II. THE SECRET OF HIS FULLNESS.
YIELDING TO CHRIST
Yield yourselves unto God. Rom. 6:13.
Present your bodies unto God. Rom. 12:1.
Paul, a bond-slave of Jesus Christ. Rom 1:1.
THE SECRET OF HIS FULLNESS
Granted, then that we have received the gift of the Holy Ghost; that we have been baptized with Him; that He has come into our lives to abide forever; what then is the secret of His fullness, of His abundant life of Peace, Power, and Love? We answer:
THE ABSOLUTE, UNQUALIFIED SURRENDER OF OUR LIFE TO GOD, TO DO HIS WILL INSTEAD OF OUR OWN. Thus, 1. When we SURRENDER OUR SINS and believe, we RECEIVE the Holy Spirit; when we SURRENDER OUR LIVES and believe, we are FILLED with the Holy Spirit. 2. THE RECEIVING of the Spirit is God’s answer to repentance and faith; THE FULLNESS of the Spirit is God’s answer to SURRENDER and faith. 3. At CONVERSION the Spirit enters; at SURRENDER the Spirit, ALREADY ENTERED, takes FULL POSSESSION. The supreme, human condition of the fullness of the Spirit is a life that is WHOLLY SURRENDERED TO GOD to do His will.
This is true:
1. IN REASON.
To our mind, all the clouds that have been hindering the clear outshining of this great truth into our soul, will vanish away before him who will ponder carefully the great scriptural and experimental truth of: THE TWO-FOLD NATURE OF THE BELIEVER. Note ﬁrst the situation of the sinner. He has but one nature - “the old man.” He is declared absolutely to be dead in trespasses and sins. He has the self-life, but not the God-life within him. He walks in the ﬂesh, and in that only. The Spirit may and does strive with him, but not in him, for only “he who is Christ’s” hath that Spirit. But now comes a wonderful change. He repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. What happens? He is born again, born from above, born of God, born of the Spirit. And what do these phrases signify? Simply that a new life, a divine life, the life of God has come into him. God Himself, in the person of the Holy Spirit, has come to dwell in him; he has received the Holy Spirit. He has now what the sinner does not have - a new nature. But when the new life, the Spirit came in, did the old life, the “old man,” go out? Alas, not he! If he had, then, TO RECEIVE the Spirit would be at once and forever TO BE FILLED WITH HIM, for HE would have FULL possession. But this is not the case. The old life does not go out when the new comes in; upon this God’s word and our own experience are painfully clear. But now, as a believer, he has, as it were, a dual nature. In him are both “the ﬂesh” and “the Spirit” - the old life and the new. These two co-exist. Both dwell in him. But as deadly foes, they struggle for the mastership of his life. “The ﬂesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the ﬂesh.” For each wants not only to be in him but to have full possession. Each desires to ﬁll him. The problem is changed. It is no longer how shall he receive the Spirit. That is settled; he has received Him. But he ﬁnds him a joint-tenant with the ﬂesh. Wherefore the question now is, having two natures within him, how shall he be ﬁlled with one of them? How shall he know the fullness and abundant life of the Spirit, and be delivered from the life and power of the ﬂesh? The answer seems clear. How else could he be ﬁlled save by YIELDING HIMSELF WHOLLY to that one which he would have ﬁll him? He has the power of choice; he can yield himself to either. Is it not clear that whatever life he yields himself to, that will ﬁll him? When he once yielded himself a servant of the ﬂesh (Rom. 6:19) was he not “ﬁlled with all unrighteousness”? (Rom. 1:29) Even so now just in proportion as he yields himself to the Spirit (Rom. 6:19) will he not be ﬁlled with that Spirit? It is as though the sweet fresh air of spring-time should enter a ten-roomed house full of foul odors. You open up one chamber to it, but leave the rest closed and in possession of the old, fetid atmosphere. Truly the pure air has entered, but how can it ﬁll the house until you yield that house wholly to it, throwing open every nook and cranny to its fragrant breath? Or, it is as though a fountain were fed by two strong springs bubbling up from the ground, one of water, the other of oil. There is no doubt that the fountain has received water, for it is constantly inﬂowing. Yet how can it be ﬁlled with water save as it yields itself wholly to its life-giving stream, and refuses to yield itself to the oil? Even so it is with the Holy Spirit. True He has come into every believer’s heart, and abides there, and will abide forever. Yet every believer thus co-indwelt by the ﬂesh and the Spirit may so continue to yield to the ﬂesh as to thwart, choke up, and clog all manifestation of the fullness of the Spirit who is within him. This fact that, even after the Spirit has been received, there may be a mastership of Self in our lives through failure to yield to the Spirit, is a full and sufﬁcient explanation of all lack of fullness of the Spirit. He who knows the awful power of that self-life in himself; its enmity with God; its carnality; its grieving and quenching of the Spirit; its deadly blighting of all the blessed fruits of the Spirit; its ﬁerce and desperate resistings of his efforts to enter into the full life of the Spirit, needs no other explanation of the failure of the fullness of the Spirit than the fullness of Self. The trouble is not a Spirit un-entered, but a spirit un-yielded to, and thus shorn of an opportunity to manifest the very fullness He desires. The remedy is clear, logical, inescapable; a refusal to yield the life longer to the mastership of self, and a surrender to the Spirit, that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus may make us free from the law of sin and death.”
It is true again:
2. IN REVELATION.
God’s Word is clear upon it. Paul again and again calls himself the “bond slave” of Christ, yielded to Him wholly to do His will, not his own. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacriﬁce…unto God.” (Rom. 12:1.) Hear Paul thus exhorting believers, “YIELD yourselves unto GOD.” “NEITHER YIELD…unto sin.” - TO WHOM ye YIELD yourselves servants HIS servants ye are.” (Rom. 6:16.) As ye HAVE YIELDED…servants to iniquity, even so YIELD…servants to righteousness unto holiness.” (v. 19.) “But now being set free (Greek) from sin (God’s act in Christ) and become servants to God (your act of surrender, needful to make you realize that freedom which is in Christ), ye have your fruit unto holiness” (v. 22); i.e., ye know the power, blessing, fullness and fruitage of the Holy Spirit to whom you have now yielded. Notice both the impressive repetition and the signiﬁcant position (Rom. 6) of his exhortation to yield ourselves to God. It follows the ﬁfth chapter of Romans. That is, as soon as the believer, justiﬁed by faith, has received the Holy Ghost (v. 5) he is urged to yield himself to God, wholly and absolutely. Why? Because Paul knows the two-fold nature of the believer; knows that with whatsoever he would be ﬁlled, to that he must yield; knows that if he would be ﬁlled with the Spirit he must yield to Him, otherwise he will go on living in the power and fullness of the ﬂesh. Thus the absolute yielding of our lives to God is the ﬁrst great step after conversion urged in His Word. Upon every convert, having received the Spirit, and while his heart is glowing with the love of Christ who has saved him, should be pressed home, earnestly and tenderly, the claim of that Christ upon his redeemed life, and His loving call to him to yield it to Him in absolute, unreserved surrender. There is no other way in reason, in revelation, or in practice. Alas for our blindness! Converts are exhorted to study the Word; to be diligent in prayer; to abound in good works; to give of their substance unto the Lord; to be faithful in church services; to join her various societies, and to busy themselves in her countless round of activities. But, (woe unto us!) in omitting the one supreme condition which God reveals, we fail to lift the single ﬂood gate which alone will let into our lives His coveted fullness. That this act of surrender is the pivot upon which the gate of His fullness swings open, is also seen in
3. THE EXPERIENCE OF GOD’S CHILDREN.
Is it not true of all of you, beloved, who walk the pathway of the blessed life? The Holy Spirit painted in your secret soul pictures of a walk with God which persistently refused to fade, even amid all your failures and falling short of them. There were yearnings after a richness and fullness of life in Christ which never ceased to haunt your soul. There were voices that called you for years to untrodden heights of communion, privilege, and service. You made many mistakes; you were misled by false teaching; you groped earnestly in the darkness after the truth. But now, with the peace and joy of an established life in Christ Jesus ﬁlling your soul, as you look back over the past do you not see that the pivotal point of blessing and fullness was the surrender of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Whether long years in coming to this crisis, or reaching it in a single bound, every consecrated child of God knows that this act of surrender to God was the supreme step that brought him into the fullness of the closer walk with God. Your experience may have been complicated, confused, difﬁcult to interpret; but that this act of surrender was the culmination of it all, and this fullness of the Spirit, the outcome of such act, God’s response of grace to that act, all will testify. The lives of such men as Carey, Martyn, Paton, and Livingstone, vividly show forth this truth. The fullness and power that marked their lives from the divine side went hand in hand on the human side with an unqualiﬁed, unwavering surrender of life in its fullest sweep, to do the will of Him that sent them. Only such can bring His fullness.
Again, that surrender is the secret of fullness is proven by:-
4. THE RESISTANCE OF THE FLESH.
We may be assured that a step which the self-life supremely opposes is the supreme step the Spirit would have us take. That point at which the Flesh masses its most desperate resistance must be the point to which the Spirit is most desirous of bringing us; must be the key-point of the situation. Above all else is the deliberate resolve to surrender the life to God this step, this point. How clamorously the hostile Self-life protests against it! We will lead meetings; sign pledges; ﬁll ofﬁcial position; draw checks even to the half of our fortune; yea, do anything else; but how vehemently and desperately the Self-life opposes our yielding our life to God in full surrender! Does any one question that self-will is the stronghold of the Flesh, and that the act of surrender storms the stronghold and is the act which the Spirit most desires and the Flesh most resists? Then let that man or woman try to make such a surrender. Let them say to God “Here Lord I give up all my plans and purposes, all my desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. Whatever Thou dost want, take; whatever Thou wouldst have come, send; wherever Thou wouldst have me go, lead; whatever Thou wouldst have me surrender, reveal. ‘Lo I come to Thy will.’” Immediately how the powers of the Flesh will assail this decision! What clamorous protests! What ﬁerce hostility! What agonizing struggles! What deathly swoonings of the soul at the mere thought! What bitter tests of pride and reputation! What sweeping sacriﬁces loom up unthought of before! The pulpit; the mission ﬁeld; yielded idols; surrendered professions, or occupations or possessions; how these all start up like spectres before the trembling soul! That day on which a child of God decides to yield his will to God will scarce have passed its meridian ere he will stand appalled at the revelation of his own unwillingness to do God’s will; will be astonished and humiliated beyond measure at the desperate and repeated onslaughts of the selﬂife, to drive him from the new stand he has taken. Just as the frantic cries and wild ﬂutterings of the mother bird prove that your disturbing hand is near her nestlings, so does the passionate resistance of Self to the consecration of your life prove that through this act the self-life is in deadly peril of overthrow under the mighty hand of God. Child of God, does not this very shrinking, this ﬁerce enmity of the ﬂesh, prove that his stronghold is unmasked; that his secret is betrayed; that the very thing he most vehemently resists is that, above all others, which God wants you to do? Have you done it? For:
5. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR YOUR ACT OF SURRENDER.
When God states a condition of blessing, no other condition, however good elsewhere, can be substituted. This is why all your crying, and waiting, and petitioning - yea, even agonizing before God - have accomplished naught but to leave you grieved, disappointed, and dazed at lack of answer. You have been praying instead of obeying. Prayer is all right with obedience, but not instead of it. “Obedience is better than sacriﬁce.” So it is better than prayer if it is the thing that God is asking. We are not petitioning God; He is petitioning us! Hear Him through His servant Paul: “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacriﬁce.” Have you done this? When we petition God to do something for us, we expect Him to act. When God petitions us to make Him a present of our bodies as a living sacriﬁce He expects us to act. But lo, we turn to and begin to pray, for, we say, is prayer not a good thing? Forsooth, it is, but not well spent if used to dodge obedience! How subtle the ﬂesh is! How in our blindness we do play at cross-purposes with God! “Abraham,” said God, “because thou hast done this thing, I will bless thee” (Gen. 22:16). And what was this thing upon the doing of which the blessing of God came to him as never before? It was the yielding of his all to God in the surrender of his son. Child of God, have you done this thing? No other thing will avail. Constant prayer, importunate entreaty, wearisome waiting, attempts at believing, reckoning it done - all these are of no avail to you if you will not do this thing. This unyielded life is the very citadel of Self. God will not force it. But when its key, the Will, is voluntarily handed over to him, then He ﬂoods the life with His fullness of blessing. Would you know His “I will bless thee”? then “do this thing.” Absolutely, unreservedly, conﬁdingly yield yourself, your life, your all into His hands for time and eternity.
It will not do, in lieu of this, to give money, to give time, to give service, only. Thousands are trying thus to silence conscience and rob God. We must needs give ourselves. How grieved would that true lover be whose betrothed would answer his petition for her heart, herself, by proffering her purse, houses, or lands! How much more must God be grieved by our poor attempts to bribe Him by giving Him everything else except the one thing He wants - ourselves. “My son, give me thine heart.” There is a giving which is instead of ourselves; and there is a gift of ourselves. One is the poor bribe of legalism to Love; the other the joyful response of love to Love. So in falling short of giving ourselves to God we fall short of the one supreme gift He desires. For God gave Himself, gave all to us. If our response to the lover of our soul falls short of the true-hearted surrender of ourselves, we thereby show that we do not fully trust Him. But the shadow of such distrust haunting the unsurrendered heart is the barrier that keeps it from the fullness of God. For God cannot give fullness of the Spirit to him who does not have such fullness of trust as to yield his life to Him. Wherefore, beloved, knowing that naught but this can bring to your heart His fullness of life, see to it that you omit it not. Know too, that
6. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT IS, IN A TREMENDOUS SENSE, IN YOUR OWN HANDS.
The question now rests with you. Not that it is not all of God and of grace. Verily it is. But in Christ Jesus the grace phase of it is complete. That is, God has already done all He can do for us in giving Christ. He “hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” Do we want God to pour out the fullness of the Holy Spirit? He has done so in Christ. “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). Do we want God then to put us “in Christ” where the fullness dwells? He has done so: - for “of Him are ye in Christ Jesus.” (I Cor. 1:30) There is but one thing left, and that is yours. It is to so yield yourself to the Christ to whom you are united as to give Him opportunity to pour out His fullness in and through you. This you must do. Do not attempt to throw the responsibility on God. If you do, He will throw it back upon you, and rightly too, for that is where it belongs. All these years He has been doing this. Have you been too blind to see it? He stands pledged to give you to know His fullness so soon as you surrender your life wholly to Him, but He does not stand pledged to surrender it for you, or to make you surrender it. He will not coerce your will. There He stops and waits - as he has been waiting all these years - for you. Do not say, either, “I have prayed; I have waited; I have wrestled and agonized; I have tried to believe it done,” and the like. Do you not see that in all this you are calling on God to do something instead of obeying His command to do something yourself? The question is have you YIELDED? Bought with a price, and not your own, have you taken your hands off your own life and consecrated it wholly, unﬂinchingly, eternally to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be His loving bond-slave forever? It is not now a question of His fullness; that is limitless. It is a question of your receptiveness, your surrender. Is He worthy of trust, of absolute trust? Then how child-like will you trust Him? How absolutely will you yield to Him? With what self-abandonment will you throw yourself upon Him? How far up toward the height of His perfect surrender will you climb? He will meet you where you meet Him. The only limit to His fullness is that which you impose in the limitation of your surrender. The more absolutely, sweepingly, irrevocably you yield yourself, time, talents, possessions, plans, hopes, aspirations, purposes, yea all to Jesus Christ, vouching yourself His loving bond-slave to do and suffer His will, the more you shall know the blessed fullness of His Spirit. You may have all the fullness you will make room for. In a profound sense it rests with you. What a tremendous thought! To go through all the long years of life with the privilege, peace, and power of the blessed life within your grasp at any hour and yet to have missed it!
And are you faint-hearted, timorous, slow to trust Him absolutely? Are you loath to surrender your will, and afraid of His will? Think a moment what that will is for you. The bleeding Son of God hanging between heaven and earth for you; translation from death to eternal life; sons and daughters of God; fullness of His Spirit; peace, joy, fellowship in Him; instant, jubilant gloriﬁcation at His coming; triumphant sharing in His Kingship; eternal ages of unending bliss in His presence - this is His known will for you. And yet you fear His will! The soul’s high treason, this, against its awful, loving Lord! Beloved, at the very core of thy spiritual life, nestles a deadly cobra of unbelief which thou would’st do well, by this one deliberate, trustful act of surrender, to crush, ere it strike its fangs deeper into thy heart. The daring cliff-climber, trusting a frail rope, swings out with dauntless heart over the dizzy abyss, while beneath him the cruel rocks and roaring, treacherous sea, eagerly await to slay him if he falls. But thou, beloved, when thou dost this day swing thyself out in blind and simple trust in Him, will ﬁnd no cruel fate awaiting thee, but the strong hands that catch thee were pierced - for thee; the side to which thou art pressed in loving embrace was riven - for thee; the heart that throbs with joy at thine obedience once broke - for thee. Yet, the Christ who beseeches thee is the Christ of love, desiring to ﬁll thee with His own fullness of love. Therefore fear Him not, but, entering into the secret place, ﬁght the battle; endure the suffering of the cross; cease not until you have honestly laid your life at His feet; and verily, “He will give thee the desire of thine heart.”
There is but one attitude that the life surrendered to Him dare take, to know His fullness, and that is: to TRUST and OBEY. Upon the necessity for obedience we need hardly dwell here, but may simply say that it is the very essence of surrender, which is naught else but an absolute yielding of our wills to obey the will of another - even our Lord and Master. As the whole catastrophe of the fall is wrapped up in the doing of our own will, the whole blessedness of the new life is involved in “Lo I come to do Thy will.” In surrender is obedience; in obedience is surrender. That surrender which is a supreme act of obedience, marks and means and beginning of a habit, a life of obedience to the Holy Spirit to whom we have yielded. So clearly is obedience inwrought in the very idea of surrender that we shall not dwell long upon it in our brief limits, but pass on to some thoughts upon its mated truth of - Trust.
