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Do you not sometimes moan over your want of power? You stand face to face with devil-tormented people, but you cannot cast the devil out. You feel that you aught to confess Christ in the workshop, in the business place, to the fellow passenger, and in the home, but your lips refuse to utter the message of the heart.
Yes, and worse than all, you are constantly being overcome by besetting sins which carry you whither you would not. There is lamentable lack of power amongst us. Not many can roll back the tide of battle from the gates, nor wield the weapons which were childs play to the saints of olden times.
It is not a question as to our abilities or qualifications, but of the power behind us. If that is nothing more than human, it is not surprising that the results are miserably poor. But if we link ourselves to the Eternal Power of God, nothing will be impossible to us. All things are possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:23). The great matter is to see that the connecting band of Faith is in good use. Apart from the vine the branch can do nothing.
But where can I find the power of God?
Jesus Christ is the reservoir in which the Power of God is stored. It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell (Col. 1:9). All power is His. He would not receive it from the devil on the mountain of temptation, but He laid claim to it on the mountain of Ascension. Listen to His majestic words, All power is given Me in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).
In that grand moment He united in Himself the power which He had as the Son of Man with the power He had with the Father before the world was. And now all power resides in Him for evermore, not for Himself only, but for us.
How May I Get This Power?
By faith. Each time you are face to face with some difficulty or temptation or service, lift up your heart to the living Saviour, draw upon Him, let Him feel that you are depending on Him for the word to say, and the strength to say it. And immediately there will be a welling up of power within your heart, as lakes are filled from hidden springs.
But my faith is so weak, I forget to look in my hour of need and when I do look it does not seem to give me much help.
Weak faith generally shows that there is something wrong in the inner life. Examine yourselves to see the cause. Are you yielding to temptation? Every temptation overcome is an increase of spiritual power, but every temptation yielded to cuts the sinews of your strength and shears off the seven locks of your might.
Have you fully yielded yourself to God? Often failure points to lack of consecration. Is not self too prominent in you? Before conversion you lived from the center of an irreligious self. Are you perfectly sure that you are not now living from the center of a religious self?
Show me the workings of this religious self, the symptom and source of weakness, that I may know and hate this self.
Think for a moment! In making plans for doing Gods work, do you not often rush into an enterprise without once considering whose spirit it was that prompted you? Do you not continually ask God to help you in all your little schemes, without first asking if He approved of them, or seeking to know what He had on hand and if you might help Him? And when all is done, is there not a spirit of self-congratulation which, though it array itself in the garb of humility, is more distasteful to Him who resists the proud?
How may I be different? I am prepared to forgo anything if only I may win this blessed secret of blessing and saving others.
Then yield to Jesus your whole self. You are His by the purchase of His blood, now be His by your own glad choice. Bind yourself as a sacrifice to the horns of the altar. Present your body, soul and spirit. Hand yourself over to be His. Ask Him to come and take you. Tell Him that from this glad hour you wish to be made willing to have His way, His will, His law in all. Go through life saying a thousand times each day, I am His!
But if I try to give myself thus wholly to Him, how shall I know that He takes me?
At the first you can only know it by faith. He pledges His word to take that which is given Him. If you give yourself, or try to give yourself, or will to give yourself, He instantly takes you to be His. And from that moment you are His in the bonds of an ownership which is the daybreak of Love and Power and Blessing.
At first there may be no gracious response or emotion but as the days pass on and you come to taste more and more the sweetness of belonging, never more to yourself but only to Him, there will come into your heart the fulness of joy as well as the fulness of power. You may not be conscious of having much power, or any, before you begin to work, but when you have begun you will be aware that there is going forth from you a virtue which will make the commonest words powerful as that garment hem which brought healing to the trembling woman.
But how shall I remain in this blessed state?
Jesus will see to that. Trust Him to keep you trusting. At first it may be an effort to keep yourself in the love of God, but it will become easier until at last it is a second nature. Then you will think more of what He says to you than of what you say to Him. Then you will be always on the alert to catch the least whisper of His voice, the slightest token of His will. Then you will bring every plan and purpose into the Kings weigh-house before putting them in action or even submitting them to your dearest friend.
