Learn of Me
We appreciate another article from Robert Agnew of Scotland. In his own country he ministers to the needs of fellowbelievers. By means of his pen, his ministry extends across the Atlantic.
Do not the words “Learn of Me,” (Matt. 11:29) penetrate deeper than the thunders of Sinai? The express commands and prohibitions of the law meet a ready response from some proud hearts. Many of these are prompt to say, “All that the Lord hath spoken will we do.” When He who was meek and lowly in heart, He who made Himself of no reputation, says, “Learn of Me,” a path of patient suffering is discovered for which few are prepared to pursue who have not the mind of Christ.
How to learn of Him as to His ways and His will is revealed in the Word of God. Briefly, it is to learn subjection until “every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The Lord Jesus is our supreme example; He learned obedience by the things which He suffered, and He glorified the Father by the perfect fulfilment of His will. This too should be our objective.
The Lord was in truth the unique Son of God. By Him all things were created. He was the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person; yet when He appeared in the form of a servant, fashioned as a man, He yielded Himself unreservedly to a place of complete dependence upon God and lived by every word that proceeded from God.
It is only as we understand this that we can properly evaluate the Lord’s life on earth. He has summarized His life in a very concise statement, “I can of Myself do nothing; as I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of My Father who hath sent Me” (John 5:30). It is in the light of His perfect life and this statement that we can enter into the meaning of Jehovah’s directive, “Behold My servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth” (Isa. 42:1).
None but Christ could say, “I seek not My own glory” (John 8:50), and “I do always those things that please Him” (the Father) (John 8:29). He lived in unbroken fellowship with the Father. Prophetically it was written of Christ: “The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned (the instructed One) (Isa. 50:4).
In this communion with the Father, He rejoiced continually: “I will bless the Lord, who hath given Me counsel: My reins also instruct Me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before Me: because He is at My right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psa. 16:7-8).
Into what paths of trial He was thus led! “He was a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” How His obedience was tested in Gethsemane! What a scene of extreme distress! What a moment when He assumed the guilt of man and met the righteousness of God! “Abba Father,” He prayed, “All things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me; nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” When delivered into the hands of sinners, He could say, “I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. I hid not My face from shame and spitting.” Truly, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” “Therefore,” says the Apostle, “God hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.”
Here then, we learn the force of the words, “Learn of Me for I am meek and lowly in heart.”
Human examples are easy to imitate, but he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. It is only as we are united to Him and abiding in Him that we can walk even as He walked. To say with sincere humility, “I can of My ownself do nothing,” and to act on the conviction that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves, is a proof that we are being taught of God. A naturally pleasant disposition and many natural gifts of various kinds may carry us far in the esteem of men, may even give the appearance of devotion. But to renounce dependence on all that is of the flesh, and to wait only upon the Lord, is an evidence of conformation into the likeness of Christ. God in His power uses the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty. Let us therefore go on not seeking the praise of men, but rather seeking to do the will of our heavenly Father.
It is by such a life of simple dependence that we can most effectually glorify God. It is from this good objective that our adversary will attempt to divert us, if at all possible. To direct us in this pathway, our gracious Lord exhorts us to be humble and to rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit. He frequently has to disappoint our vanity and to thwart our ambition. At times He has to display to us the effect of spiritual decay, a decay in proportion to the pride of gifts which takes the place of simple child-like subjection to His supreme will.
We need to remind ourselves that His strength is made perfect in our weaknes: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmaties that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
It ought not to be hard to learn this lesson. If the Son of God with all His inherent and infinite power acted in dependence upon His Father, and submitted perfectly in all His service to His Father’s will, what a wonderful example He has set for us.
May we learn more perfectly the wisdom that comes through fellowship with the Lord. Then, and only then, shall we find rest to our souls. We are the only Epistles of Christ which men read, and they judge Him by us. It is possible to walk so as to please God, to walk so that His name will be glorified in us.
As a people taught by His grace, looking for His appearing and constrained by His love, may we indeed be His in zealous works, doing that which is well-pleasing in His sight. As we aspire to so live, we must gird tightly the sword of the Spirit. Only if we are so equipped will we be able to stand in the evil day.