Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.'
I KNOW a man whose daily prayer for years was that he might be meek and lowly in heart as was his Master. 'Take My yoke upon you, and learn Of Me,' said Jesus; 'for I am meek and lowly in heart' (Matt. xi. 29).
How lowly Jesus was! He was the Lord of life and glory. He made the worlds and upholds them by His word of power (John i., Heb. i.). But He humbled Himself and became man, and was born of the Virgin in a manger among the cattle. He lived among the common people and worked at the carpenter's bench. And then, anointed with the Holy Spirit, He went about doing good, preaching the gospel to the poor, and ministering to the manifold needs of the sick and sinful and sorrowing. He touched the lepers; He was the Friend of publicans and sinners. His whole life was a ministry of mercy to those who most needed Him. He humbled Himself to our low estate. He was a King who came 'lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass' (Zech. ix. 9). He was a King, but His crown was of thorns, and a Cross was His throne.
What a picture Paul gives us of the mind and heart of Jesus! He exhorts the Philippians, saying, ' Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves '; and then he adds, ' Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross' (Phil. ii. 3-8)
Now, when the Holy Spirit finds His way into the heart of a man, the Spirit of jesus has come to that man, and leads him to the same meekness of heart and lowly service that were seen in the Master.
Ambition for place and power and money and fame vanishes, and in its place is a consuming desire to be good and do good, to accomplish in full the blessed, the beneficent will of God.
Some time ago I met a woman who, as a trained nurse in Paris, nursing rich, English-speaking foreigners, received pay that in a few years would have made her independently wealthy; but the spirit of Jesus came into her heart, and she is now nursing the poor, giving her life to them, and doing for them service the most loathsome and exacting, and doing it with a smiling face, for her food and clothes.
Some able men in one of our largest American cities lost their spiritual balance, cut themselves loose from all other Christians, and made for a time quite a religious stir among many good people. They were very clear and powerful in their presentation of certain phases of truth, but they were also very strong, if not bitter, in their denunciations of all existing religious organizations. They attacked the churches and The Salvation Army, pointing out what they considered wrong so skilfully and with such professions of sanctity, that many people were made most dissatisfied with the churches and with the Army.
An Army Captain listened to them, and was greatly moved by their fervour, their burning appeals, their religious ecstasy, and their denunciations of the lukewarmness of other Christians, including the Army. She began to wonder if after all they were not right, and whether or not the Holy Spirit was amongst us. Her heart was full of distress, and she cried to God. And then the vision of our slum (now Goodwill) officers rose before her eyes. She saw their devotion, their sacrifice, their lowly, hidden service, year after year, among the poor and ignorant and vicious, and she said to herself, ' Is not this the Spirit of Jesus? Would these men, who denounce us so, be willing to forgo their religious ecstasies and spend their lives in such lowly, unheralded service? ' And the mists that had begun to blind her eyes were swept away, and she saw Jesus still amongst us going about doing good in the person of our slum officers and of all who for His name's sake sacrifice their time and money and strength to bless and save their fellow-men.
You who have visions of glory and rapturous delight, and so count yourselves filled with the Spirit, do these visions lead you to virtue and to lowly, loving service? If not, take heed to yourselves, lest, exalted like Capernaum to Heaven, you are at last cast down to Hell. Thank God for the mounts of transfiguration where we behold His glory! But down below in the valley are children possessed of devils; and to them He would have us go with the glory of the mount on our faces, and lowly love and vigorous faith on our hearts, and clean hands ready for any service. He would have us give ourselves to them; and if we love Him, if we follow Him, if we are truly filled with the Holy Spirit, we will.
A Captain used to slip out of bed early in the morning to pray, and then black his own and his Lieutenant's boots. God mightily blessed him. Recently I saw him, now a Commissioner, with thousands of officers and soldiers under his command, at an outing in the woods by the lake shore, looking after poor and forgotten soldiers, and giving them food with his own hand. Like the Lord, his eyes seemed to be in every place beholding opportunities to do good, and his feet and hands always followed his eyes; and this is the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
'HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?
|Chapter 8||Table of Contents||Chapter 10|