1. Trust Him as Indwelling.
There is, as we have seen, an erroneous teaching which essays to meet our spiritual powerlessness and barrenness by asserting that we have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost, have not been baptized with the Holy Ghost, and that what we need is to wait for the promise of the Comforter, and then, when He comes in, all this will disappear. We have endeavored very simply to show that this is unscriptural, confusing, and misleading; that the believer does not surrender his life in order to have the Spirit enter but because He has entered; that the believer’s life does not climax in the incoming of the Spirit but starts with it; that such indwelling is not the cap-stone but the base-stone of the entire structure of his inner life and outward service. Yet so accustomed have we become to the former view of this subject that the ﬁrst thing we do after we yield our lives in surrender to Him is to begin to look for Him to enter to wait for the promise, to expect His indwelling. Now it is as against all this that we urge the child of God to trust in His indwelling. Do not await it, believe it; do not expect it, accept it; do not seek for it, recognize it; do not build up to it, build upon it as a sure foundation. “What,” you say, “accept the indwelling of the Spirit as a fact before surrender without any conscious incoming after it, without any feeling or emotional experience of His acceptance of my yielded life?” Precisely. Accept the fact of the Spirit’s indwelling exactly as you accepted the fact of the remission of your sins when you believed on Jesus Christ, by evidence a thousand fold more certain and reassuring than your shifting feelings, namely, the eternal, immutable Word of God.
That Word is plain. God asks of you only one thing, namely, that you examine yourself and see whether you are in the faith; that is, a believer (II Cor. 13:5). If so, then He assures you that He dwells in you; He reiterates again and again that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom ye have of God, who dwells in you forever (I Cor. 3:16, etc.). He does not ask you to inspect your emotions for this, but to take His word for it. He does not ask you to wait for a feeling but to rest upon a fact, accepting His plain word as the evidence of that fact. Then, apart from any consciousness of His indwelling, as you believe in, accept, recognize, and act upon that indwelling, you soon ﬁnd it to be a glorious fact. A good old colored saint when asked how he had become so conscious of the Spirit’s presence in his heart, replied: “Jess you believe He’s there and He is there.” And so beloved trust in His indwelling. Do not deny or await it, but believe and accept it. Like good old Brother Lawrence, “practice the presence of God” and you shall soon experience it. “Act as though I were in you, and you shall know that I am in you.” Right here it will much aid this trust in His indwelling if we will but grasp the important truth that is here in place, namely :-
Distinguish between THE INDWELLING of the Holy Ghost and THE MANIFESTATION of the Holy Ghost, in His fullness. By indwelling is meant His presence in us; by manifestation the consciousness of that presence. Now the indwelling of the Holy Ghost depends upon our union with Christ, through faith, as we have seen. But the manifestation of the Holy Ghost depends upon our obedience to His commandments (John 14:21) (in this case the call to yield ourselves to Christ). Wherefore the Spirit’s indwelling depends upon our standing, His manifestation upon our state. The ﬁrst is a question of union, the second a question of communion, in this case through obedience.) The ﬁrst is accomplished by God, and is a permanent fact in the believer’s life independent of his feeling about it or consciousness of it. Assuredly! “Of God are ye in Christ Jesus.” (I Cor. 1:30). It is God who united you, child of God to Jesus Christ, and united you forever. At that union the Holy Ghost came into you, and came to dwell forever (John 14:16). That the Holy Ghost indwells in you forever is as much a fact as that Jesus took away your sins forever. If you are a child of God the Spirit dwells in you; if you are an obedient child the Spirit manifests Himself in you. Your birth does not depend upon yourself; you were born of God; but your walk does depend upon yourself, and with it the Spirit’s manifestations. Indwelling should be associated with sonship; manifestation with obedience and communion. Now sonship is the gift of God and irrevocable, and so is the indwelling of the Spirit. But obedience and communion being largely in our hands are variable, wherefore, so is manifestation. Thus one of the deadliest errors we fall into is to make manifestation the test of indwelling, instead of the test of obedience to, and communion with, Him who is already indwelling. Never doubt the indwelling of the Spirit because you do not feel His presence, any more than you doubt that Jesus died for you, because you do not feel that death. If we are saved only when we feel saved, and the Holy Spirit indwells only when we are conscious of His indwelling, then woe unto us, for the Spirit ceases to dwell in us, and we are lost men and women whenever we stumble or disobey in our walk with God! What a disastrous and appalling error to fall into! Whereas when we see that His indwelling depends upon an unchangeable fact - our eternal union with Christ by faith - but the consciousness of that indwelling upon a changeable state - namely, our walk with God - then any decline in that consciousness of His presence will never lead us to doubt His indwelling, but only stir us to scan our lives if so be that we may be following Him so far off in the path of communion and obedience as to have lost the shining of His manifested presence. We see from this also our need to:
2. Trust Him as to Manifestation.
Do not dictate to Him the kind of feeling of fullness you desire. Do not insist upon a sudden ﬂood-tide of emotion. Do not pitch upon some other man’s experience, heard or read of, and expect God to duplicate it in you. Trust all this to Him. We are prone both at conversion and consecration to come to the Lord with a previously formed conception of the exact sort of an experience we are to have. And are we not almost invariably disappointed? Why? Because God knows far better than we, just what feeling to give us. Does not our very surrender to do and receive His will, instead of our own, carry with it a loving submission to Him in this matter of manifestation, as in all others, accepting sweetly just such individual measure of fullness as He deems best? Paul had such wonderful manifestations of spiritual things as to need a thorn in the ﬂesh “lest he should be exalted overmuch.” There is a suggestion here that the Lord knows just what form and degree of fullness to give each one of us, to keep us from spiritual pride, or exaltation. Therefore, leave it all to Him. Whether sudden or gradual; quiet or jubilant; great peace or great power; it matters not. Let us be concerned to meet the conditions of promise, and God will always take care of the fulﬁlment of the promise. He who yields himself most fully to the cross of Christ in surrender, leaving the whole question of experience of fullness with God, will come sooner and more abundantly into its blessedness than he who, ignoring the conditions of full discipleship, spends his time awaiting tongues of ﬁre and sound of rushing, mighty wind.
