My Utmost for His Highest is one of the most beloved of all daily devotional books. Its author, Oswald Chambers (1874 –1917), was an early-twentieth-century Scottish Baptist and Holiness Movement evangelist and teacher. He served as a pastor, a YMCA chaplain, and the principal of the Bible Training College in greater London.
This book compiles Chamber’s preaching to students and soldiers. His widow, Gertrude “Biddy” Hobbs Chambers, self-published the book around 1927. I think it would be fair to say if she had not done so, this amazing man of God would have been forgotten by now, one hundred years after his death.
The title of the book probably comes from his July 7th devotional entitled All Noble Things Are Difficult:
“If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of the Christian life does not make us faint and cave in. It rouses us up to overcome. Do we so appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?”
In reading this devotional book each day in 2020 I have been challenged in my walk with Christ numerous times. His July 12th devotional, The Spiritual Sluggard, really struck me, perhaps because I am “retired,” a term that bothers me a bit. Listen to what Chambers says here:
‘We are all capable of being spiritual sluggards; we do not want to mix with the rough and tumble of life, as it is; our one object is to secure retirement. The note struck in Hebrews 10:24-25 is that of provoking one another and of keeping together – both of which require initiative, the initiative of Christ-realization, not of self-realization. To live a remote, retired, secluded life is the antipodes of spirituality as Jesus taught it.”
Chambers is always challenging spiritually, but at times he can also be challenging to understand, both because of his thoughts and his language. For that reason I would recommend the updated version of this book published by Discovery House Publishers. The modern wording makes it much easier to understand.
Oswald Chambers is one of those believers whom I’d like to meet when I get to heaven. He is someone who walked very closely to the Lord during his relatively short life. I see him as a servant who taught the Word of God not in a dry theological fashion, but in a lively spiritual way. When I meet him, however, I would like to question him just a bit on certain things, such as his view of sanctification and baptism of the Spirit.
I would strongly recommend that you read this Christian classic in the upcoming year if you haven’t done so already. I guarantee that it will be challenging to you in more ways than one!