He Takes Away His Gifts To Give Himself

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 100

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

–2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (ESV)

We have loved him, to a degree, because of his gifts. Once we can no longer perceive his gifts, we come, at last, to love him for himself alone. When it appears to the senses that his gifts are being taken away, he is really preparing us for the most precious and comprehensive of all gifts—containing, as it does, all other gifts.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

The ways that God makes his presence known to you are precious gifts to your soul. These gifts are experiences of him, but they are not him. Therefore, they can grow old even as he remains ever new. In order to truly abandon yourself to him, you must learn to distinguish between him and his gifts. One way this happens is through the trial of your senses, when your familiar and comfortable ways of connecting to God seem to have passed away.

If you understand their value, you will welcome such trials. They will raise healthy questions: How much of your faith has been based on your senses? Have you been walking by faith or by faith and feelings? Have you loved God for his gifts or for himself alone?

On the path of abandonment, there is no way to avoid such trials and the questions they raise. Neither should you want to avoid them. They prepare you for the one gift that you truly seek, which is God himself. Abandonment means never being satisfied with less than this, but always satisfied with this.

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.