This morning, I want to share some old words that have opened my eyes. I have clung to them at times and pushed them away at other times, but God has used them to make me grow. They were written 100 years ago by a man named Oswald Chambers.
Thanks for not naming me Oswald, Mom!
Oswald Chambers lived for only 43 years. He was born in 1874 and died in 1917, but he gave his every breath for God’s work. He was born in Scotland, and after attending seminary, he traveled to England, America, Japan, and Egypt to share the Good News. His words have survived in his many writings, which always amaze me with their rare insight on all topics.
“Do Not Quench the Spirit” by Oswald Chambers
“The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it. The sense of warning and restraint that the Spirit gives comes to us in the most amazingly gentle ways. And if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice, you will quench it, and your spiritual life will be impaired. This sense of restraint will always come as a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12), so faint that no one except a saint of God will notice it.
“Beware if in sharing your personal testimony you continually have to look back, saying, “Once, a number of years ago, I was saved.” If you have put your “hand to the plow” and are walking in the light, there is no “looking back”— the past is instilled into the present wonder of fellowship and oneness with God (Luke 9:62 ; also see 1 John 1:6-7). If you get out of the light, you become a sentimental Christian, and live only on your memories, and your testimony will have a hard metallic ring to it. Beware of trying to cover up your present refusal to “walk in the light” by recalling your past experiences when you did “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). When-ever the Spirit gives you that sense of restraint, call a halt and make things right, or else you will go on quenching and grieving Him without even knowing it.
“Suppose God brings you to a crisis and you almost endure it, but not completely. He will engineer the crisis again, but this time some of the intensity will be lost. You will have less discernment and more humiliation at having disobeyed. If you continue to grieve His Spirit, there will come a time when that crisis cannot be repeated, because you have totally quenched Him. But if you will go on through the crisis, your life will become a hymn of praise to God. Never become attached to anything that continues to hurt God. For you to be free of it, God must be allowed to hurt whatever it may be.”
How can these words be so comforting, challenging, and frightening all at the same time? I never want to hinder the Spirit of God. But it’s so easy to get in the way with myself. God is in the quiet whisper, the stillness, the nothing, the inactivity.
What would our lives look like if we spent more time in His quiet stillness doing absolutely nothing? Would we begin to hear His voice like never before?