Chapter X

CHAPTER X.

SDfje J&an after (Soto's ohm Heart.

"I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart, who shall do all My will."—Acts xiii. 22; 1 Sam. xiii. 14.

OF the two expressions God uses here of David, we often hear the former: "a man after Mine own heart." The use of the latter: "who shall do all My will," is much less frequent. And yet it is no less important than the other. A man after Mine own heart: that speaks of the deep unseen mystery of the pleasure a man can give to God in heaven. WJio shall do all My will: that deals with the life down here on earth which can be seen and judged by men. Let us seek and get full hold of the truth that it is the man who does all God's will who is the mai after His own heart. Such men God seeks: when He finds them He rejoices over them with great joy: they are the very men He needs, men He can trust and use. His heart, with its hidden Divine perfections, reveals itself in His will: he that seeks and loves and does all His will is a man altogether after His own heart: the man of absolute surrender to God's will.

Such was David in striking contrast with Saul, the type of the half-hearted and self-pleasing Christian. We know what remarkable experiences Saul had at the outset of his life. The Spirit of God came upon him, and another heart was given him, and he prophesied. There was not lacking in him a sense of humility; when he was to be presented to the people, he hid himself. And speedily God began to work through him salvation in Israel. But it was not long before self-will began to show itself. When God sent him with the command to destroy Amalek utterly, he did God's work deceitfully, and, under pretence of bringing sacrifices to offer to God, did his own will in the matter of Agag and the best of the spoil. His terrible failure was used of God, by the contrast, to bring out more strikingly the great truth, that the man whom God can use to rule His people and establish His kingdom, that the man after His own heart, who pleases Him, is he of whom He can say: he shall do all My will.

After what we have already learnt of God's will, with the place it has in the Christian life, and in preparation for a spiritual apprehension of the further teaching of God's Word, it may be well to use these words for the simplest possible instruction to all who are asking the question: How can I become such a one? What must I do that God can say of me: a man after Mine own heart, who shall do all My will?

First of all, remember, you cannot attain to this by anything you can do. No resolution, no effort, no help you seek in prayer to strengthen your weakness, will effect what you desire. And why not? Because you have in you a nature wholly ruled by self-will, and wholly opposed to God's will. Nothing can delight in God's will and actually do it, but a new and Divine nature, born and daily renewed in you by a Divine power from above. "The carnal mind is enmity against God," and averse from His will. As entire as has been the perversion of the old nature from God and His will, must be the deliverance of the new nature from self and its will. Here is our first lesson. No desire, however honest, no purpose, however fixed, no surrender, however absolute, can make a man after God's own heart, who shall do all His will. Such a man must be born from above, and must do all he does in the power of that new Divine life. A regenerate man may indeed in some things do God's will, as the fruit of the first half-unconscious workings of the Holy Spirit within him. But this is only preparatory to what God really aims at—that His child of his own free will, shall intelligently and heartily choose to do all His will. That little word all is the secret of true consecration, of a life "worthy of the Lord unto all well-pleasing," of being a man after God's own heart.

We all know what a great difference there is between a feeble child, or a sickly man, and one in full health. And so it is not enough that you just have a beginning or small measure of spiritual life; that will not enable you to do all God's will. The question is whether you are living only, and doing all, under the povxr of the Holy Spirit, as the strength of the new life. It is only the Spirit of God Himself that can do the will of God. And the great reason why God's children do not claim, do not yield themselves by the Spirit of God to work all His will in them, is that they do not know how foolish, how helpless it is, to expect even the regenerate man to do God's will, without the direct and unceasing operation of God's Spirit. And then again, because they do not know the subtle and altogether unconquerable power of our corrupt nature, except as God Himself through His Son and Spirit lives and works in the inmost recesses of our being, and inspires all its powers. If you learn the first lesson well — the secret aversion of your nature to God's will, and your complete inability to overcome or to change it, you are prepared to go on to the second.

It is this. Believe that you have a new and Divine nature, expressly fitted and prepared to do all God's will, on the one condition, that you hold it in close and continual dependence upon the Holy Spirit, through whom God in Christ works in you. Jesus Christ could do nothing of Himself, though He was the Son, without the Father working in Him. Does it displease you to be as absolutely dependent upon God as He was? As part of your faith in Jesus Christ, believe that God works in you as in Him. Believe this, however dark and feeble you feel, just as you believe in the darkness of midnight that the sun is shining on the other half of the world, and will in the morning rise upon you. It is this faith, with the humble, patient, dependent surrender to God which it works, that will bring you to an entirely new position and power in the doing God's will.

In this faith, here is our third lesson, humbly but confidently give yourself up to God to do all His will. Give yourself to Him, as a loving Father, so that you do not take His commands as a mere law, but as a loving will—the will of the Father, made known in the loving fellowship by Himself to yourself. Look at God's will as one great whole— the revelation of His loving purpose with man and with you. Set yourself resolutely, now, in the faith of the Holy Spirit's working in you, to count it your one business every day to do all God's will. Then again, bow yourself in the deepest humility and impotence to wait on God to work in you. The humility that bows in deep grief at the enmity of the evil nature against God's will, in confession of the impotence of the regenerate nature of itself to do that will, in the dependence of a childlike waiting on God for Him to work His will in you, will be a new entrance into the kingdom of heaven. The Christian life will become something quite new to you under the power of these great truths: your utter and ever-abiding impotence to do God's will, even as a regenerate man, without the unceasing work of the Holy Spirit: your Divine and complete sufficiency in Christ for all that the Father asks of you when He calls you to be a man after His own heart, who shall do all His will.