GROWING IN GRACE STUDIES
Blogging with TheologyGirl & ReformedWomen
BOOK: The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
V. THE BLESSING SECURED, Part I
“Be filled with the Spirit.”–Ephesians, 5:18.
I may have some air, a little air, in my lungs, but not enough to keep up a healthy, vigorous life. But everyone seeks to have his lungs well filled with air, and the benefit of it will be felt in his blood and through his whole being. And just so the word of God comes to us, and says, “Christians, do not be content with thinking that you have the Spirit, or have a little of the Spirit; but, if you want to have a healthy life, be “filled with the Spirit.” Is that your life? Or are you ready to cry out, “Alas, I do not know what it is to be filled with the Spirit, but it is what I long for.” I want to point out to such the path to come to this great, precious blessing which is meant for every one of us.
Before I speak further of it, let me just note one misunderstanding which prevails. People often look upon being “filled with the Spirit” as something that comes with a mighty stirring of the emotions, a sort of heavenly glory that comes over them, something that they can feel strongly and mightily; but that is not always the case. I was recently in Niagara Falls. I noticed, and I was told, that the water was unusually low. Suppose the river were doubly full, how would you see that fullness in the Falls? In the increased volume of water pouring over the cataract, and its tremendous noise. But go to another part of the river, or to the lake, where the very same fullness is found, and there is perfect quiet and placidity, the rise of the water is gentle and gradual, and you can hardly notice that there is any disturbance as the lake gets full. And just so it may be with a child of God. To one it comes with mighty emotion and with a blessed consciousness, “God has touched me!” To others it comes in a gentle filling of the whole being with the presence and the power of God by His Spirit. I do not want to lay down the way in which it is to come to you, but I want you simply to take your place before God, and say, “My Father, whatever it may mean, that is what I want.” If you come and give yourself up as an empty vessel and trust God to fill you, God will do His own work.
And now, the simple question as to the steps by which we can come to be “filled with the Spirit.” I shall note four steps in the way by which a man can attain this wonderful blessing. He must say, (1), “I must have it,” then, (2), “I may have it,” and, then, (3) “I will have it,” and then, last, Thank God, “I (4) shall have it.”
1. The first word a man must begin to say, is, “I must have it.” He must feel “It is a command of God, and I cannot live unfilled with the Spirit without disobeying God.” It is a command here in this text, –“Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” Just as much as a man dare not get drunk, if he is a Christian, just as much must a man be filled with the Spirit. God wants it, and oh, that every one might be brought to say, “I must, if I am to please God, I must be filled with the Spirit!”
2. I fear there is a terrible, terrible self-satisfaction among many Christians, –they are content with their low level of life. They think they have the Spirit because they are converted, but they know very little of the joy of the Holy Ghost, and of the sanctifying power of the Spirit. They know very little of the fellowship of the Spirit linking them to God and to Jesus. They know very little of the power of the Spirit to testify for God, and yet they are content; and one says, “Oh, it is only for eminent Christians.” A very dear young friend once said to me as I was talking to her–(it was a niece of my own)–“Oh, Uncle Andrew, I cannot try to make myself better than the Christians around me. Wouldn’t that be presumptuous?” And I said, “My child, you must not ask what the Christians around you are, but you must be guided by what God says.” She has since confessed to me how bitterly ashamed she has become of that expression, and how she went to God to seek His blessing. Oh, friends, do not be content with that half Christian life that many of you are living, but say, “God wants it, God commands it; I must be filled with the Spirit.”
And look not only at God’s command, but look at the need of your own soul. You are a parent, and you want your children blessed and converted, and you complain that you haven’t power to bless them. You say, “My home must be filled with God’s Spirit.” You complain of your own soul, of times of darkness and of leanness; you complain of watchlessness and wandering. A young minister once said to me, “Oh, why is it I have such a delight in study and so little delight in prayer?”–And my answer was, “My brother, your heart must get filled with a love for God and Jesus, and then you will delight in prayer.” You complain sometimes that you cannot pray. You pray so short, you do not know what to pray, something drags you back from the closet. It is because you are living a life, trying to live a life, without being filled with the Spirit. Oh, think of the needs of the church around you. You are a Sunday School teacher; you are trying to teach a class of ten or twelve children, not one of them, perhaps, converted, and they go out from under you unconverted; you are trying to do a heavenly work in the power of the flesh and earth. Sunday School teachers, do begin to say, “I must be filled with the Spirit of God, or I must give up the charge of those young souls; I cannot teach them.”
Or, think of the need of the world. If you were to send out missionaries full of the Holy Ghost, what a blessing that would be! Why is it that many a missionary complains in the foreign field, “There I learned how weak and how unfit I am?” It is because the churches from which they go are not filled with the Holy Ghost. Someone said to me in England a few weeks ago, “They talk so much about the volunteer movement and more missionaries; but we want something else, we want missionaries filled with the Holy Ghost.” If the church is to come right, and the mission field is to come right, we must each begin with himself. It must begin with you. Begin with yourself and say, “O God, for Thy sake; O God, for Thy church’s sake; O God, for the sake of the world, help me! I must be filled with the Holy Ghost.”
What folly it would be for a man who had lost a lung and a half, and had hardly a quarter of a lung to do the work of two, to expect to be a strong man and to do hard work, and to live in any climate! And what folly for a man to expect to live–God has told him he cannot live–a full Christian life, unless he is full of the Holy Ghost! And what folly for a man who has only got a little drop of the river of the water of life to expect to live and to have power with God and man! Jesus wants us to come and to receive the fulfilment of the promise, “He that believeth in Me, streams of water shall flow out from him.” Oh, begin to say, “If I am to live a right life, if I am in every part of my daily life and conduct to glorify my God, I must have the Holy Spirit–I must be filled with the Spirit.” Are you going to say that? Talking for months and months won’t help. Do submit to God, and as an act of submission say, “Lord, I confess it, I ought to be filled, I must be filled; help me!” And God will help you.
Next Week: “The Blessings Secured” Part II