Then you will always feel that you are a member of His body, depending for the least direction and for all needed strength on Him, the Head. Then there will be ever on your lips the words, What next, dear Lord, what next? and you will read His will in circumstances which to others might seem trivial and devoid of meaning. You will be always on the alert to find out for each day what good works have been prepared by Him for you to walk in. All that happens to you shall be as couriers bringing the secret letters of His love signed by His hand and telling you what to do.
Nothing shall seem to come amiss or by chance. In all things you shall have definite fellowship with Him until you talk over with Him all your life. You shall abide in Him and He in you and out of that abiding union will come abiding power because His power shall reside in you in all its glory, just as the flashing volume of the cataract dwells constantly in the rocky basin into which it falls and from which it rushes forth toward drought and famine from the fields and homes of men.
It is a fair vision, and I would that my poor life might touch even its outermost rim of beauty, but I fear it is not for me.
Aye but it is, if only you are content to open the door to Him. He stands at the door and knocks. If any will open the door He will come in. Are you willing to let Him in? Are you willing for Him to do what He likes with you and yours? Are you willing to be an asss jawbone in the hands of this Samson, a cipher behind this mighty numeral? If so, He will begin to fulfill in you the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power and you may write on the lintel of your life, This house has passed into other hands and will be opened under entirely new management.
You cannot help being full of power if the Almighty Saviour comes to live in you. If you want overcoming power, get the overcomer to come and fill you, and the thing is done. Do not talk about it but about Him. It is not an influence, it is Himself.
This is my will, most merciful Lord, and from this moment grant that I may always desire and will that which is to Thee most acceptable and most dear. Let Thy will be mine, and let my will ever follow Thine and agree perfectly with it, as the steel to the magnet, or the hand to the head.
But there is something in addition which you must mark and remember. The reading of the Bible is as necessary as the fueling of an engine with fuel, or the imparting of strength to an invalid by food. And this reading must be steeped in the spirit of prayer. You must never let your work for Christ so engross you as to rob you of those quiet hours when He needs you to be alone with Him that He may declare to you His Fathers name and reveal Himself and charge you with the spiritual forces stored up in Him.
It will be well to keep yourself free from attractive avenues of service to be fresh for those still hours. They are more dear to Him and more needful for you than all your service. In earing time and harvest thou shalt rest (Ex. 34:21). One hour spent in work after prolonged fellowship with Christ, will pay better than twelve hours spent in unbroken toils. Christ cares less for the amount of work done than for its quality. He is more anxious about the worker than the work.
Help me to remember this, Thou Lord of the harvest, and often may I leave even the whitening fields that in Thee I may find rest and strength. And if I seem to tarry, I pray Thee, send some loving reminder to call me to Thy side, as Thou didst to Mary by the hand of her sister Martha.
One More Blessed Secret
There is one blessed secret more. When the Apostles were eager to win the world, He kept them waiting for ten long days, not that He was indifferent to the claims of a perishing race, nor to dampen their ardor, but because they had not received that enduement of Power which is the prerogative of the Holy Ghost to impart. Perhaps you lack this. You have received Him as Comforter, Teacher, Sanctifier, but not yet as Power for service.
But He will be this to you, if you will. Be filled with the Spirit is a positive command. All you have to do is to make room for Him and this sacred wind will come in through every chink and keyhole and aperture, and you will unconsciously become filled with spiritual might; strengthened with all might by His Spirit in your inner man (Eph. 3:16).
And when the Power of the Highest overshadows our meek and waiting souls, who shall estimate the results that shall accrue to His glory? This is the dying need of the Church. This is the one condition of her success. But it can only be hers by prayer and fasting. If only she would never rest till she obtain it, watching daily at His gates, waiting at the posts of His doors, seeking it as silver and searching for it as a hid treasure, then she would do exploits as of old and look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners (Song of Songs 6:10).
If you win this power, beware that you do not lose it. If a man sits on a chair, the feet of which stand on glass castors, you may pour a continual stream of electricity into him and it will remain in him, not a spark will be lost, every part of his body will be charged with it. But if there is so much as a thread connecting his body with the earth, all the electric current will pass away, as water through the cracks of ajar. So will one besetting sin, one evil motive, one proud thought indulged in and permitted, rob us of the might of the Holy Ghost. Let us beware!
And the Lord looked on him and said, Go in this thy might: have not I sent thee? May that might-giving look fall on you, dear reader, and on your friend.