How to Keep Free in the Meeting
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1).
My purpose in this chapter is to give the convert a few brief hints on how to keep free and enjoy the meetings. One must be in possession of the joy and freedom of the Spirit if he would feel contented and at home in the house of God. Satan, too, is aware of this fact and uses every conceivable method possible to prevent us from enjoying the religious services. It is no marvel, however, for he is well aware of the fact that if we cease to enjoy the services it will be only a matter of time before we will cease to attend them.
Now, dear one, the first way to derive benefit from a meeting is to give in your testimony if possible. It is true you may not be able to give in a long, loud testimony like some of the older Christians, nevertheless, get up and tell your little story and it will help you. In testifying do not try to imitate anyone but be yourself. Do not feel that you must give in a long string of words about Tom, Dick and Harry in order to constitute testifying. To testify means to tell where you are, and how you stand spiritually at the present moment. It will also greatly help you if you would say, “Amen,” and, “Praise the Lord,” occasionally when the other folks are testifying and when the minister is preaching. It will help you to keep free, help to lift things in the meeting and also be a source of encouragement to the one who is testifying or preaching.
2. To take up your cross and lead in prayer will also be of great help to your soul. In the beginning of the meeting is generally the best time for beginners to pray and get their testimony in, for if they defer it until the tide of the meeting rises the water will be too deep for converts to swim in. It is always best to step in at the shallowest point.
Now, dear one, when you are leading in prayer, do not allow yourself to get in bondage to the people and feel that you must say a lot of pretty, poetical words, neither should you be so greatly concerned about your verbs, adjectives, nouns, etc., but let your chief aim he to get hold of God. Do not pick up words and use them in prayer just because you heard some one else use them.
Once, while in the city of New Orleans, La., we heard a man say with quite a bit of earnestness in prayer one evening, “Lord, give me the gift of gab.” This poor soul did not know what he was praying for. He no doubt used this word because he had heard some one else use it.
When you are praying do not form the habit of repeating the same sentence over and over. There are two things on the line of prayer which Jesus did not speak very favorably of. One is “Vain repetition” (Matt. 6:7), and the other is “Long prayers” (Luke 20:47).
3. Make it a point to be present at every service as far as possible. If you carelessly miss one service it will make it much easier to miss the next one. You must also train yourself to be prompt and on time to meeting just as you are to your daily employment. To come in ten or fifteen minutes late does not make a good impression on others.
4. It is also a portion of your Christian duty to tithe your income, i.e., give the Lord ten cents out of every dollar you earn. What saith God’s word on this subject?
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).
If all professing Christians would pay their tithes the church would never have to appeal to the unsaved for financial assistance.