There is nothing greater than for one being used by the Father in all that He has him to do! His care for us causes us to “desire and do His good pleasure” (Phl 2:13), which keeps us from ever again desiring the way of sin and condemnation. He knows what the exact amount of difficulty we can endure, because He has prepared us for it, and “makes a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1Co 10:13). Everything our Father does to groom us for trials is out of love. There is nothing He does to punish us, because it’s all within His school of learning; for “Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son (or daughter) whom He receives” (Heb 12:6).

Exotic Here—At Home There

When we consider that each of us is a plant of the Lord, and not one like another as to leaf or flower, the plantation is most interesting. Though there is no similarity in the circumstances or in the duties of any one, yet the health and vigor of each is hindered or promoted by the condition of any of the rest, for we are members on of another.

You are a plant of the Lord (Isa 61:3), set by Him in His plantation on earth, to have a certain leaf and blossom and fruit. He knows just where He has set you, and He takes into account all the adverse influences which bear upon you. He put the plant where it can best set forth the beauty which He has given it, which is His own. He knows that amount of frost and wind and sun which is needful for the most advantageous development.

We in the new life are exotics (not native to the place where found—NC), but we are placed in circumstances the best suited for us to grow, to neutralize the adverse influences of the old man to which we are so susceptible (vulnerable – I believe “the old man” is Satan’s first line of offense; as the Spirit uses the “new man,” so the enemy uses our old man—NC). As a plant of the Lord you are an exotic, and there is no other plant like you (similar but never exact—NC). The Father has only one specimen of each. But while this is so, and this new plant is not in its own climate and home, and your old man is at home here, and is fostered and promoted according as it uses and enjoys the things here; yet the circumstances you are placed in are the most favorable and the best adapted for your particular spiritual growth.

For the plant there is really nothing here, everything hinders it (opposes it—NC). Yet the place and trials which form your particular circumstances, however painful, are the most suited to promote growth, because the Father knows the only spot in His plantation where you can or could grow according to His intention, and places you there. I think it is a great thing to be assured that I am not only a peculiar plant but that I am planted in a peculiar spot; and if I do not express the virtues and qualities of the exotic here, then I could do so less in any other circumstance.

Ill health, for instance, is a very rough wind; but this the Gardener sees necessary, in order to remove some of the vapors which would hang about the valley of the old man, and thus retard and obscure the expressions of the exotic. But there is another good from rough winds, even—that the plant, according to its vitality, really increases in strength on the very side on which it is most assailed (via exercise of resistance—NC).

You will see at once that there must be concert with the wind—the trial and pressure of circumstances, all to break down the influence of the old man. The wind is the cannon to make the breach, but then the soldier, sword in hand, enters it and is victor. When any breach is made, then self-denial is necessary to turn to good account that which God has effected by chastening. There are the rough winds and the frost without; and there is the energy of the Spirit within, seeking to claim for Christ the place where the old man had controlled (the “dominion” of the old man was in the ability to cause us to desire sin, but no longer—NC).

Thus, whatever our circumstances may be, dark or bright, they are really the most favorable and the most adapted for our growth and this is an immense comfort. If they be sorrowful circumstances which break down the old man, the field is claimed by the Spirit (Gal 5:17—NC). If bright ones, seductive to the old man, as Egypt to Moses, they are to be surrendered, that the Lord Jesus Christ may be the full joy of the heart.

—JB Stoney

MJS daily devotional excerpt for Sep 22

"Humility is quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or irritated or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have my blessed home in the Lord Jesus, where I can go in and shut the door and be with my Father in secret, and be at peace when all outside is trouble."
-Andrew Murry (1828-1917)

The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS