God's love is under the law of the glory of God, and He can show His love only in so far as showing His love is going to be to His glory. … The glory of God is in resurrection, and therefore love demands that everything shall come to the place where only resurrection will meet the situation; no curing of things, no remedying of the old man. …
The very fact that the gift of God is eternal life means that you have not got it until it is given to you. You are blind until God gives you the faculty of sight. You are dead until God gives you life. You are a hopeless cripple until God does something for you and in you which you can never do. Unless God does this thing, unless this act takes place, well, there you lie. Spiritually, that is how you are. You can contribute nothing.
The effect of the Holy Spirit's work in us is to bring us to the shore of a mighty ocean which reaches far, far beyond our range, and concerning which we feel — Oh, the depths, the fullness, of Christ! If we live as long as ever man lived, we shall still be only on the fringe of this vast fullness that Christ is.
Water, flowing out and pouring out in great volumes and torrents, when it reaches a certain limit, recoils upon itself and comes back with equal force, in great waves that roll over and over one another. It is easy to understand how all the beautiful light and shade, swirls and eddies and so on, would catch the imagination of an artist. But this was what came to me from it: if you pour out enough, in great enough volume, in great enough strength, it will come back; it will all come back in overflowing waves.
The Lord put this in another form: “Give, and it shall be given unto you”; and He went on: “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom” (Luke 6:38).
As for distinct interior words, they too are subject to illusion; the enemy can form and counterfeit them. Or if they come from a good angel (for God Himself never speaks thus) we may mistake and misapprehend them. They are spoken in a divine manner, but we construe them in a human and carnal manner.
But the immediate word of God has neither tone nor articulation. It is mute, silent, and unutterable. It is Jesus Christ Himself, the real and essential Word who in the center of the soul that is disposed for receiving Him, never one moment ceases from His living, fruitful, and divine operation.
“What shall I render to the Lord, for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.” These words, I can truly say, O my God, have been the delight of my heart, and have had their effect on me, through my whole life; for I have been continually heaped with thy blessings and thy cross.
I had never before fathomed these words of Our Lord: “The second commandment is like to the first: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mt 22:39). I had set myself above all to love God, and it was in loving Him that I discovered the hidden meaning of these other words: “It is not those who say, Lord, Lord! who enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the Will of My Father.” (Mt 7:21).
Jesus revealed to me this Will when at the Last Supper He gave His New Commandment in telling His Apostles to love one another as He had loved them. I set myself to find out how He had loved His Apostles; and I saw that it was not for their natural qualities, for they were ignorant men, full of earthly ideas. And yet He calls them His Friends, His Brethren; He desires to see them near Him in the Kingdom of His Father, and in order to admit them to this Kingdom. He wills to die on the Cross, saying: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Cf. Jn 13:34).
As I meditated on these Divine words, I saw how imperfect was the love I bore my Sisters in religion. I understood that I did not love them as Our Lord loves them. I know now that true charity consists in bearing all our neighbors’ defects—not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues. Above all I know that charity must not remain shut up in the heart, for “No man lights a candle, and puts it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel; but upon a candlestick, that they who come in may see the light.” (Lk 11:33). …
O my Jesus! Thou dost never ask what is impossible; Thou knowest better than I, how frail and imperfect I am, and Thou knowest that I shall never love my Sisters as Thou hast loved them, unless within me Thou lovest them, dear Lord! It is because Thou dost desire to grant me this grace that Thou hast given a New Commandment. Oh how I love it, since I am assured thereby that it is Thy Will to love in me all those Thou dost bid me love!
We know more of Christ … by way of an increasing awareness of need. Some are afraid to discover deficiency in themselves, and so they never grow. Growth in grace is the only sense in which we can grow, and grace, we have said, is God doing something for us.
Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE.
It is all a question whether the vessel is light or weighty, for weight shows the quality of the material. Two men may use the same words, but in the one you meet something you cannot get past; in the other—nothing. The difference is in the man. … No amount of theorizing about the Lord's return, for example, will take the place of a life that has been daily lived looking for him.
The Cross … [is] the centre, or ‘fixed point’, for VICTORY OVER SIN, OVER THE WORLD, OVER THE FLESH, AND OVER THE DEVIL.
The inner knowledge of the Cross can never be grasped by the intellect. The death of Christ at Calvary was something so awesome and terribly real, that only they who enter experimentally into that death can get even a glimpse into it. The message of the Cross can never be merely a ‘doctrine’, for it was something more than a ‘doctrine’ to Christ, and, as we see in the life of the Apostle of the Cross, to Paul.
“He that loveth his life shall lose it”! That means to say, you will get nothing for eternity out of it. You may have victory over sin already, and be happy. That is all right; but he that “loveth his life”–even though he parts with sin–has not got reproducing power, the power to reach others, and draw them to the life of heaven.
The believer's death with Christ upon His Cross therefore means a being crucified to the world in all its aspects. Not to be a miserable, joyless person, but one filled with the joy and glory of another world. It is not the ‘cross’ that makes us miserable, but the absence of it. It is a delivering Cross—a Cross that liberates you to have the very foretaste of heaven in you, as already sharers of the power of the age to come. Let each one of us put in our claim for deliverance from the world, so that, as Christians, we do not pander to it, dress like it, act like it, and behave like it. If this message of Calvary was taught and believed, it would end the question of amusements in the church.
Transformation into the kind of person who loves holiness and hates evil comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit, but he does it as we behold the glory of the Lord. So, that’s what I urge mainly every day…pour over the Scriptures, looking for the beauty of Christ and the fearsomeness of God, and cry out for a heart that loves holiness and hates sin.
The closer we come to peaceful, cheerful, loving acts — even in the face of loss and pain — the more clearly the light of Christ's worth will shine through us.