DEVOTION: The Maimed Life
June 29, 2001

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Dear WPA and Others:

I woke this morning and the Lord spoke, sending me to look at Oswald Chambers offering for the day. I knew that it was time to "surface the submarine".

I've been running silent, and yes, running deep. I've been spending time with my Lord, and in His word, but not saying much about it. I've been praising, contributing and worshipping in my church. In this assembly, I've been reading everything that has been written. Many have gotten quiet too. A couple: Laura Kula and Colleen Clark, have departed. They know that they have done so against my wishes and advice.

I don't agree with departing. The Lord says: "do not forsake the gathering together with the brethren." That includes this ekklesia. It may not be a replacement for the local church, but it certainly is an essential augmentation to it and fills in many gaps in fellowship. When we enter a period of running silent, we must remember to run deep at the same time: running deep in the river of God. So many times, the enemy tries to turn this time into a separation from fellowship and an excuse to "flesh out". That is not what our Lord wants.

Today, through Chambers, the Lord was speaking to me about the maimed life. Do you recall, when you first loved the Lord, how you forsook many things that looked perfectly alright to those around you. Look at this:

"When God alters a man by regeneration, the characteristic of the life to begin with is that it is maimed. There are a hundred and one things you dare not do, things that to you and in the eyes of the world that knows you are as your right hand and your eye, and the unspiritual person says--Whatever is wrong in that? How absurd you are!"

That got me to thinking! There have been many things that, like a right hand, I have cut off. Some were cut off for a season, and some forever. People always thought me strange for doing it. And yet, Chambers says "See that you do not use your limitations to criticize someone else."

I remember, for example, the season I walked through where I listened only to Christian music. It seemed so odd to me when I heard a couple of Christian ladies discussing how much they enjoyed going to a Phil Collins concert. I had not yet discovered this aspect of maiming for a season. I thought, at that time, that God would deal with everyone in the same way as He was dealing with me, but it simply is not so. What is alright and blessed for me to do may not be for you...

This devotion led me to take up the beatitudes, from where this "cut of your right hand" scripture is extracted. I first thought about the word "beatitude". The dictionary defines it as supreme blessedness, but somehow, when I looked at it, I took it more pragmatically. It struck me that we are to "be at" these things...these beatitudes. I read them this morning, and starting wincing as I slowly came through each verse, realizing in how many of them I still regularly trespass. Lord forgive me!

It occurs to me that it is primarily these teachings, first encountered by the new believer in the early part of Matthew, that generate a desire to clean up one's life. We want to cut off the right hand...put out the eye...put away any thing that offends. The Lord compares this to saltiness. We are to retain our savour, lest we become good for nothing.

I'll close with this. It is good to live an examined life. How many things, once cut off, have crept back in? How many of those creeping things should be cut off permanently? Jesus closed these teachings by exhorting those who had heard these teachings to become doers of them. These teachings were not meant as philosophical musings, but as practical instructions. He who does these things builds on a solid foundation...he who hears alone and refuses to work builds on sand.

Consider the false prophet and false minister of Matthew 7. He prophesies and casts out devils, but his Lord is unfamiliar with him. We would be wise to take heed, and reexamine our lives to assure that our savor remains, and that we still walk with a limp.

Stephen L. Bening
a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ

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