A Man Completely Surrendered to God
When the classic devotional by Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, was published in 1927, who could have imagined that nearly 100 years later it would still be captivating the hearts and minds of readers?
Not once in this time span has it been taken out of publication. Instead it has grown in popularity among Christian believers. Indeed, generation after generation has been empowered through the God-exalting words of a humble man named Oswald Chambers, whose life goal was to give absolutely everything for God’s highest acclaim.
More than anything else, the young Scottish-born pastor longed to see God high and lifted up in his generation and those to come. With a fiery, yet compassionate spirit, he urged believers to embrace a life of complete surrender to God. From his own experience, he knew there was no greater calling on this earth than to live unashamedly for Christ.
My Experience with My Utmost for His Highest
When I first opened my own copy of My Utmost for His Highest, I immediately knew that this book was going to change my life.
As I turned the pages, I sat nearly astounded at the sheer intensity of Chamber’s heart-penetrating words, which spoke directly to my soul. His writings were not just filled with emotion, but with breathtaking, God-centered truths that grounded me in my mission to make God my all.
Each devotion not only stirred a fire in my heart, but also strengthened the Biblical foundation upon which I desired to build my life. Chambers has a seamless way of pleading with the heart of the reader while laying solid Biblical truths on the pathway toward knowing God more.
What an immense joy it has been to journey with Oswald Chambers as he has guided me from a far and distant time. The truth and passion that fill his writings are still just as timeless today.
As I have turned page after page in My Utmost for His Highest, I have been impacted in a way I cannot fully explain. The words have rung like an anthem in my heart, driving me to press forward and take hold of a life that is completely abandoned to God.
My heart surges right now as I think of the powerful lessons I have learned from this humble, God-exalting man.
Here are some of the most important things he has taught me:
#1 Come to Grips with What a Sinner You Are
If the Spirit of God has given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God…you know there is no criminal who is half so bad in actuality as you know yourself to be in possibility. –Oswald Chambers
What a stunning realization this has been to me: that I am the worst of sinners, one whose depravity reaches the lowest depths.
How quickly I can be to judge others, yet I am the worst of criminals with absolutely no authority to condemn!
It seems almost instinctual to rank other people by their apparent, outward sinfulness. But when I look at my own heart, I see the guilty verdict has already been pronounced on me!When God wants to show you what human nature is like apart from Himself, He has to show it you in yourself. --Oswald Chambers Click To Tweet
Yes, God has revealed the true depravity that is in my heart apart from him. And it has brought me sorrowfully and humbly to my knees.
To rid me of any feelings of superiority, God had to literally make me sick of myself, so that I could come to grips with just how lost and hopeless I am without him.
And although this is a painful process, it is also life-altering.
When my view of myself becomes shattered, I can truly see who I am: a sinner saved by grace.
#2 Take the Risk
Trust entirely in God, and when He brings you to the venture, see that you take it. –Oswald Chambers
With such vivid clarity, Chambers has shown me that when God says, “Go,” I simply must go!
I do not need to ask God over and over again if he really meant it. Nor should I make a list of pros and cons to decide whether or not I should obey.
God simply calls me to step out in the direction he is leading–to live out my faith in bold, uncompromising ways!
- Does the road look difficult or uncertain? (It most likely will.)
- Are there risks involved? (YES!)
- Do the circumstances seem daunting? (Almost always!)
Rarely do God’s ways make sense to our earthly logic. Nor do they soothe our desire for security.
But God loves a good adventure!
He wants us to head out into the unknown with him–with hearts that are courageous and strong.
Yet we must always remember, that the “great unknown” to us is not the great unknown to God. He knows exactly where he is going. And every risk we take is a statement of trust in him.
We have one short life on this earth.
So while we are here, we must “launch all on God, go out on the great swelling tide of His purpose” (Chambers).If a man is going to do anything worthwhile, there are times when he has to risk everything. --Oswald Chambers Click To Tweet
#3 Realize that God Calls the Least Likely
You say–But God can never have called me to this, I am too unworthy, it can’t mean me. It does mean you, and the weaker and feebler you are, the better. –Oswald Chambers
Do you feel like God has placed his call on your life, yet you feel completely unqualified?
Do you imagine that people might even laugh if you shared with them what God was calling you to do?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then God just might be up to something in you!
In my own experience, God began igniting a fire in my heart over 10 years ago. I felt him calling me to write, to speak, and to share Jesus with others in a more public way.
Yet I also felt so insecure, that God could never use someone like me.
Because I’m nervous, shy, and just plain awkward sometimes! (Not a great combination!)
Therefore, I resisted God’s call on my life because I felt like I would never be good enough for God to use.
But let me tell you, that did not put out the fire he kindled in my heart! It is still burning strong. And as weak as I sometimes feel, I am beginning to understand that perhaps God can use someone like me.
And do you know what?
He can absolutely use someone like you!
Reflect upon your own life. What has God called you to do? Have you embraced it? Or are you protesting it by saying, “You can’t possibly mean me??”
In the words of Oswald Chambers, “It does mean YOU, and the weaker and feebler you are, the better.”
So get on with it, weak as you are, and start doing what God has called you to do!
#4 Be Loyal to Christ
Be loyal to Me, whilst the nature of things round about you would make you disloyal…Stand loyal to your Friend, and remember that His honour is at stake in your bodily life. –Oswald Chambers
Almost everything in your life will drive you to be disloyal to Christ. Every value of this world and the way in which the world operates will lead you toward disobedience to Christ.
It will tell you to follow your selfish desires, not the desires of Christ.
The world lifts up “self” as the highest being–not God. And when we idolize ourselves and the world we live in, the love of God cannot come alive in us (1 John 2:15).
Indeed, if we hold hands with this world, we cannot honor Jesus Christ in our bodily lives. For we simply cannot be married to both Christ and the world.
Christ asks for our undivided allegiance–not a life that is half given to the world and half given to him.
But on this earth, how easy it can be to want both! The lure of being in control, having personal success, and living a comfortable life can override our desire to live for God alone.
It can leave us feeling torn and frustrated.
Yet if we give ourselves completely to Christ, we will find the Friend we have in Jesus to be what we are truly seeking. He offers a life of peace and purpose in the midst of a world that celebrates everything false and meaningless.
#5 Stop Thinking of Yourself
How long is it going to take God to free us from the morbid habit of thinking about ourselves? –Oswald Chambers
I believe Satan’s greatest weapon against me is convincing me that this life is all about me.
Even when it comes to God.
I can become so consumed with my part in God’s plans and what I can accomplish for him, that I entirely forget that God has some ideas of his own!
When my prayers become all about me, and my dreams have only one star-player (me!), then I know I have veered dangerously off the path that God wants for me.
Selfishness. It is the cancer of the soul. It has a way of eating away at everything good inside until all that is left is a desperate, self-seeking shell of a person, whose destiny is frustration and unhappiness.
Yes, idolizing ourselves always leaves us empty.
But lifting up the God of our salvation always leaves us filled with joy and peace.
One quote from Chambers has spoken volumes to me about what I will become if I am self-consumed:
The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God. There is nothing indicative of the miracle of the Redemption in that. –Oswald Chambers
Oh God, take me as far as you can from a life that “generates a self-centered, morbid type of Christianity!” Let me live the redeemed life.
I thank God for the influence of Oswald Chambers, a man after God’s own heart, a man who has impacted my life forever.
I pray that I will honor God through…
My radical obedience to him.
A selfless life that glorifies him.
And a loyalty that never fails.
I thank you, God, for brothers and sisters in the faith who carry us on throughout the generations!