A note from this writer: Most passages in this blog are from times long past, when the term “man” was an abbreviation for “mankind,” meaning all of humankind, men and women alike. In my early years, this was always the inference, and gender played no role in devotional reading.
The culture of today – the 21st century – has shifted to an extreme sensitivity to expressions of gender, which may impact some readers’ perceptions of quotations from long ago. Nevertheless, I have chosen to reproduce quotations as they were originally written, without editing for today’s shift of interpretation. The deeper meanings for anyone’s inner life of the spirit apply to all. – mjd

It is the man within the visible man that we really care for. It is not the hundred or more avoirdupois pounds of flesh that we love–not the dust wreath–but the SELF that uses this visible form and speaks to us through it.
The creation and perfection of this man within are the highest ends of life so far as we have any revelation of them. This spiritual self can have but one origin–it must be born from above.

It comes from God, who is its home, and its perfection [completion] must go on by a divine plan–according to the law of the spirit of life which was in Christ Jesus. Like anything else, it grows by what it feeds on. …

It is clearly evident that a spiritual self cannot be forced; it must make its own choices.

The law of its being is to go from more to more. Every time it uses the light and appropriates the gift and sees the vision and responds to the love, it expands, and increases its range and scope. Every attainment is thus a prophecy of something more beyond. … its end and perfection is nothing short of likeness to Jesus Christ and the fullness of God. Its very imperfection [incompleteness] is its glory, for it points it ever on to something which lies before. It is never left high and dry as a finished and completed thing with no more capacity for increase. The making of the man within the man is thus a continuous creation …
Body may go to pieces, but this spiritual self continues to be what it has made itself by its choices and its loves. …

The soul that chooses to be a son of God may wait with perfect assurance for the time when Christ shall be seen as He is, and the likeness shall be completed.

 – excerpts from Rufus Jones, “The Man Within the Man,”
Practical Christianity, 1905.

Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us
in allowing us to be called “children of God”
–and that is not just what we are called, but what we are.
This explains why the world will no more recognise us than it recognised Christ.
Here and now, my dear friends, we are God’s children.
We don’t know what we shall become in the future.
We only know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is!
Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, as Christ is pure.

I John 3:1-3
J. B. Phillips, translator
The New Testament in Modern English
(Revised Student Edition, 1972)

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