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Spiritual selfishness


Oswald Chambers suggests that we are being spiritually selfish when we want to always be in a “mountain top” experience with God.   Writing about Mark 9:2-29, he says

The test of the spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have power to rise only, there is something wrong.  We all have had times on the mount when we have seen things from God’s standpoint and we wanted to stay there; but if we are disciples of Jesus Chrsit, He will never allow us to stay there.  Spiritual selfishness makes us want to stay on the mount; we feel so good, as if we could do anything–talk like angels and live like angels, if only we could stay there.  But there must be the power to descend; the mountain is not the place for us to live, we were built for the valleys.  This is one of the hardest things to learn because spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount.” 51

I think this would not make a popular title in todays’ bookstores!  Chambers says that our mountain top or exaltation experiences with God are “always exceptional. . . After every time of exaltation we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they are, where things are neither beautiful nor poetic nor spiritual nor thrilling.”  He goes on to say, “. . . it is in the valley that we live for God. . . It is in the sphere of humiliation that we find our truth worth to God, and that is where our faithfulness has to be manifested.”

Chambers gives an answer to the question why, that I did not expect.  “The reason we have to live in the valley is that the majority of the people live there, and if we are to be of use to God in the world we must be useful from God’s standpoint, not from our own standpoint or the standpoint of other people.” 55  Similar themes echoed from 2 Corinthians?

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