The Heart Of Christianity – By T. S. Linscott

Chapter 11

Spiritual Power And Success

If life is a lottery as some unbelievers foolishly say, then the Christian draws all prizes and no blanks; and if he does draw what looks like a blank, it is for him better than a prize. Life is certainly full of pitfalls and dangers, but the Christian filled with the Spirit of wisdom falls into none of them. If it is true that nine men out often are failures, then the man in whom the Spirit of God dwells is always the tenth, for spiritual power precludes the possibility of failure.

It is not denied that things do happen to Christians which are called failures, and they get into positions that are said to be calamitous, but it is the universal testimony of Christians afterwards in looking at the results, that failure was only another name for success, and blessing was simply misnamed-calamity, and every Christian testifies in the light of past experience that all things have worked together for his good.

But, present spiritual power enables one to call things by their proper names as they transpire; to rejoice in tribulation at the time, and to recognize the hand of God in sorrow; to be thankful for every experience that comes, no matter how seemingly sad to the eye of sense.

But this can only be done by the power of God, and therefore we see divinity in the words of the man who wrote from his own experience, “Not only so, but we glory in tribulations also,” and again, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” This is an experience beyond the range of philosophy; too subtle to be scientifically understood; more extravagant than poets ever dreamed of, and to which Christians attain only by waiting upon God in faith for the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus,” But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.”

One true sign of spiritual power is that the work which God commits to us, is successfully done. The adaptation of nature to carry out her evident purposes; the fitness of every power in the universe to perform its functions, the evidence of design in earth, sea and sky; the fact that the universe is known to be a vast machine, with most complicated mechanism, the one part fitted to every other part with absolute perfection, and the whole accomplishing an intelligent purpose; has for ages been used to demonstrate the existence of God; and although this method of reasoning may fall short of actual proof of the existence of the God we believe in, it certainly does demonstrate the existence of a Being who has made all things to accomplish His purpose with unerring certainty.

The will and purpose of God is stamped upon all creation, animate and inanimate, and all carry out His sovereign purpose. Man alone, it is said, has been invested with intelligence and free will, and he alone has seen fit to balk or frustrate the purpose of God. Had he, however, remained morally and spiritually true as the balance of the universe has been mechanically and physically true, he too would have accomplished every purpose the Creator planned for him. The religion of Jesus is to restore man to harmony with God; to adjust him to his environment; to fit him for the work which he ought to do. It is clear that God has a work for each man, and it must be that the work is adapted to the worker, and all men who come back to God according to Jesus plan, and who receive the Holy Spirit as He directs, will succeed in every detail of life and carry out the purpose of God the same as all the rest of the universe. No matter what may be the weakness of the man or the demands of the work. God’s children are supplied with adequate “Power after that they have received the Holy Ghost.”

A man under the full control of the Master, will assuredly find the work for which he is intended and fitted, and this alone is a guarantee of success. Those of course who take the bit between their teeth and go their own way at their own pace, will be likely to make failures and miss the road on which God intends them to travel, but the possession of spiritual power keeps a man from doing this, for it is impossible that God will misdirect any man.

It is true that we must let God be the judge of what success really is, and in this we have to walk by faith, for often a state of things transpires, which seems like failure, but if we are true to God, it is only seeming failure, and seeming failure is either itself success or the only road that can lead to it. Another of the results of spiritual power is the ability given us to always choose with wisdom the way we should walk and the work we should undertake.

The question has been debated for ages as to whether human actions and destiny are necessary or contingent; that is, whether Must or May, regulates our present actions and future position. Much can be said in favor of either contention, and from many standpoints it does seem that we are the creatures of circumstances, that our characters and consequent actions are formed for us and not by us; that the position in which we now find ourselves and the opinions we now hold have been brought about by a process outside of our choice.

Certainly we had no voice in choosing our paternity, or the surroundings of our birth and early training, and it looks as if nine-tenths of character and future position depended upon these two original conditions. Looking from this standpoint alone, we would say that we are creatures of circumstances and the sport of chance; as much under the law of necessity as the universe is under the law of gravitation. But when we take God into consideration and the fact that He must have a plan and a purpose in each man’s life; and when we think of man with his almost omnipotent power of will and choice, then it looks as though man was tinder the law of May and not Must, that his actions are dependent upon himself and not upon necessity. Powerful as are heredity and early training, influential as are circumstances and environment to shape our course, decide our character or fix our destiny; there are mightier forces at our call which can overturn and bring to naught all influences that would tend to keep us from our God-appointed walk and work.

I have just referred to “The almost omnipotent power of the human will,” but I do not mean by that, that an effort of mere will or purpose however strong, will evolve out of a man’s self a power that will bring about any desired result; but I do mean that the will is mighty to choose right and refuse wrong, to link itself to God, or to refuse so to do; and that upon this exercise of the will, character and destiny depend. The Holy Spirit and Scripture, the inner self and reason, not only teach a man his impotency to direct his own course, and to obey his best impulses, but call aloud to him to join himself to the Infinite; and if he will but obey this fourfold call,” He will not full direction lack or miss his providential way.” The practical unbelief among Christians on the question of Divine guidance is simply appalling, in view of the clear voice of revelation on the subject.

If one thing is clearer than another in both Old and New Testaments, it is that God is the guide of His people, that “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord;” that ” The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord.” We are to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways and He will direct our paths. If we lack wisdom we may ask of God and He will supply it. But Jesus is more emphatic than any concerning sure and certain guidance, and says that when the Holy Spirit comes Pie will guide us into all truth, and will teach us all things. In fact, no person can read the words of our Lord and Master concerning the Holy Spirit, without seeing that the Comforter is to dwell with the Christian as a continual guest, and that His business with him is to guide him in the right way, and teach him all truth as fast as he can stand the lessons.

God enters into security with every Spirit-led Christian that he shall never miss his way or his work, and he only is the wise man who takes God at His word, and in the simplicity of faith walks through life with the full consciousness that he is so guided. It is a walk of faith pure and simple for to-day, but when to-day becomes yesterday, faith has received a scientific justification by the only true test, for then faith is always vindicated by actual knowledge.

Now if I am right in these conclusions as to spiritual power, I fear that thereby I condemn a great many religions teachers, for I rarely read or hear the teaching concerning the Master’s great bequest as He himself taught.

The gospel I hear and read from Christian teachers with rare exception is a true gospel, so far as it goes; but it is very incomplete; the truths that Jesus laid most stress upon being almost completely overlooked, and the truths which He only incidentally alluded to being preached with great vigor. Is it possible that the reason for this is in the fact that, few have received the Holy Spirit or tarried as He directed, until they have been endued with the spiritual power which comes upon the advent of the Comforter?