16 – Substance not Shadow

How willingly would I be freed from the bondage of lusts and of empty pleasure, but I find in myself no strength or capability for it. This cannot be till the Lord Himself reveals Himself in us, raises up His dwelling-place in us, and inhabits it, filling it with His life, so that we are clothed in him, and He Himself thus fulfills in us all the righteousness of the Law. And in the place of them we shall hear the sweet and tender voice of grace and of the Gospel speaking within us. We shall be led out of the horror of the great darkness of the law by Christ Himself, and shall be as little children at the breast, drawing in the fullness of His grace and love in glad and gentle stillness, and He Himself will be the refreshment and the rest of our souls. It seems to me that the great Captain of our salvation drives us at times into a corner, in order that we may utterly despair of our own miserable righteousness. But the Lord knows the right moment to deliver us. Even waiting is unconscious advance, and to lose heart is a proof of self-confidence.

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We must depart from ourselves in order to enter into Him.  This exit and entrance is the basis and most essential act of godliness, because by it, we restore to God what is His – I mean ourselves, thoroughly, wholly, and irrevocably.  If this departure and this entrance be neglected, our godliness is little worth, and is only a shadow without the substance.

-Gerhard Tersteegen

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