"Heavenly springs"; or, Ever New

An Extract

1915 197 "Streams in the desert," "Fountains and depths" — this is God's provision for the believer day by day. What does it mean? Ah! who can tell the fulness of it? But it does mean that in each step of the way during the coming year, we may be energised by fresh vigour, and live in an atmosphere of new unfoldings of love and light and joy. It does mean that, having started on the heavenly road, we are not left to our own resources for one single moment. We are not told to start in newness of life, but to "walk in newness of life."

This is God's way, even with His gifts in nature. The air we breathe, the light, the sunshine; everything we receive directly from God is moment by moment. We never think of walking in the light we had ten minutes ago, or breathing the air we breathed then, nor do we expect to make use of the strength we had yesterday, for He would have us momentarily dependent on Him.

How different is man's way! In all that is connected with this earth and human manufactures, the law of supply is just the opposite. We get new things, such as clothes and furniture, and have to make them last. With much care and labour, and brushing and cleaning, we may, for a time, keep things looking pretty new; and much of the strain in many lives consists in doing this, in "keeping up appearances." But fade and wear out and get shabby they will, spite of all efforts to the contrary it is only a matter of time.

But to bring this strain into heavenly things — to try to eke out what we have got, instead of continually going to the Lord for a fresh supply, is a mistake indeed, and the result must be failure and disappointment. Daily renewing is what God delights to bestow — "the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16). Grace and strength every morning. Fresh oil to make the face to shine, and bread to strengthen man's heart; fresh loving words for the longing affections; fresh energy for the flagging life; fresh strength and courage for the hands which hang down and the feeble knees; fresh sunshine in the gloom; fresh grace and mercy and goodness — and this for every step of the way in the wilderness journey.
"Heavenly springs shall there restore thee,
Fresh from God's exhaustless tides."

Instead of believing this, what efforts we make to keep up the first love, the first sense of joy in sins forgiven, the early zeal. Some have urged a definite act of consecration, and then to keep it up by constantly reminding ourselves of it. But what a poor thing it would be if a wife needed constantly to remind herself of her marriage vow, solemn as the act was. Love grows by communion and fellowship and confidence, and yielding then becomes easy and natural and pleasant. Loyalty is good, as far as it goes; but better far is the love which could not be disloyal — this is the love which the Holy Spirit desires continually to shed abroad in our hearts; a love which responds to the "mighty and tender love of Christ, and which will deepen and strengthen, as we increasingly know Him.

God's provision for us is a living Christ in whom "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead (Col. 3. 9), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit enable us to draw down that fulness to meet every possible need. The Holy Spirit is the channel of communication, and if He is ungrieved He will do His work and pour into our souls — not the first love, but — fresh love, and joy and peace and vigour and patience and long-suffering, or whatever else we need. But it is moment by moment, and the deeper the need the fuller the supply.

As the yearnings deepen, the supply flows more freely. As the Holy Spirit shows us more of the beauties of Christ, we long after more communion with Him and more likeness to Him, and, in answer to these desires, His risen life flows in to satisfy the longings of our hungering and thirsting souls. As the Holy Spirit shows us His loveliness, we cannot fail to love Him more; as He reveals to us His tenderness and truth and wisdom, we must increasingly trust Him; and as we ponder over His word, light will shine in, and we shall learn how to walk and not stumble.

There is no strain in this, no keeping up of appearances. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect," but "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before," let us press towards the mark. Let us not try to look new, or even to feel new, but let us be renewed in the spirit of our minds" (Eph. 4:23).

Oh, that young believers would learn to use God's renewings. There are, alas! so many old ones whose love and devotedness have grown cold and whose life is stunted, that young ones begin to think it is a necessity to get thus impoverished and spiritually decrepit. Oh! it is not so. Only start with God, and go on with God. "As ye have, therefore, received CHRIST JESUS THE LORD, so walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6). Spread out your roots by the ever-flowing river, and your leaf shall be green, and each fruit will grow in its season. Get anointed with fresh oil, and your lives will be burning and shining for Him. Get your souls satisfied with His good things, and your youth will be renewed as the eagle's. Wait on the Lord and He will renew your strength, and you will go from strength to strength, from victory unto victory. You shall receive abundance of grace, and your path will be as the shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day.

What a bright prospect for the coming year!
"Though thy way be long and dreary,
Eagle strength He'll still renew;
Garments fresh and foot unweary,
Tell how God hath brought thee through."

And, oh! that any who, through carelessness or indulged sin, have lost their first love would cease to groan after past experience, saying, "Oh, that I were as in months past," or "Where is the blessedness I knew," etc. It is just where you left it, for it is IN CHRIST, and in Him alone, and you have wandered from Him. Return, return, with weeping and honest confession; let there be a putting away of all that hinders. "Take with you words, and turn to the Lord, and say unto Him, Take away all iniquity," etc., and He will say to you, "I will heal your backslidings, I will love you freely"; and then look at the blessed after results (Hosea 14), growth, beauty and fruitfulness. "From Me is thy fruit found." "Our sufficiency is of God."

But stop, dear reader, this blessed pathway is only for the child of God, and we become children of God only "by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26).  If you are not born again, you are yet in your sins. "He that believeth not, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:26). Jesus is God's provision to meet your need.

He bore the penalty of sin that you might have the free offer of life and pardon and peace. Ah, turn to Him. Bring Him your sins and receive Him as your Saviour. Then it will be indeed a start on the heavenly road, and a new year of joy and gladness such as you have never known. E.T.P.