Christ Our Holiness

The three stages in Christian life. Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. The day a person trusts Jesus Christ as her personal Savior, that person was declared just in God’s eyes. From then on until death, that person experience Sanctification, this is the work by the Holy Spirit to bring Christlikeness in that person life. The final stage is called Glorification, that will occur only after death. Today meditation concern the second stage called sanctification. The author of today devotion is called Hannah; she is saved, but she still struggles with sin in her life. How does God want us to deal with our temptations?

The Lord has been teaching me in many ways lately about my utter weakness in the presence of temptation. I have grown significantly in knowledge, but I have not grown in grace and feel that I actually don’t have any more power over sin than when I was first converted. This hasn’t made me doubt that I am a child of God, justified and forgiven and a possessor of eternal life and an heir of a heavenly inheritance, but even while I have this assurance and never lose it, I have found that when my heart condemns me I cannot be happy. And lately, I have been led to long for more holiness, for more power over sin, for more uninterrupted communion with God.
But how to get at it I could not tell. Resolutions have proved utterly useless. My own efforts have been worse than useless. My prayers have been in vain, and I have been ready to give up in despair and to conclude that it was not the will of God that I ever should have a complete victory over sin. And yet the Bible presents such a different picture of the Christian life—blameless—harmless—without rebuke—without reproof—with every temptation a way of escape—purified—conformed to the image of Christ—holy as He is holy!
There are some Christians who say that by receiving Christ by faith for our sanctification, just as we received Him by faith for our justification all this work is accomplished—that is, the way of accomplishing it is discovered. The soul sees that Jesus delivered from the power of sin as well as from its guilt, and learns to trust to Him this whole work of keeping from evil, and delivering from the power of temptation. We cease making resolutions or relying on our own efforts after holiness in the slightest degree and we give ourselves up unreservedly to Christ to be dealt with according to His will, believing that He is able and willing to keep us from falling.
And he will do it. Like a week and helpless child we fall back exhausted into His arms and leave all our work and all our cares in His hands. Those who experience this say further that He really does cleanse their hearts from inbred sin, or at least that a work of grace is accomplished in their souls to such a degree that their Christian life thereafter is a triumphant and exalted one.
—Journal, October 18, 1866
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Moment by Moment Guidance

We enjoy to be used by God, but sometimes it feels like nothing is happening.  This little devotion was useful enough for me to share with you. I hope that it will also be a blessing for you as it has been for me.

I have been thinking a lot about the subject of guidance, and I am convinced more and more that it requires great simplicity of spirit to be able easily and clearly to discern the Voice that speaks so gently in our hearts. We must be in the hands of God, as Madame Guyon says, something “like a toy in the hands of a child” used or laid aside just as He pleases, brought out to be admired, or hidden away on the shelf, made to serve pleasant uses, or applied to disagreeable ends and, like a toy, careless of our own hopes of judgments, must desire nothing but to fulfill all the good pleasures of His will!
No doubt, if the toy were able to reason, it would often feel that it was used for very useless purposes and would feel that it could arrange far better for itself but the end of a toy is to give pleasure to its possessor and it is of no consequence how this end is attained. So our end, dear Abby, is to please our Lord and Master and to bring glory to His Name, and we have no need to trouble ourselves as to how He brings this about. The realization of this will save us a lot of anxious questioning. Moment by moment we will hang upon His leading, never stopping to reason as to why we should do this or that, never troubled if it seems to produce results, not even anxious if it seems to have been a mistake concerned still only for one thing, and that is to please our Lord now, in the present moment. And having pleased Him, we have nothing more to do with that act.
I do not believe that light is ever promised for a past step, nor for a future one; for God emphatically wants us to live in the present, moment by moment. And so, darling friend, let me beg you to rest quietly in your Saviour feeling your utter helplessness but His infinite strength!
—To Abby, Millville N.J., September 6, 1865
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Unchangeably Faithful

Hannah Whitall Smith was a young woman when the Civil War was raging. Here faith in a difficult time is exemplary.

Our prosperous nation has been plunged into a civil war, the horrors of which we are just beginning to feel. The state of money matters is distressing and Robert has suffered great losses so that we have been obliged in every way to reduce our expenditures. We rented our Germantown house for the summer and moved to a place belonging to Robert’s father. But as it was not healthy there, we have left it, and are now entirely unsettled as regards our future.
It does not distress me in the least for I know that the “Lord is my Shepherd” and therefore “I shall not want,” and I am perfectly content to leave all my future in His care. I feel indeed that it is my greatest privilege that I may thus leave it with Him, for who or what am I that He should care for my welfare? A poor sinner saved by grace, this is what I am and what I love to be! And after all I well know it is not what I am, but what Christ is that is of any importance. For the safety and well being of the flock depends not upon what they are, but altogether upon what the Shepherd is. And the Lord is my shepherd! well, may I say therefore that “I shall not want!”
As to my spiritual life, I hardly know what to say. I am still just what I was a year ago, and what I was two years ago “a poor sinner and nothing at all and Jesus Christ is my all in all.” What more could I say than that? Yet while I can write to His praise that my Saviour has been unchangeably faithful to me during all this past year, I must confess to my bitter shame that oftentimes I have been very faithless to Him. Oh, how could I, how can I! It is good for me that He is just the Saviour He is, or there would be no hope for me. No other one could have borne with me, no other could continue to love me! But He does! This is His blessedness! “He is the same yesterday today and forever,” and in Him is no variableness nor even shadow of turning. He is just exactly the Saviour I need, and is all I need! No words can even begin to tell what He is! Oh, that I were a more faithful disciple!
—Journal, August 6, 1861
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Giving Freely

Hannah Whitall Smith wrote this meditation on GIVING.