Nothing is more hurtful than to be constantly inspecting our own inner lives to see if God is fulﬁlling His promise in our experience. It is like the child constantly digging up the seed to see if it has sprouted. The question of the experience of fullness of the Spirit belongs to the Lord. It is His gracious work alone. He has promised “I will manifest myself; this is My part; leave this to Me.” The supreme thing for us to do is to fulﬁll the conditions placed upon us, through which God’s blessing comes, and trustfully leave His part to Him. The less we are concerned and anxious about the manifestation of His fullness, the sooner it will come. Perfect faith in God, as we have seen, is all essential to knowing His fullness. But is there not in this scanning each pulse of feeling as it comes, a subtle unbelief, a fear that perhaps God will not be faithful even though we are? And back of it all are we not perhaps more anxious for the blessing, the joy, the feeling of the Spirit’s fullness than eager, and willing, and quick to yield our lives to our blessed Lord even though no feeling should follow it? Wherefore, beloved, be occupied with an honest, complete, heart-searching surrender, and leave all else in God’s hands.
3. Trust the Spirit as He works IN you.
At no point is a simple, unwavering trust in Him needed more than just here. For consider ﬁrst how utterly incapable you yourself are of shaping, fashioning, purifying the life you have just yielded into His hands. How full of errors and failures it has been! How far it falls short even of our own human, not to speak of His divine, ideal for it! How sinful, weak, and inconsistent! As you have striven, labored and battled in your efforts to develop it, how colossal has seemed the task, how hopeless the outcome! You are wrestling not against ﬂesh and blood, but against principalities and powers; against the rulers of darkness; against those who laugh in scorn at your self-efforts to overcome them. You know not the power of evil; you know not the might of the self-life; you know not God’s power to cope with both. Apart from God you know not what armor you need; what weapons to wield; what battles must be fought; what crisis the unknown future will bring; how the old man shall be “put off”; how the new shall be put on; where your lot shall be cast; nor what ﬁeld God has prepared for you. As you sit and ponder how hopeless it is for you, a mortal man or woman, to try and mould and shape a life that is immortal in its service, scope and destiny, sweeping far into the mystic depths of eternity in its outcome, do you not realize how foolish you have been even to attempt to possess and control that life instead of yielding it at once to the Holy Spirit who brought it into being? Can you do anything else than trust Him wholly and absolutely with it, in view of your utter failure and inability to fashion it for the ministries, not only of this life, but of eternity?
But on the other hand hark how simple and absolutely you can trust the Spirit to work in the life you have yielded. Did He not bring you into being? Does He not know you as only the all-seeing God can? Is He not acquainted with your sins and weaknesses; ﬂeshliness and failures; powers and talents; regretted past, unsatisﬁed present, and unknown, eternal future? Does He not know just when you need chastening, and when rebuke? When to press hard with the cross, and when to comfort with His own joy? When to use the knife and when to pour in the soothing ointment? Just how to mould and fashion; chisel and cut; straighten and strengthen; pound, hammer and polish until the statue is as He would have it - like the Son? Wherefore TRUST Him. When He leads you into paths that wound your faltering feet; confronts you with a future that lowers dark and threatening; hems you in with providences that seem harsh and mysterious; - in all these stand still; whisper to yourself, “It is God that worketh,” and - TRUST Him. For the Spirit must needs work in you ere He can work through you. He must needs purify the gold ere He can send it forth as sterling coin, the choicest of His mintage. And if you will not stay under His hand, even when He works ever so strangely how can He accomplish His deepening, enlarging, enriching purpose in your life? Wherefore TRUST Him as He works IN you. It matters not that His dealings with you are strange, mysterious, even confusing; that this is not the way in which you would like Him to work; that He is not sending you experiences of the kind or degree you expected. You may not indeed understand all this, but He does, “for it is God that worketh in you.” But you would not dare take your case out of His hands even if you could, - would you? Therefore trust Him while He ‘inworks.’
4. Finally trust Him to work THROUGH you.
It is one thing to work for God; it is another to have God work through us. We are often eager for the former; God is always desirous of doing the latter. One of the important facts in the surrender of the life is that it is the attitude which gives God the chance to work His perfect will through us. For it is God that is working to evangelize the world; it is God who has laid the plans for it; it is God who has the power to successfully execute them. Now the God who is the ruler of the universe does not want us to plan, and worry, and work for Him. For while He appreciates our purposes toward Him, yet they may be all athwart His purposes for, and through us. What He wants is not our plans, but our lives, that He may work His plans through us.
Now God will certainly do this through every life that is yielded to Him, if we simply trust Him so to, do, and follow Him as He leads us on. His word upon this is clear. “For we are … created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS which God hath BEFORE ORDAINED that we should WALK IN THEM.” (Eph. 2:10.) God hath an ordained plan of good works in Christ Jesus, and as each member of the body of Christ yields himself or herself to Him absolutely to do His ordained works, He will give to, and reveal to, that individual member his or her particular works, so that they may walk in them. This is a plain promise of guidance, not only into a practical life-work for each one yielded to him, but the life-work which God has ordained for each one of His children “from before the foundation of the world.” Is this incredible to you, beloved? Nay, anything else is incredible! For that God should have a purpose for every drop of dew glittering in the morning sunlight; for every blade of grass that upsprings from the earth; for every ﬂower that blooms on hill or heath; and yet not have a plan for the lives of the men and women for whom these were created, is indeed in the last degree incredible! And do you reply that there are myriads of lives of His children apparently aﬂoat upon the stream of a purposeless existence? Alas, yes. But it is because God can not reveal His will to an unrenounced Self-will; cannot make clear His plans to a life full of Self-plans. Such unyielded Self-plans and Self-will become the ﬂeshly cataract that veils the spiritual vision to God’s plan and God’s will. But when you yield your life wholly to Him, God will take away that veil and sooner or later show you your life-work. This is true, it matters not how dark the way is now, now hedged in by adverse circumstances, how trying or complicated your present position. You may have to wait; you must needs be patient; but God will assuredly extricate you from all entanglements, and work out His blessed will through you, if you will but trust, wait, and obey as He guides. Many a life once so hemmed in as to seem beyond hope of freedom, is now witnessing for Christ in the distant dark lands.
