Waiting and Laying Hold – Stockmayer, Selection 2

on December 13, 2007 in Stockmayer


(Isaiah 64; Philippians 2:12; Hebrews 2:14)

There is a deep problem which finds its solution only as we draw nearer and nearer into God’s full Word, never hanging on one side or the other. There is a waiting, and there is a stirring up to lay hold of God. Isaiah declared, on the one hand, “God worketh for him that waiteth for Him”; then almost immediately, on the other hand, the prophet proclaimed, “And there is none that calleth upon Thy Name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee.”

I am sure that no human formula can explain the relationship between waiting and laying hold. The two must have a place. Wherever there is spiritual life, there may be–there will be–times in which you are stirred up by the Spirit of God to stir yourself up to lay hold of God; and there will be those times in which the same Spirit, seven-fold in His working, says, “Quiet…Quiet…Wait.” This is not some kind of a vague waiting, but a definite waiting which is not quietism or soulish contemplation but Life, and Life more abundant; waiting and more patient waiting, that results in laying hold upon Him more definitely from day to day.

Through the Holy Spirit learn at the feet of Jesus to recognize when and how to wait, and when and how to lay hold upon God and His Word and step out. We may be sure that we will always have an inadequate notion of anything we have not yet realized in our personal experience; therefore through waiting we learn to wait. Through waiting on God, God takes hold of us, and a waiting upon God which would not enable Him to take hold of us as never before would not be a waiting in the lines of Life and of the Spirit of God.

It is a wonderful meeting together of very different things when the Apostle says in the second chapter of the letter to the Philippians: “As ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

The Spirit of God takes of the things of Christ–of His humility, of His death, of His redemption–and opens them up and gives them. So He works, showing Christ and opening our eyes at the same time. The Lord Jesus died for us, and it is God the Holy Spirit who works in us and opens the Treasury of Christ.

Now we are to work out our own salvation with Divine fear and Divine trembling, as we follow carefully the Spirit of God when unfolding treasure after treasure enclosed in our redemption from the curse. Whatever our special natural tendency of character may be, against which we have fought long without result, the Spirit says to us, “Look closer to Christ and know what He has done for thee. He has delivered thee from the fear of death; He has made everything new. There is nothing in thy blood, in thy nerves, in any part of thy physical or mental constitution, from which the Blood of Christ might not deliver.”

There is purification–not only pardon, but purification, cleansing, deliverance–in the Blood of Christ, when you do not any more grieve the Holy Ghost by disobedience–by limiting the Holy Ghost to your past experience or to other Christians who have made no better progress than yourself. Step out in the Holy Ghost; take your Bible, with the Spirit of God as your Teacher, and as one passage corroborates another you will find new glories.

So because God is working in us both to will and to do, and because He has made us willing to go forward, let us believe the promise of His Word, which will free us from whatever may displease the heart of the Father and bring us into conformity to the Image of Christ–one feature of the old natural character after another giving way to the character of the new Image of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ became obedient unto death, humbling Himself even to the death of the Cross–shrinking from no step up to the Cross; and through His death He has delivered us from the fear of dying, which involves the fear of going low and the tendency to go high. There is in each one of us who is not fully delivered by the Spirit of God from the self-life a tendency to keep his own life, which is fear of death and which is manifested in a constant anxiety about his own life–a spirit which says, “Don’t touch me too near.” But through His death Christ abolished, or made powerless, him that had the power of death; He has made powerless the devil and has delivered us who all our lifetime had been under the fear of “dying.”

It is a new word, which the Spirit alone can open before our eyes. Let us give the Holy Spirit henceforth freedom to work–to work out in us to will and to do, to make us willing to go down, willing to go low, willing to disappear. Let us be ambitious to be a people whom He can guide from glory to glory, from humility to humility; and ultimately, in His time, He can use as His servants and workers.

“Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” instead of trying to overrule one the other. Be all of one mind, in lowliness of spirit, doing nothing for vainglory but counting each other better than himself.

How can one ever attain such a thing? The Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ–His lowliness, His humility–and performs in us the very things which have been the life of Christ. He was obedient and humbled himself down to the Cross in order that on the Cross it might be done forever. Is our pride and our self-consciousness, our thinking ourselves higher than others, gone? Yet He has done this. The Holy Spirit has now the Treasury out of which He takes for every human life. Whoever has seen the heavenly vision of Christ’s death knows by the Spirit of God that Christ died not only to make expiation for our pride and wickedness, but to open the way by which the Spirit of God may now take of the things of Christ and live out His Life in us from the alpha to the omega–every letter of that Divine Alphabet.

Who will ascend to Heaven; who will reach to such high things? Ah, Christ came down just to bring Heaven down to earth. He went down to the deepest depth and up to the highest height, and He offered Himself to the disposal of the Holy Spirit that He might take Divine things and make them realities in us.

Remember what I have said of a connection–not a human formula, but a connection, or relationship–between waiting and laying hold. The Spirit takes of the things of God and makes them real. Then we no more say, “Who can attain so high?” Heavenly realities come down nearer and nearer, and the Holy Ghost makes us understand that the solemn hour has come when the waiting is to give place to the laying hold. Not to lay hold in holy moments which no human arm could manufacture and bring out–not to lay hold when the Lord draws near–would be a deep grieving of the Holy Ghost. You would afterward wait years before you would be able to lay hold on the Lord’s arm–on the Lord’s redemption–and be able to step out from the shallow waters in which the Lord Jesus Christ had not been glorified in your life as He should have been.

The very capital sin which we are forbidden to do is to grieve the Holy Spirit. Yet, according to Isaiah 63:10, that is just the sin which Israel committed: “But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He was turned to be their enemy.”

Deeper and deeper, as I go into Scripture, grows the conviction that the reason the Lord has not yet come is that the Church of God has done this very thing which the Apostle forbade it to do when he wrote: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption.” The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has grieved the Holy Spirit, and there are children of God who have not even yet come to see that they can and must live without grieving the Holy Spirit. There are children in human life who would do anything rather than grieve their mother’s heart; and is it a light thing to grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom you have been sealed for the day of redemption? And the day of redemption, which lies in the future of the Church, is the day of the coming of Christ and of the redemption of our bodies.

There are dear Christian people, I know, who think that Christ will come after some date which the Father may have fixed, regardless of the state of the Church at that moment. I think rather that the Lord would wait a thousand years before bringing to an end Church life, if the Body of Christ has not really come into conformity with the Son of God; and the waiting creation would wait in vain for “the manifestation of the sons of God” as long as it would be a manifestation of shame and self, instead of a manifestation of hidden glory worked out in the lives of people who would do anything rather than grieve the Holy Spirit.

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