Lately, my Father has revealed to me a depth selfishness in myself that I never even so much as suspected. I find that all my kindness to others, my benevolence, and what seemed to be the most unselfish acts of my life, all have had their root in a deep and subtle form of self-love. My motto has for a long time been “Freely ye have received, freely give” and I dreamed that in a certain sense I was living up to it, not only as regards physical blessings, but spiritual as well.
But I find now that I have never really given one thing freely in my life. I have always expected and demanded payment of some kind for every gift, and where the pay has failed to come, the gifts have invariably ceased to flow. If I gave love, I demanded love in return; if I gave kindness I demanded gratitude as payment; if I gave counsel, I demanded obedience to it, or if not that, at least an increase of respect for my judgment on the part of the one counseled; if I gave the gospel I demanded conversions or a reputation of zeal and holiness; if I gave consideration, I demanded consideration in return. In short, I sold everything and gave nothing. I know nothing of the meaning of Christ’s words “Freely ye have received, freely give.” But I did it ignorantly.
Now however the Lord has opened my eyes to see something of the nature and extent of this selfishness, and I believe He is also giving me the grace to overcome it in a measure. I have been taking home to myself the lesson contained in Matt. 5:39–48. I desire to do everything now as to the Lord alone and to receive my pay only from Him. His grace must carry on this work in me for I am utterly powerless to do one thing toward it, but I feel assured that He will.
And I feel have to thank Him for what He has already done. He has conquered a feeling of repugnance which was growing in me towards someone with whom I am brought into very close contact and enabled me to give freely, without even wanting any return. Oh, how great He is in strength and wisdom!
—Journal, January 16, 1860
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

The Simplicity of Prayer

Hannah Whitall Smith penned these words July 6, 1859. Her subject was on prayer.

I want to realize the simplicity of prayer. I don’t dare look at it as a religious exercise, but rather as a child’s going to a father to get what is needed in answer to prayer.

When we love earthly friends we are not satisfied with only a few minutes together at a time, nor can we learn to know their real character, or appreciate the depths of their nature, if we only have a few passing words with them as we go about our daily routine, even if those passing words should occur every few minutes. Neither can we know God in this way.
How often we say about our earthly friends “I really would like to have a good quiet settled talk with them so that I can really get to know them.” And shouldn’t we feel the same about our Heavenly Friend, that we may really get to know Him?

These thoughts have taught me the importance of the children of God taking time to commune daily with their Father, so that they may get to know His mind, and to understand better what His will is.

Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

BEFORE YOU SIN

Things to Think About When You Are Tempted to Sin:

You are about to hurt the people who depend on you.

You are about to become addicted to sin—to take a step toward bondage-enslavement to sin.

You are about to give Satan and others a means of accusation. (like a handle on your back when you try to move forward)

You are about to damage or destroy your testimony for God and your personal reputation.

You are about to discredit your God. Our private sin is an open scandal in heaven.

You are about to forfeit eternal rewards.

You are about to break your enjoyment of fellowship with God. Your purpose in life, your joy, delight, and satisfaction in life, your continued ability to defeat sin require fellowship with the Lord.

Ken Pierpont

Surprised by Love

How do you see religion? Burden or blessing! From this morning quiet time with the Lord. Written by Hannah Whitall Smith from her book “The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life”.

I  am surprised at the lowliness though happiness of religion. I can see now that my ideas of it were too gloomy as if the Redeemer were a hard taskmaster and His servants became unwilling slaves, working only for the sake of the reward or because of the fear of the punishment. And now when I find such love, such joy, such beauty it astonishes me. I trust I am grateful for it but the remains of the old fears still cause me to be expecting the crosses and the unhappiness. Perhaps it is the way with many young Friends (Quaker) to look upon Christ’s religion as one of austerity and gloom, but how different the truth is. His service is a service of love. His yoke is easy. His burden is indeed light—lightened and made easy, even if hard and heavy, by the help of love.
I have read that the Shepherd first carries His sheep in His arms while they are weak and trembling—but afterward, when their strength increases, He sets them down to walk amid the thorns and rocks of the way. Surely He is carrying me in His arms now, weak, unworthy to be called one of His lambs, yet trusting in Him. I am deeply and peacefully happy, believing that “he is my Shepherd, and I shall not want.”
—Journal, 1851
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).