We have a dear friend who, soon after being saved, was led to see the truth and glorious privilege of the surrendered life, and gave that life simply and trustfully to God. He was a busy man, shut in all day behind a counter, in a position that seemed to bar him absolutely from being led into any life work God might have planned for him. Yet mark the result. Reading one day an interesting item in a religious journal, he was led to write the author, and ask permission to print and circulate it free, in tract form. This was willingly granted, and the little leaﬂet began to go out on its errand of blessing from the hand-press of our friend, who was an amateur printer. As the months went by, other leaﬂets were added; voluntary offerings began to come in for the work; the few hundred tracts crept up into thousands, and hundreds of thousands; stories of conversion of sinners, and blessing to God’s children, poured in from the logging camps of Michigan, the prisons of Wisconsin, the country at large, and the mission ﬁelds of distant lands. In the two or three years since this work began one million tracts have been sent out free; the Word of God has been circulated to an extent, and with results, that eternity alone will reveal; and our busy friend is one of the happiest of the great King’s servants, in the consciousness of being in a work which God has planned for him, and gave to him when he yielded his life to Him. Even so will God assuredly lead every surrendered child of His out from the place of darkness, inquiry, and uncertainty, into the light and joy of that God-planned, and God-empowered service which is to be his glad life-work, if he will only TRUST Him who works in us, and desires to work mightily through us.
By indwelling is meant, as we have seen the presence of the Spirit in us as believers; by Manifestation is meant the consciousness of His presence; the inner revelation of the Spirit to our spirit. Concerning this, notice:
1. Its Certainty.
Will there be such manifestation of the fullness of the Spirit when we yield our lives to Him? Will we be aware of a great inner change in those lives? Will there be a conscious transformation, a conscious new estate of Christian experience? To this we answer: - Is the sluggish, stagnant river conscious of the inrushing waters of the sea, as it feels the throb and rush of her cleansing tides? Is the dark, gloomy castle conscious of the fresh, sweet air that ﬁlls its wind-swept chambers, as they are ﬂung wide open to it? Are the sightless eyes, that have been veiled for years in hopeless darkness, conscious of the bright light of day, when it ﬁrst breaks upon their enraptured vision? So, assuredly, is there a conscious manifestation to the soul that has given itself, for all time and all things, to God. There must be, there will be a change; a realization of His presence to a degree never known before; a consciousness that the greatest crisis in the spiritual life has been passed. Nor does it matter whether such manifestation of His fullness bursts upon us like the sudden outﬂashing of the sun from behind dark clouds, or steals upon us like the slow-increasing glow of the morning twilight, gradual, but sure. Enough for us to know that such manifestation does come; that He does reveal Himself in fullness, power, and blessing never known before. His beseeching us to present our bodies to Him was not idle entreaty; our yielding to Him was not vain experiment. He fulﬁlls His promise, “I will manifest myself, as I do not unto the world.” Henceforth there is height and depth, peace and power, joy and blessing, communion and service, prayer and praise, such as the past has never possessed. To the soul who gives himself wholly to God, life is transformed beyond his fondest hopes; the blessings of the Abundant Life become richer and fuller as the days go by; God does exceedingly abundantly above all he can ask or think. He is “strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man”; “ﬁlled with all the fullness of God”; made to “abound more and more”; and out of this abundance overﬂow ministry, testimony, and blessing to those about him.
2. Its Individuality.
Manifestation will vary with the individual. Two men, absorbed in conversation, stand upon a railroad track, not noting the approach of a train swiftly bearing down upon them. Just in time both are snatched by friendly hands, from the awful death impending. To both, as they turn away with blanched faces, the same event has come, namely, rescue from a terrible death under the wheels of the rushing, roaring train. But mark how differently it affects them. One’s eyes ﬁll with tears; his voice trembles with suppressed emotion; and his heart is quietly uplifted, in profound gratitude to God. The other, fairly ecstatic in his emotion, leaps for joy, embraces his rescuers, and exultantly recounts the story of his deliverance to all whom he meets. The same blessing has come to both, but the experience manifests itself diversely, because their individual temperament is different. Just so it is here. Two of God’s children yield their lives to Him in entire surrender. In response to that surrender the same event will come to them both - a fullness of the Spirit never known, never thought possible, before. But the manifestation, the experience of that fullness, will not be the same in both; it will necessarily vary with the individual temperament. For God not only gives the fullness, but He also made the vessels which contain that fullness, and has made them all slightly different. The cup, vase, and goblet of gold, are all full, but the water within them takes the shape from the fashioning form of the vessel. The light which streams through the electric wires is all the same, but it takes the tints from the many-colored globes through which it glows. Paul and John were both men mightily ﬁlled with the Holy Ghost; yet how strikingly His manifestation was modiﬁed by their individual temperaments. Paul is exultant, ﬁery, and vehement. He breaks forth, time and again, into shouts of triumph, praise, and joy. His wondrous life burned, and ﬂamed, with love for Christ, with an intensity that seemed about to consume it at any moment. Life seemed all too short for his eager soul to compress into its ﬂeeting moments all the devotion, zeal, and enthusiasm, of the highest-keyed, widest-ranged life the Holy Ghost has pictured in the early church. Paul was assuredly full of the Holy Ghost, and thousands of martyrs and missionary heroes, gifted with that same intensity of temperament, and inspired by the vision of that Spirit-ﬁlled life, have set before them the Pauline type of Christian experience as their own desired ideal, and, yielded to God, have marvelously attained to, and exempliﬁed it, in service and sacriﬁce for the same Master. And yet the man who thinks he is not ﬁlled with the Holy Spirit unless enjoying the same kind, and degree, of manifestation as Paul, may be far astray from the truth. For, on the other hand, turn to John. No man was closer to the heart of Jesus Christ than he. He leaned upon His bosom; he felt the throb of his Master’s heart-life as none other; he interpreted the inmost secrets of His soul. His writings breathe out the very spirit of Christ, and bring us into the very presence chamber of a holy God. Quiet, contemplative, devotional, his soul does not seem to break forth into exultant shout, like Paul’s but to be rapt, absorbed, lost in the vision of the Christ. Yet John, the beloved disciple, the conﬁdant of Christ, was as surely full of the Holy Ghost as was Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles. In the holy, quiet, close walk with God of John’s life, is given for us a type of manifestation of the Spirit which has reproduced itself in thousands of godly lives, whose constant communion, ministry of prayer, and quieter forms of service, are unspeakably precious in God’s sight, and bear the assured mark of His fullness. The Johns, the Rutherfords, the Bengels of God’s fold, are as surely ﬁlled with the Spirit as the Pauls, the Judsons, and the Patons. Let us therefore, when we have yielded our lives, be grateful to God for just such individual manifestation as He may, in His grace, vouchsafe us. In coveting some other man’s type of experience, because it comports more with our idea of what the manifestation of the Spirit’s fullness should be, let us beware lest we disparage, and dishonor, what God has bestowed upon us. If He grants us wondrous visions, ﬁlls us with spiritual ecstasies, catches us up into the third heaven; - it is well. But if He apportions to us a quieter experience; pours out upon us a spirit of supplication; Fills us with a peace as profound as other men’s joy is rapturous; anoints us with power in prayer, instead of power in the pulpit; - this too is well. For He knows, and “the Spirit divideth asunder severally as He will.”
