Power For The Entire Man
God never intended that man should be sufficient of himself to fulfill properly any of the high functions of life, or to adequately discharge any of its important duties with out Divine aid. Spiritual power, the power of the Holy Spirit, is an essential to all men. The tendency is to limit this need to what is called spiritual work, but it is needed for the proper discharge of all sorts of legitimate work, and so we might say that to one is given the spirit of merchandise, to another the gift of banking, and to another the skill of a mechanic, and to another motherhood and domesticity, and to another agriculture, to another the power to rule, and to another the spirit of service. The Holy Spirit anoints one to preach and another to hear; one to write and another to read; and all these are but the different manifestations of that one and same Spirit who is God the Holy Spirit.
The Holy One does not give different faculties, or new natural abilities, but He does supplement the lack that all serious men feel; He does intensify, give point and force, and marshal the natural adaptation of each against the difficulties that are encountered, so that “One shall chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight.” Men fail in their work because they lack the power of God, but no man fails no matter what his work, who is energized by the Spirit, for. the promise of the Master is, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you.”
By these remarks I would emphasize to a seeker of this power, the importance of not trying to be made like any other man, or to set God in any way a plan, but simply to receive the promised Holy Spirit, and let His power work out the finished product in your life. While the Holy Spirit imparts different gifts to Christians, He also gives different degrees of the same kind of gift to different individuals, as it may please Him. So that it is not for us to say whether we shall be Spirit-filled men of the first or any other magnitude, and no man in my opinion can enjoy the fullness of the Spirit unless he is as willing to be last as he is to be first, as willing to be the least as he is to be chief in this spiritual kingdom. This possibly may be one reason why so few are filled with all the fullness of God, for the last thing that dies even in a good man is the desire that he should be an important person.
But, if I may repeat the question, what is spiritual power? I would answer in a word, that it is the power of God in a man, by which he is enabled to do the work, and act well the part which God has assigned to him. It is simply the power to do one’s “whole duty, the power to be a faithful steward of the manifold grace of God; but I will give a few particulars.
In the first place I would say that it is the possession of the constant testimony of the Holy Spirit that we are well pleasing to God; to hear always the words that were heard concerning Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” to know that “The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God;” to realize that ” He hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
To have such an experience of God’s approval, presupposes that we have learned the secret of obedience, that we do know how to avail ourselves of the Holy Spirit, and that by His strength we constantly do the will of God so that His witness is to an actual accomplished fact. It is dangerous to say it, but practically it is the power to live without sin. Now no mere man can so live; for the seductions and the weaknesses of human nature are so great, the subtlety of the Devil and evil are so fascinating, the mysterious influences of evil spirits are so constant and powerful, that human nature alone is unable to cope with them. But the battle is with God and not with man; and a man filled with the Holy Spirit is more than a match for all the powers of evil.
Mere men it seems to me must constantly sin in thought word and deed, but “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” to live without committing sin. And as stated before, such a man is not a mere man, but a man plus the Holy Spirit, and he must of necessity be invincible against the powers of darkness.
God certainly does not intend to take away moral responsibility or to save a man from the necessity of learning by his mistakes; nor does He do for him what He intends him to do for himself, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit to do that which a man cannot do for himself, and to supply the necessary power to every spiritual weakness so that one who is filled with the Spirit can live in a way to constantly please God. There certainly is no room for human boasting here, but for profound humility and thankfulness, and such a soul will make her boast only in God and give Him all the glory.
Spiritual power also causes us to see God in all the events of His providence and to know that all things work together for our good. The saints of old knew that, “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord” and Jesus taught that, such is God’s care of His children, that the very hairs of their heads are numbered. This means that God is interested in all the details of our life and permits nothing to happen except that which will work out our highest good.
Therefore, He being Almighty, no misfortune can befall His children; but all that does happen to them is either a blessing plainly seen, which excites the sensations of sight with holy emotion, or it is a blessing disguised for a purpose, which calls forth the liveliest exercises of faith, with profound thankfulness. Sighing, lamentation, woe, regret, desiring sympathy, eagerness for praise, are words not needed in our vocabulary when describing the experience of the Spirit-filled Christian,