In his book, “My Utmost for His Highest”, Oswald Chambers declares that the supreme goal of his life was to be absolutely abandoned to Jesus. He writes, “I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.” That level of commitment, he says, is a matter of the will, requiring the surrender of one’s will to Jesus “absolutely and irrevocably.” Only then is one in a position to offer the Lord his best, his utmost and be rewarded with “His highest,” His glory.
This is what Paul meant, Chambers said, when he wrote in Philippians (1:20) “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Oswald explains, “It’s as if Paul were saying, ‘My determined purpose is to be my utmost for His highest — my best for His glory.’”
If there was ever a man for whom Jesus was everything, it was Oswald Chambers. His depth of surrender to Jesus challenges me to the core of my being. Two weeks after the death of my wife, Chambers inspired me to write and pray this prayer: “Jesus, tonight I surrender my will to you absolutely and irrevocably. Give me the grace to stay surrendered. Please overcome my sorrow with your joy. Amen.” Three years later I am still praying that prayer. Chambers insists that sorrow and suffering are universal, and since God allows suffering, it is in “the fires of sorrow” that we can find the grace to remain what God created us to be and to allow God to make us “nourishment for other people.”
Chambers helps us understand how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. There must be a yielding, a total surrender, of our lives to Jesus so that when we receive the Holy Spirit, “There I now only One who directs the course of your life, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The Holy Spirit gives us the power to obey Jesus as we are being sanctified to become more and more like Jesus.
Intimacy with Jesus is the source of our strength to serve Him. So, Chambers says, “The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.”
Chambers spins off the words of Paul, “You are not your own,” (1 Corinthians 6:19), to insist that the Holy Spirit inspires the authentic Christian to say, “I am not my own.” The genuine Christian gives up himself to another Person, and that Person is Jesus. The nature of the Christian life is much more than joining a church and adhering to a set of beliefs; it is deciding to become someone over whom Jesus can write the word “mine.” Someone who makes such a surrender can say, “I am His, and He is accomplishing His purposes through me.”
Why have I read My Utmost for His Highest for 60 years? I think it’s because Chambers continues to call me to a deeper level of commitment to Jesus. He concludes one of his devotionals with this challenge: “Be entirely His!” I have underlined and highlighted those three words. I have wrestled many times with the burning question, “Am I entirely His?” I am reluctant to share my answer. Perhaps it is best that any of us share our response only with Jesus, and then pray, “Lord Jesus, give me the grace to live so that others will choose to belong entirely to you and discover the joy of giving their best for your glory.”
Suppose Jesus were to ask you, “Can I write Mine over you?” How would you answer Him? Your response to Jesus will tell you a lot about the level of your commitment to the only One who can truly guide your life in the way it should go.