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IN GOOD COMPANY

No less a spiritual giant than Oswald Chambers, author of the


classic book My Utmost for His Highest, commented on his own
spiritual journey, “I did not know anyone who had what I wanted. In
fact, I didn’t know what I wanted. But I knew that if what I had was all
there was to Christianity, the thing was a fraud or I had not gotten
hold of the right end of the stick.”
Chambers was more straightforward than most people. But
today any honest person would have to admit that much of the shallow
teaching that passes for faith in our culture is a mile wide and an inch
deep. Yet the Bible speaks in words of life transformation. In fact,
when the Apostle Paul describes this change in his book to the church
in Rome, he uses the same word we use today to describe the
metamorphosis of a butterfly. In short, the change that faith makes in
us is to create a completely different person than we were before.
Several years ago A.W. Tozer noted the superficiality of much
that is taught in the name of God when he noted, “There is a false
gospel which asserts, ‘Come with your basket to receive the religious
equivalent of everything the world offers and enjoy it to the limit.
Those who have not accepted Christ must be content with this world,
but the Christian gets this one with the one to come thrown in as a
bonus.’ How the Lord must despise all of this.” How indeed.
Oswald Chambers spent four intense years seeking God. Often
today people want to find him, give him their requests, quickly walk
away without changing a thing, and call it a spiritual experience all in
the course of an hour.
On the other hand, if you want more than that, if you want total
transformation, you are in good company. You are in fact well on your
way to laying hold of what Francis Shaffer called “total truth.”
Total truth is living in the light of an honest relationship with God
that begins when we follow the command, “Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and
with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). This is no religious offering; it is
rather a complete immersion in following after his footsteps that ends
in a total metamorphosis of our life and character.
So what is the first step? It is simple honesty that declares you
will no longer settle for shadows but only for the substance. It comes
with truly believing that, “You will seek me and find me when you seek
me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). When that happens, of one
thing we can be sure; we will be transformed, others will know it, and
we will be certain that we have gotten hold of the right end of the
stick.
Tobin Crenshaw, Pastor
Hartville Church of the Brethren