Christ of the Mount by E. Stanley Jones is a keeper! I typically mark great quotes or make notes in my book, however this book has so many treasures that I am finding myself underlining and making notes for entire pages. It is a book that I want to revisit every year.
What stood out to you from this week’s readings?
This week, we studied Chapters 3 and 4. The entire study was incredible this week, but I think that the principle of renunciation is simply pivotal. I was saved when I was 8 years old. My understanding of salvation was giving my life to Jesus, however there is something in the way that Jones describes this passage of Scripture from “The Sermon on the Mount” that gives me flashes from pivotal moments of my life where I have renounced my life, my stuff, my relationships, and my stuff to find the beautiful abundant life that God alone gives us. On the other hand, the times that I struggled with situations or relationships or even myself all have the common denominator of self involved. Jones describes the reason why in such a perfect way:
What you are in yourselves determines life for you. You are your own heaven and you are your own hell. He knew that “hell often breaks out within man by spontaneous combustion,” and that heaven is a state of mind before it can be a place. He came therefore, not to get men into heaven but to get heaven into men; not to get men out of hell but to get hell out of men” (Jones, 52).
For many in the church, the gospel is tainted with the wrong end-product. I have shared for many years that salvation is not a “fire-insurance policy.” Rather, salvation is a state of being. This passage says it so much better. It is renouncing everything for what is the greatest. It is renouncing every relationship for true relationships and intimacy with Christ and others (p. 68). It is renouncing every desire…every plan…every “right”…my EVERYTHING.
Jones brings out that the beatitudes bring together virtues that taken individually are destructive and exhausting. However, Jesus weaves them together into a fullness that brings abundant life. Jones says it this way,
“As hydrogen and oxygen, two diverse elements, coming together produce an entirely new product, water, so the spirit of renunciation and the spirit of service coming together in a man make a new being, the most formidable being on earth—the terrible meek. They are terrible in that they want nothing, and hence cannot be tempted or bought, and in that they are willing to go any lengths for others because they feel so deeply” (p. 68).
I want this. I want to be formidable. This is as Jones called it, “the supreme strength” (p. 68). This is the strength that comes from what Jones refers to as “God’s invasion of us” (p. 71).
2. What difference does this make to your life?
For me, I think this fires me up and inspires me to press in even closer and renounce even more. I want more than anything to be a vessel that God can use. Something leapt in my heart reading the words Jones used to describe us as we become new—“the most formidable being on earth.”
I want that.
I have heard the saying and agreed that I want to be a woman that makes the enemy tremble when I wake up each day. This lesson shows me the secret to living that out each and every day. It requires the mixture of the spirit of renunciation and the spirit of service that combine “to make a new being” that is formidable. This calls me to an even deeper commitment and an even more passionate pursuit of the Lord. As a result of this reading, I am grasping on to this beautiful Christian perfection. It is the life I want to live all my days.
Jones, E. S. (1931). The Christ of the Mount: A Working Philosophy of Life. New York, Cincinnati: The Abingdon Press
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