christ alone, for he justifies himself by appeal to his own beliefs or his own formulations of belief and thereby does despite to the Truth and Grace of Christ.

Once a Church begins
to boast of its “orthodoxy”
it begins to fall from Grace.

–Thomas F. Torrance

%d bloggers like this: