Glorifying Self and Glorifying God by J R Miller

All the passages below are taken from J R Miller, “Intimate Letters on Personal Problems.”

http://www.gracegems.org/Miller/intimate_letters.htm

Dear friend,

It seems to me as I read your letter over carefully the second time, that you are needlessly anxious about the matter concerning which you write. Of course I understand that the Christian must always put Christ first and think of him in all his life. One of Paul's words says, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." That is, if we love Christ truly, we will want to do everything for him, to honor his name, to bless him, to extend the influence of his love among others. Of course, this being true, we should not live for ourselves, to get glory for our own name, to bring honor and reward to ourselves.

Jenny Lind used to say, "I sing to God." Her heart was so full of love for God, that she thought only of him in her singing, not of herself. At the same time, we know that there gathered about her own head wonderful honor, as thousands and thousands of people listened to her and were filled with rapture as they heard her sing.

Or take any eloquent preacher. As he preaches, men and women are drawn to him and wait upon his words with admiration and enthusiasm. Of course, he is honored — but if he is a true man, he lays all the honor down at the feet of Christ. No one who lives successfully, can help receiving honor for himself. One who writes beautiful poems, makes a name for himself, a name which lives in the world and shines wherever it is known. Of course, it is possible for the person to do all this for his own glory, with no thought at all of Christ. This is not the way to live. But it is possible for such a person, winning the acclamations and plaudits of the world, to be as humble as a little child. For example, Rev. Reginald J. Campbell spent a day with me a few weeks ago. He spoke twice in Philadelphia. You know of him. He is under forty years of age — but he has won a wonderful name for himself in London and throughout England. Coming to this country, he has preached in all our large cities during the summer, and every place great throngs have waited upon him, and he has received commendations everywhere. But I never saw a more simple-hearted man than he is. As he sat here in my office and we talked together, he appeared to be utterly unconscious of the fact that he was talked about everywhere, and that his name was praised by thousands and thousands of people. He loves Christ, he lives for Christ. Every word he speaks, is meant to honor Christ by helping others.

This, as I understand it, is the solution of the perplexity which you bring to me. I see no reason why anyone should decline to use his own name, when he writes beautiful things. Indeed, I believe we owe it to our Master to let our name grow to mean as much as possible. There is tremendous influence in a name. If one writes a book or does good in other ways and his name goes out over the world — it grows to mean a great deal to all who love it. If there is no Christ in the man's heart, this is all mere worldliness — but if he loves Christ, that beautiful name, with all its honor, glorifies Christ himself.

Coming back to your own question, therefore, it seems to me you should rejoice in the privilege that Christ gives you, and thank him for the ability he has bestowed upon you, that you may write beautiful things which will honor your Master and carry comfort and cheer and encouragement to the hearts of the people. Do not be afraid that Christ is jealous of the honor that comes to you. Indeed, he rejoices in it and seeks to have the honor grow brighter and brighter, as long as you use it all to make his name more glorious, to spread the influence of his love among people, and to help other lives.

Remember this also, that Christ does not care for mere glory and honor in itself. What he wants is that we may make his name known to people, that blessing may come to them through his teachings. The only true way of showing our love for Christ is by loving others in his name, interpreting his love to them. Your mission, therefore, in the world, is to tell people all you can of the love of Christ, of his goodness, his compassion, his kindness, his patience, his mercy, that they may learn to love him too, and that they may receive from him the comfort and the joy and the peace and the blessing which you have received and which have made your life so beautiful.

 

“How can one come to feel the personal presence of Christ?" by J R Miller

All the passages below are taken from J R Miller, “Intimate Letters on Personal Problems.”

http://www.gracegems.org/Miller/intimate_letters.htm

Replying to your question, "How can one come to feel the personal presence of Christ?" I would say that we need to be careful not to depend too much upon feeling in the matter of our spiritual relations. Peter speaks of Christ as one of whom, not having seen, we love, on whom though now we see him not, yet believing we rejoice. There is a difference between a friend whom we can see, whose touch we can feel, on whose arm we can lean, whose voice we can hear — and one who is invisible to us. Yet Christ is just as near to us as the closest human friend who stands by our side, into whose face we can look, from whose spoken words we receive warmth and inspiration. As to his human body, Christ is in Heaven — but he says in his last promise to his disciples, "I am with you always. "

For example, I do not see Christ while I am writing this letter to you — but I know that he is nearer to me than the closest human friend could be. I know that he is right by me, that he sees me and knows my thoughts and feelings, that he loves me and thinks about me and cheers and inspires and encourages me. So Christ has become to me the most real friend in all the world. I try to think of him continually, and always to love him as I would love him if I saw him. I tell him my difficulties and questions and temptations, my needs, and talk with him about my friends, and those who come to me for help. Thus I try to live all my life with Christ in the closest companionship. "Surely, I am with you always, even to the end of the age!" Matthew 28:20. "He Himself has said: I will never leave you or forsake you!" Hebrews 13:5.

Yet I have never seen him, never heard his voice, never felt his touch. If we believe in the existence of Christ and his presence with us, according to his promise — he will become as real to us as he was to Mary and Martha, sitting at his feet and listening to his words, or to John as he lay upon his bosom at the supper table. Such relations with Christ cannot but establish between him and us a very real and personal friendship. We are sure that he is our friend, and, believing in his love, trusting and following him, living with him — will soon lead us to love him. There is a verse in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews which says about Moses that "he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." Moses never saw God with human eyes — but God was so real to Moses that it was as if he saw him. The faith of Moses made God's presence a constant reality to him.

I am not certain that what I have said will help you directly — but I am sure this is the way to get the blessing you want to get. You must believe what Christ says about his love and care for you, about his presence with you, and his desire to help you. Your faith will thus make him a reality to you. Then you and Christ will become such close and familiar friends, that you will soon learn to walk with him, to live with him.

Let me guard you against trying to have any vision of Christ, or against feeling in this matter. The craving for feeling in spiritual relations, is harmful. Christ is not with us in human form. He said to Mary on that Easter Day, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." The old natural relations were not restored. We need to guard against the same craving, for it never can be realized — but what is realized, the spiritual relation, is far higher and purer and more real.