3. Its Accompaniment: - Suffering.
In I Peter 4:1, 2, this truth is stated: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the ﬂesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the ﬂesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the ﬂesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” The ﬂesh - the carnal nature - which in Christ was sinless is in us sinful; is the sphere in which sin works, “the body of sin,” as it were. Wherefore, in yielding our lives wholly to God to do His will, the old self-will, the ﬂesh-life, must feel the touch of the cross of Christ, for it is only as it is put in the place of cruciﬁxion with Christ, through surrender and faith, that we can cease to do our own will, and come to do the perfect will of God. This means suffering, and the Word tells us plainly that we are to “arm ourselves likewise with the same mind,” and expect to suffer in the ﬂesh, in order to “no longer live the rest of our time in the ﬂesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” Now, in seeking to know the fullness of the Spirit, we meet just such an experience. When yielding our lives to God, instead of the great manifestation of peace and joy of the Spirit we anticipated, we are troubled at ﬁnding one totally different. We come instead into a place of struggle, and of soul-agony; a consciousness of ﬁerce resistance, and of keenest suffering; of turmoil, uncertainty, and distress. Instead of light is darkness; instead of peace, a dire unrest; instead of fullness, a seemingly utter spiritual void, and barrenness in our souls; instead of advance, an apparently backward step. All the while continues this sense of intense, awful, inward suffering, which we can neither deﬁne, describe, nor understand, save that it is so utterly diverse from our expectation as to throw us into almost helpless confusion. And yet this experience is absolutely normal, explainable, and to be expected in every yielded life. “We do err not knowing the Scriptures.” If we had known them we would “arm ourselves with the same mind,” we would expect, in advance, exactly this experience. Let any believer who come into this crisis be not confounded, or discouraged thereby, for it is sure evidence that God is going to bring him into the place of fullness for which his heart yearns. The journey to the upper room of Pentecost must needs be by a place called Calvary; God has the self-same place for self as for sins - the cross of Christ; the man who cried, “It is no longer I but Christ that liveth in me,” ﬁrst cried, “I have been cruciﬁed with Christ.” But it hurts to be cruciﬁed even with Christ! And so there is darkness, and struggle, and agony, and suffering. Nevertheless, “fear not, only believe,” for “if we have been united with Him by the likeness of His death, we shall be also by the likeness of His resurrection,” and out of it all will come God’s own rest, peace and power.
4. Its Time: - The time of surrender.
As has been stated, we are not, the instant we have yielded to God, to begin to scrutinize our inner experience to see if He has fulﬁlled His promise of manifestation. For the moment of professed surrender is not always the moment of real surrender to God, since there may be something in our lives concerning which there is conscious failure to yield, and which will thus hinder the Spirit’s manifestation at the moment of apparent surrender. Yet, as we look back over our lives, we clearly see the general truth that the experience of the Spirit’s fullness was God’s response to our surrender, and we deﬁnitely link the two together in the time-records of our spiritual life. This clears up the mooted point whether the manifestation of the fullness of Christ is, or is not, an after-conversion experience, a so-called “second blessing.” If, as has been seen, the experience of the Spirit’s fullness is linked in fact, and in time, with the surrender of our life to God, then the only question is, when did we so surrender? If, at conversion, we not only trusted Christ for salvation, but also yielded our lives to Him in entire surrender, then we have not only received the Spirit, but came also to know His fullness. But, if an interval of greater or less length occurs between our salvation and our consecration to God, then of necessity the fullness of the Spirit must be, as it usually is, an experience subsequent to conversion. Logically, such an interval is always necessary; practically, it may be so short as to make the two experiences almost simultaneous; usually there is such an interval, long, weary, and needless, in which the soul gropes after the unknown, or resists the known, truth. Logically, such an interval is needful because the appeal to consecration presumes salvation, and is grounded upon it. “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God.” (Rom. 12:1.) It is the love which springs up in our heart because Christ has saved us, that prompts us to yield our life to Him. The yielded life is the response of the redeemed to their Redeemer, and it is not until after they have experienced the love of “Him who ﬁrst loved them,” that their own hearts can be kindled with the love that prompts to surrender. Therefore, conversion must of necessity precede consecration.
