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Theology: Quotes of Oswald Chambers


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“The Riches of the Destitute”

“The Supremacy of Jesus Christ”

Quotes from My Utmost for His Highest







Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) was born July 24, 1874, in Aberdeen, Scotland. Converted in his teen years under the ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, he studied art and archaeology at the University of Edinburgh before answering a call from God to the Christian ministry. He then studied theology at Dunoon College. From 1906-10 he conducted an itinerant Bible-teaching ministry in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.


In 1910 Chambers married Gertrude Hobbs. They had one daughter, Kathleen, who still resides in London (as of 1992).


In 1911 he founded and became principal of the Bible Training College in Clapham, London, where he lectured until the school was closed in 1915 because of World War I. In October 1915 he sailed for Zeitoun, Egypt (near Cairo), where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops as a YMCA chaplain. He died there November 15, 1917, following surgery for a ruptured appendix.


My Utmost for His Highest, his best-known book, has been continuously in print in the United States since 1935 and in this, the last decade of the century, remains in the top ten titles of the religious book bestseller list with millions of copies in print. It has become a Christian classic.




“The Riches of the Destitute”


“...being justified freely by His grace...”

Romans 3:24


The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service - I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.


We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).




“The Supremacy of Jesus Christ”


        He will glorify Me . . .

        —John 16:14


The holiness movements of today have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them. There is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ. All that is required is a pious atmosphere, prayer, and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous. It did not cost the sufferings of God, nor is it stained with “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). It is not marked or sealed by the Holy Spirit as being genuine, and it has no visual sign that causes people to exclaim with awe and wonder, “That is the work of God Almighty!” Yet the New Testament is about the work of God and nothing else.


The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other kind of so-called Christian experience is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration—no being born again into the kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Savior long before He is the pattern. Today He is being portrayed as the figurehead of a religion—a mere example. He is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; He is the gospel of God!


Jesus said, “. . . when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, . . . He will glorify Me . . .” (John 16:13-14). When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did. The Spirit of God does in me internally all that Jesus Christ did for me externally.




Quotes from My Utmost for His Highest


Let other things come and go as they may, let other people criticize as they will, but never allow anything to obscure the life that is hid with Christ in God.  Never be hurried out of the relationship of abiding in Him. (p 23)


The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.  (p 38)


Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance. (p 30)


Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared to say—”Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace”?


Are we prepared to say—”Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace”? (p 39)


The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s ministrations in us? (p 39)


Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God?  Then remain quiet. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message.(p 45)


What hinders me from hearing is that I am taking up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. (p 44)


When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time.  (p 52)


If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. . .One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. (p 53)


Never consider whether you are of use; but ever consider that you are not your own but His. (p 64)


The thing that tells in the long run for God and for men is the steady persevering work in the unseen, and the only way to keep the life uncrushed is to live looking to God. (p 66)


Our Lord’s words come home most when He talks in the most simple way. . .Many today are spending and being spent in work for Jesus Christ, but they do not walk with Him. . .Live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ.  (p 69)


Pentecost did not teach the disciples anything; it made them the incarnation of what they preached—”Ye shall be witnesses of ME.” (p 70)


Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self entirely into union with Himself. (p 73)


It is a life of FAITH, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing Who makes us “go.” (p 79)


When you are rightly related to God, it is a life of freedom and liberty and delight, you ARE God’s will, and all your common-sense decisions are His will for you unless He checks. You decide things in perfect delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will always check; when He checks, stop at once. (p 80)


If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He does not ask you to put it right; He asks you to accept the light, and He will put it right. (p 83)


You will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside. (p 83)


Sometimes there is nothing to obey, the only thing to do is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, to see that nothing interferes with that.  Only occasionally do we have to obey. (p 85)


Many of us are loyal to our notions of Jesus Christ, but how many of us are loyal to Him?. . .Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way. (p 88)


It is not service that matters, but intense spiritual reality, expecting Jesus Christ at every turn. (p 89)


After we have been perfectly related to God in sanctification, our faith has to be worked out in actualities. We shall be scattered, not into work, but into inner desolations and made to know what internal death to God’s blessings means. Are we prepared for this? (p 95)


God is never in a hurry. (p 95)


God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. (p 97)


The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine; most of us see the wine only. (p l05)


Beware of the thing of which you say—”Oh, that does not matter much.” The fact that it does not matter much to you may mean that it matters a very great deal to God. Nothing is a light matter with a child of God. . . Whenever there is doubt, quit immediately, no matter what it is. Nothing is a mere detail.   (p l06)


We have no choice in what we want to do, whatever God’s programme may be we are there, ready. . . A ready person never needs to get ready. (p l09)


The aim of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful, not to win the heathen; he IS useful and he DOES win the heathen, but that is not his aim.  His aim is to do the will of his Lord.  (p 267)


I remain loyal to His Name although every common-sense fact gives the lie to Him, and declares that He has no more power than a morning mist. (p 292)


A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s noble man or woman amid a crowd of ignoble things. Never make this plea—If only I were somewhere else!  (p 299)


We put sensitive loyalty to relatives in place of loyalty to Jesus Christ and Jesus has to take the last place. In a conflict of loyalty, obey Jesus Christ at all costs.  (p 27l)


The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty.  (p 250)


It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him.  (p 243)


Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition.  (p 24l)