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Friday, February 5, 2016

The Cross, the Church, and the Kingdom # 63

The Crowning (continued)

The Crown of Life

The crown of life. Of course, this is also in the setting of difficulty, suffering and adversity. "The man that endureth temptation" But life is not the battleground; life is the object at stake. From the beginning it has been that - the battle for life. satan at the beginning schemed and worked in order that he should capture the race for himself and defeat God's ends in the race. Wherever  he has succeeded, he has done so in this way - that he has hindered men from having Divine life; because Divine life is not only continuity of life, it is a nature, a kind of life. It is the issue over which all the battle is raging. Life is the mark of victory now as well as afterward. Whenever we triumph on this battleground of God having His place, His rights, there is a new release of life. Whenever in some controversy with the Lord as to His place, as to His will, there is victory gained and He is given what is His right, we know life rises up at once. Until that is settled, there is arrest. When we get to the Lord and face the matter out and get through about it with Him, then the hold-up goes and life springs up again and we are released. It is just that thing which is the object of all the activities of the enemy - to try to quench that life. Life is the issue.

Now, says the Word here, you are in the battle for life. satan is out to quench you, to destroy you. As the Lord's child, the issue is with you. Just how much you will lay hold on the Lord's life, how much you will stand upon that Divine ground, how much in faith you will resist that working of death, in that degree you will know life. Oh, how that works out in so many ways, in so many details! Almost any day in our lives that issue arises - whether we are going to let death have its way. You know what I mean by death. I am not talking about being put in your coffin, but about spiritual death - those stifling, numbing, darkening forces that come upon your body, mind and spirit, and wrap you around. You get up in the morning wondering what is the matter with you. For no apparent reason you feel depressed, "dead". What are you going to do about it." Are you going to give in and say, "Well, I am not feeling too good. I think I will give up for a bit." Are you going to yield to it? Well, if you do, you will not be able to get yourself free again until there is a real fight put up in prayer. You will find that there is something more than just a passing bad feeling, it is the battle for life that you are in. We are all in that, and from those simple, personal forms the battle is intensifying and enlarging just now, and it is becoming the battle of the Church - that is the point - in an inward way. Is the Church really going to rise up and overcome this  terrible wave of death that is spreading over the earth? It is a matter that is left with us; but that is the issue. Why do we not more quickly recognize what the issue is? We look at the secondary causes, we think at once that the explanation is this or that, but the real trouble has come from somewhere else, from behind; and that sort of thing is increasing. We are in the battle for life; it is the great issue fro the beginning to the end.

Now then, in the presence of it, what are we going to do? "Blessed is the man that endureth trial; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life." How are we going to be approved? You have never seen a scholar approved who threw aside his test paper and said, 'I can never do anything with that! No use trying!' or who got so far, and said, 'I cannot do any more, I give it up!' "Be thou faithful unto death"; go right through to the end with this thing. That is what the Apostle is saying. Is it a battle? Well, do not give in. Is it a course? Do not drop out. Is it a trust? Do not surrender it. Go through with it, and you shall receive a crown of life.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 64 - (The Crown of Glory)

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