Practically the interval may be so short as to be almost unnoted. The same ﬂood of grace that bears a soul into the kingdom of God, simultaneously ﬁlls his heart with such responsiveness of love as can ﬁnd vent only in the instant surrender of the life. Happy are such! Paul seemed hardly saved until, in the attitude of consecration, he was crying out “Lord what wilt thou have me do?” Charles G. Finney, after he had found Christ as his Saviour, testiﬁes that as he emerged from the depths of the woods, and walked toward his law-ofﬁce, he found himself repeating aloud: “I must preach the gospel.” Almost unconsciously he had, in the very hour of his conversion, surrendered his life to God, and the vision of clients, briefs, and professional ambitions had ﬂed away, before the vision of Him who died for him. The result was that the same night, while alone in his ofﬁce, there came to him such a manifestation of the fullness of God as has been given to few men since the days of the early church, the mere reading of which ﬁlls the heart with reverential awe at the vision of what God can do with the wholly yielded life. Usually, there is a considerable interval between conversion and entire surrender to God. Yet, it is a needless, and unhappy one. It exists not because God desires or plans it, but because we are ignorant of this great heart-truth, or knowing, keep resisting Christ’s call. Finally, after years of darkness or disobedience, we yield, and come to a haven of rest which we might just as well have entered years before, instead of long tossing on the troubled sea without.
5. Its Progressiveness: - Manifestation of the Spirit’s fullness may be progressive.
Note that the will to surrender is a process. It is a deﬁnite act, done once and for all, and it is well-pleasing to God as such. Yet few believers realize at the time the signiﬁcance and sweep of a complete surrender to God. Wherefore the perfecting of this surrender is measurably a process, and there is a progressiveness of manifestation with it. In some lives this is less, in others, more marked. Some men and women give up their lives to God in an instant, with a sweep, absoluteness, and intensity of consecration that takes the breath of cautious, tardier souls, and God’s seal of manifested fullness is as immediate, and impressive, in its response. Others yield slowly, and by degrees, to God, and their experience takes a like more gradual and progressive cast. We may illustrate somewhat like this: You own a valuable landed estate. Deciding, after due deliberation, to sell it, you did so in good faith, and are now about to transfer it. Strolling over it some day before the transfer, you discover, to your surprise, a ﬁne, living stream of water of whose existence you had not known before, and which much enhances the value of your estate. It costs you considerable of a struggle to let this go with the land, for it was not in your knowledge when sold. But you are an honorable man, and ﬁnally yield, for the estate was sold “with all its appurtenances.” Soon after this you discover out-croppings of coal upon the same farm, and wake up to the realization of the presence of a valuable coal mine. But it is now too late, and after a severe struggle you decide that the coal mine must go too, inasmuch as the sale was absolute and without reserve. As the day for the transfer comes, you one day discover traces of gold in the river bottom, and are soon astonished with the tidings that your vanishing estate is one of the richest gold-bearing tracts on the continent. And now comes a mighty struggle, a supreme test. You try to persuade yourself that gold mines were not included in the sale; that the price is wretchedly inadequate; that you are not in honor bound to complete the transfer. But in your heart you know that the sale was without reserve; that it included everything, even to the air above and the earth beneath that farm; and your God-given conscience pleads without ceasing until, at last, after a terriﬁc struggle, you yield, and set your hand and seal to the deed which sweeps away so much more Than you had ever foreseen. Even so it is in many lives. We yield ourselves absolutely and without reserve to God, and this, acceptable to Him, brings manifest blessings into our souls. But we do not begin to know the full scope and signiﬁcance of such consecration to Christ, and, if we did, would perhaps shrink back appalled from a full-orbed vision of its meaning at the outset. Our blessed Lord knows this, and how compassionately and tenderly He meets it! Well pleased with our yielded wills He soon reveals some cherished idol, and shows it to be involved in our surrender in blank, as it were, to Him. Perhaps we struggle and resist, but our act of surrender was honest and sincere, so we yield it. Step by step He now leads on, showing us, as rapidly as we are able to bear it, how this act of surrender includes everything we hold dear. Finally, with added faith in His love from these experiences, He brings us face to face with our gold-mine, our Isaac, some treasure of self-will, affection, or pride, than which we would rather yield up all else in life, yea, our very life itself. But the deed has been drawn; there is no reserve; all must go. And so, out of the struggle, comes that perfecting of surrender which brings into our hearts His coveted fullness of manifestation. It should rejoice us much that there are intrepid souls whose challenge of, “Lord what wilt thou have me do,” He answers by a revelation of the sweep and scope of surrender, whose instant, fearless acceptance brings instant manifestation of His fullness. Yet how beautiful that He should thus lovingly and patiently, lead the more timorous and shrinking souls up the golden staircase of the yielded life, until, step by step, they too have attained to that glad height, which others conquer at a bound.
I believe Jesus Christ is dwelling in me by His Spirit because God’s Word says so. (II Cor. 13:5) - (I Cor. 6:19.)
I believe He is seeking to work out His purpose through me. (Eph. 2:10) - (John 15:16.)
I realize that my life must be yielded to Him in order that He may accomplish this purpose. (Rom. 6:13.)
I hear His call to me, “I beseech you * * * present your body a living sacriﬁce * * * to God.” (Rom. 12:1.)
I now heed that call.
This day I deﬁnitely consecrate my life to the Lord Jesus to trust, obey and serve Him the best I know while life shall last. And I pray that He may enable me henceforth to live such a life of faith, love and devotion to Him down here as I will wish to have lived when I see Him face to face up there.
This is not a pledge. It is a free-will offering. Do you know the supreme free-will offering you can bring to Jesus Christ in response to His unspeakable sacriﬁce for you? It is YOURSELF. The greatest tragedy of time and eternity is a LOST SOUL. The next greatest is a LOST LIFE. I mean that of a Christian whose soul is saved but whose life is being lived for the world and for self instead of for Christ. For every man in Christ Jesus, God has a purpose, a plan and a place. You will ﬁnd them all when you consecrate your life to Him. And O, what you will miss both for time and eternity by living that life for the world.
Do not sign this card unless you mean it. Get alone with God in the quiet place. Think it over and pray it through. And then decide deliberately whether you, a redeemed child of God, can afford to live this one ﬂeeting life of yours down here OUT OF THE WILL AND PURPOSE OF GOD FOR IT. That is supremely what consecration means. It is presenting your body a living sacriﬁce to Jesus Christ to live His glorious will for it instead of your own selﬁsh and self-centered one. What will you say to Him about Romans 12:1, when you meet Him in the glory?
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