Oswald Chambers spoke to me today.Not audibly. That would be freaky.No, Mr. Chambers spoke via the words he was faithful to record many years ago, preserved in My Utmost for His Highest, though even phrasing it that way seems a bit much. Maybe we could just say that I was inspired.In any case, please join me in pondering his advice. I’ve included it in its entirety here:“Approved to God,” My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth —2 Timothy 2:15If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say, “I’m not going to study and struggle to express this truth in my own words; I’ll just borrow my words from someone else,” then the words will be of no value to you or to others. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else.Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.
I love the entire entry. Several phrases stand out to me—for starters, the first sentence or two could serve as a spiritual writing exercise to attempt during a time of devotional study:If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can…Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else.What a simple but profound idea: to seek to express myself well on each of my beliefs. And if I can’t do it—if it’s muddled and murky—to work and study and write and experiment and even to suffer until it is understandable.He pointed out at the end of the entry that the author or speaker from whom you learn the most is “the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.”Yes, that rings true in my life. There are moments when I read something—whether a blog post or a poem; a story or a song—and the truth is so clear and profound that I nod slowly in recognition. Yes, I think. Yes, that’s exactly it.That’s what we writers can do. We can work and study and experiment and then express it. Clearly. Boldly.Right here.Right now.Lord, may I understand your Truth fully, handle it carefully, convey it clearly, and share it boldly.
Megan Willome says
Put me down for muddled and wimpy.
Not true! I’ve read your words, Megan. I find them inspiring and real!
Brock S. Henning says
Wow. So timely for me, Ann. I started my second trip through “Utmost” two weeks ago. It had been a long time. And then I read this! You nailed everything, specifically as it relates to our writing.
So glad to know we’ll sort of meet in Chambers’ words!
Charity Singleton says
Oh Ann — This is beautiful. You and Oswald have both said it so clearly today. This feels like a clarion call to me today as well. Quickly throwing up daily blog posts sometimes means I don’t wrestle with the words and the truths like I ought. Maybe that’s ok for blogging. But that can’t be the extent of the work I do on words and truths. I DO need to work at them. And how.
This is a good question–the wrestling may happen privately, in journals more than blogs. Maybe the final version comes out in a blog post? But I think that’s something I craved–to put words to the deepest truths we cling to for life and salvation…or to read where someone else has put words to them and I can say, “Yes! What she said!”
Michelle Cox says
Thanks for sharing this…we do need to work out each truth that we are given in order to make it really ours…so that we can share it with others…inspiring!
To make it mine and then to share–I think that really can be a vision for what we can do through blogs, books, or even just basic conversations. So glad to see you here, Michelle!
Hazel I. Moon says
“Work and study,” digest it until it becomes sweet to the taste, and then share it. Then in our own simple words explain truth! I often feel my own words are too down to earth, too home town and not lofty, not beautiful and poetic as some are able to portray. Then I realize, we are not all the same, and we all present our stories in a different light. We are not in competition with each other, but are able to blend and share, thus holding the light high so others may see Jesus.
I think your down-to-earth words, though, make the truths you share accessible to sooooo many people.
When I look at myself in a mirror, I can’t see all of myself at once. I need to look in several mirrors from several angles to have a truer picture of how I appear. In the same way, I think we need to view truth from several angles to get a truer picture of what it means and how it applies to live. We all add to the perspective and help people see more clearly and fully!
Ann, This is exactly the reason why I blog. I find that I must think through my own Belief as I write. I can actually encourage myself in this way. I must study Scripture to substantiate and confirm what I Believe. I enjoy reading other’s work and glean what I can to add to my own Belief. My latest offering is “Ignorance” and “Want”
Yes, Kim, I can see that you do that regularly! I’m heading over to read Ignorance and Want–thanks for your thoughtful reply.