By Andrew Murray
In the following quotations from Starlight, by G. Sterrenberg, the great truth about the cross is expressed in simple and powerful words. Let the chapters on 'The Fellowship of the Cross' and 'The Holy Spirit and the Cross' especially be read.
Our Head Christ took the lowest place on the cross, and so He has marked out for us His members the lowest place. The brightness of God's glory (Heb. 1.3) became the rejected of men (Isa. 53.3). Since that time the only right we have is to be the last and the lowest. When we claim anything more we have not yet rightly understood the cross.
We seek for a higher life; we shall find it if we sink deeper into the cross fellowship with our Lord. God has given the crucified One the highest place (Rev. 5). Shall we not do the same? We do this when from hour to hour we act as those who are crucified with him (Gal. 2.19, 20). Thus we honor the crucified Lord.
We long for full victory. We find this as we more fully enter into the fellowship of His cross. The Lamb obtained His Almighty only so long as we abide under the shadow of the cross. The cross must be our home. There alone are we sheltered. We first understand our own cross when we have understood his. And we desire to get so close to it that we not only view it but touch it, yes, still more that we take up the cross, and so it becomes as someone has said, an inner cross. Then the cross asserts itself in us, and we experience His power which especially manifests itself in this, that we do not faint under it but carry it with joy.
What would Jesus be without His cross? His pierced feet have bruised the head of the enemy, and His pierced hands have despoiled him utterly (Matt. 12.29). What are we without the cross? Do not let the cross go, but hold it fast. Do we think that we can go by another road than that He trod? Many can make no progress because they will not take up the cross.
A single word to the reader concerning the disposition of mind to which this book appeals! It is not enough that one should understand and appropriate the thought of the writer, and then rejoice because of the new insight he has obtained and the pleasure which knowledge has brought. There is something else which is of great importance. 1 must surrender myself to the truth so that I shall be ready, with an undivided will, immediately to perform all that 1 shall learn to be God's will.
In a book such as this, dealing with the life of prayer and hidden fellowship with God, it is indispensable that we should be prepared to receive and obey all that we see to be according to the word and will of God. Where this disposition is lacking, knowledge only serves to make the heart less capable of receiving fuller life. Satan endeavours to become master of the Christian's inner chamber because he knows that if there has been unfaithfulness in prayer the testimony will bring but little loss to his kingdom. Spiritual power to lead the unsaved to the Lord, or to build up the children of God, will not be experienced under it. Persevering prayer, through which alone this power comes, has been lacking.
The great living question has been before many: shall we really set ourselves to win back again the weapon of believing prayer which Satan has, in a measure, taken away from us? Let us set before ourselves the serious importance of this conflict. As far as each minister is concerned, everything depends on whether or not he is a man of prayer-one who in the inner chamber must be clothed each day with power from on high. We, in common with the church throughout the whole world, have to complain that prayer has not the place in our service of God that it ought to have, according to the will and promise of God and according to the need of minister and congregation and church.
The public consecration which many a believer has been led to make of himself at conferences is not an easy thing. And even when the step is taken, old custom, and the power of the flesh, will tend to bring it to naught. The power of faith is not yet vigorous. It will cost strife and sacrifice to conquer the devil in the name of Christ. Our churches are the battlefield where Satan will bring forth all his power to prevent us from becoming men of prayer, powerful in the Lord to obtain the victory in heaven and on earth. How much depends on this for ourselves, for our congregations, and for the kingdom!
Do not be surprised if I say that it is with fear and trembling, and not without much prayer, that I have written what 1 trust will help to encourage the brethren in the conflict. It is with a feeling of deep unworthiness that 1 venture to offer myself as a guide to the inner chamber, which is the way to holiness and to fellowship with God.
Do not wonder that I have asked the Lord that he would give this book a place in some inner chambers, and that he may assist the reader, so that, as he sees what God's will is, he may immediately give himself up to the doing of it. In war, everything depends on each soldier being obedient to the word of command, even though it costs him his life. In our strife with Satan we shall not conquer unless each one of us holds himself ready even in the reading of this simple book, to say from the heart: 'What God says I will do; and if I see that anything is according to his will, I will immediately receive it and act upon it.'
Do not wonder that I have written this testimony to remind the brethren that everything depends on the spirit of surrender to immediate obedience, in which we read all that is said according to the word of God. God grant that, in his great grace, this book may prove a bond of fellowship by which we may think of and help one another, and strengthen each other for the conflict in prayer by which the enemy may be overcome and the life of God may be gloriously revealed!