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Text Sermons : ~Other Speakers S-Z : G.D. Watson : The Secret of Spiritual Power (E)

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In order to have the abiding secret of power, we must consent to seeming failure for Jesus. I do not know how that thought may strike you, but if you will look at the great crisal events in the Bible, and into the lives of people of great faith, you will find over and over again that the sweep of power turned on the pivot of a perfect willingness to fail utterly in the eye of the world. Those who work with God cannot be failures, but there are times when from our standpoint and feeling everything seems to fail utterly, and our quiet acquiescence in such apparent failure for Jesus' sake, while it closes the valve on the creature side, it opens the divine side for the inflow of the energy that moves the universe. It is very easy for even sanctified souls to become attached to their work and to want it to succeed as their work. It is so easy for devoted persons running camp meetings, conventions, faith homes, missions, or any kind of philanthropic or spiritual enterprise, to become greatly attached to the enterprise itself, and to have an overweening desire for success. But a close analysis of the heart will often reveal the fact that the craving for success is because we are putting ourselves into the affair, and the Holy Ghost who searches all things, finds out the terrible secret that after all it is self that wants success. Now, in order that God may get all the glory, He must blister the fair face of seeming success, make us die to ourselves in our work, and then He can accomplish results greater than we dream. Jesus does not want us to get wedded to His work instead of to Him. We are so frail even after we are sanctified, and although our depravity is purged away, all our faculties are so weak, that God must keep our wings clipped or we would fly over the bounds. A great many do jump the track. The man that never feels he has anything to boast of in his work, but always looks at the work as being nothing to his credit, is the one who is always at the point where he is willing to be counted a failure in the eyes of men. Read the record of great faith enterprises, such as under Luther, or Wesley, or George Muller's Orphanage, or Dr. Cullis' Consumptives' Home, o1' Bishop Taylor's work in India and Africa, and see how thousands of times in these men's lives they had to consent to eternal failure in the eyes, not only of the world, but in the eyes of philosophers, churches, ministers and renowned ecclesiastics. Note their solitary struggles in prayer, their solitary mountain-peak convictions, the lofty possibilities they saw that no one else could see. See how they surpassed all the law makers in their law, outstripped college professors in their teaching, eclipsed earthly bankers in their handling of money, how they put to shame the idleness, shiftlessness and unbelief of the majority of nominal Christians around them, and in order to achieve such great results, they had constantly to lie in the dust, to bear criticism, coldness and contempt from those from whom they expected help. And over and over again, in their hearts, had to say "Amen," to perfect failure. Let me give you a Scripture sample or two. Esther was told by Mordecai to do a certain daring thing to save the Jews. She said, "If I do this it may involve my death," but sent back word that she would comply with his terms, hazard her life, "and if I perish, I perish." That heart agreement to perish, to die and be buried in disgrace, was the key that unlocked the prison door, that let a whole nation out into liberty. There was the secret of power. When the great monarch of Babylon rebuked the three Hebrews for not worshipping his image, they responded, "Be it known unto you that we shall not bow down to your image, the God that we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, but if not, we will not bow down to your image." The secret of power lay in that expression "but if not." If we live by faith and walk with God, there will be many times in our lives when similar tests will confront us, and similar furnaces blaze for our destruction, and to go through unscorched, we must carry that great "but if not" in our hearts. The real value of any work we do for God, can often be measured by the amount of difficulties in the way of doing it, or else by the effort Satan makes to destroy it after it is done.

In the book of Revelation, Satan stood to devour the man child as soon as He was born. This is true of every work of God. If you receive a great blessing from the Holy Ghost, Satan will soon try to destroy or pervert it. If there be a glorious camp meeting or convention or revival, Satan will find human tools, oftentimes within the church, to blast or check the gracious work if possible. In such seasons, the true servant of God must consent to the seeming failure of his labors, and at the same time go right on working, and commit the work to the absolute care of God.

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