Now the great question every earnest man asks himself is, How can I be of most use to God and my fellows? I want to suggest three things that have helped me in answering that question. It may be that they will help you, too, in getting your answer to it.
First of all is this: that we let God have the free use of us. Whatever I am, whatever gifts and opportunities I have -- these I will turn over to God, that He may have the fullest and freest use of them. God asks from each of us a consecrated personality. And |consecrated| simply means that I give God the use of myself, and that He makes use of what I have given to Him. That's the double meaning of the word in the Bible.
My personality, that is, what I am in myself, is the chief thing I have in life. It is through this personality, which men recognize as I, that the Spirit of God works in His reaching out for others. My personality is the make-up of all that I am. My presence is that subtle something that combines all that I am. It clings to me wherever I go. Men know it by my name. Out through it goes the power of the man within.
The body, the glance of the eye, the quality and intonation of the voice, the way the body is carried, and the something more than these that unites them into one -- these go to make up the presence, the outer shell of the personality. All the power within makes itself felt through this. A man's mere presence is an immeasurable influence.
There is a subtle, intangible, but very real spirit influence breathing out of every man's presence. It is proportioned entirely to the strength of the man living within. With some it is very attractive. Sometimes it is positively repulsive. It is the expression of the man within. The presence becomes the mould of the spirit within, large or small, noble or mean, coarse or fine, as he makes it. The strength of a man's will or its weakness; the purity of his heart or its lack of purity; the ideals of his life, high or low; the keenness or slowness of his thinking -- all these express themselves in his presence.
We know the difference between a man of strong presence and one whose presence is weak; though very few of us are skilled in reading, except in a very small way, the character it reveals; through our presence each of us is constantly influencing those with whom we come in contact. Now this is the chief thing we have for our winning work. This is the thing that Jesus uses. It is this that the Spirit of God takes possession of, if He may, and that He uses in His outreach to others. We win most and best through what we are.
Now, of course, I do not mean that we are to be thinking of it that way all the time. The thinking that you have a winsome presence would itself rob you of the most winsome part of it. Winsomeness of presence is greatest and sweetest when we are wholly unconscious that there is such a thing about us. As we are absorbed in Jesus, and in our fellows, the winsomeness that is native to us shines out most attractively. It has been covered up and hidden away a good bit by sin. Some men seem to have none. Some have a great deal, in spite of their ignoring of God.
But as He is allowed to play upon us, as we seek to let His Spirit rule our conduct and control our powers, the original God-image comes out. This is a return to natural conditions as planned by God. What has been lost through sin is restored and grown bigger and richer by the Spirit's presence. I can give God the full use of this precious gift of personality.