The Progressive Life – By Elmer Shelhamer

Chapter 7

The Pillar Experience

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” — Rev. 3:12

Here we have a further development in the overcoming life. Keep in mind that this was that helpless child, who has now become a seasoned soldier who can endure hardness. Now he is a “pillar in the temple of my God.” Pillars, as a rule, are not so beautiful as pulpits, but they are more essential! Pillars hold things up. Were it not for pillars, great buildings would, collapse. Pillars in large warehouses may be used for various purposes — not only to hold things together, but they frequently have driven into them great nails and bolts upon which are hung important things.

Oh, is it not wonderful that we can become so fixed and established that we will be dependable? That same man or woman who was once vacillating and easily “hurt” does not pull off and threaten to leave the church now because things do not go to suit him.

I come to your home, and upon ringing the bell a beautiful maiden opens the door and invites me in. Her sister appears, and they both entertain me. Oh, how they can sing and make the piano talk! After some time, a beautiful woman appears in a white apron. She bows, introducing herself, saying: “Supper is now ready.” We go out into the dining room and she says, “Father will soon be in — he is just washing his hands.” Presently he appears and begs pardon for being in his overalls. He sits at the head of the table while his wife sits at the other end. The children sit on the sides, and I begin to remark that this is a beautiful and well-cooked meal. I notice the pictures on the walls are hanging just right.

But we could not have enjoyed that music and that repast, had it not been for those two pillars, Father and Mother. His hands may be wrinkled, his finger nails unpainted, furrows appear on his face; but notwithstanding all this, he and his good wife are more essential to the upkeep of that home than are those beautiful maidens.

Likewise, every church may produce those who can sing, shout and make a fair show in the flesh; but sometimes the pastor is pained when he misses them from services. He thinks to himself, “Did they take offense at what I said last Sabbath?” or “Are they staying away because of the way the election of delegates to conference turned out?”

Not so, with a few old pillars! Thank God. If they are not present at the midweek prayer meeting or Sabbath services, the pastor has no uneasiness. He knows they are all right. They are busy serving the Lord! They have started a revival or a prayer meeting in their own neighborhood. They are pillars that “shall go no more out.”

Yes, a pillar may be rugged and unpolished, yet he is the one of whom God says, “I will write upon him my name, and my city.” This immediately lends prestige and influence. Oh, my friends, what could be greater than to walk down the streets of this city, the new Jerusalem, with God’s own signature all over me? He wrote it Himself — not His secretary, with a rubber stamp, but He, Himself, wrote upon me His own name and the name of His city, even the new Jerusalem! Oh, this is worth more than paint and polish that can easily be rubbed off! Friend, I would rather be old-fashioned, yea, unlettered, yea, never invited to give an after-dinner speech at a great banquet, yet be worth something when the fight is on and drudgery work needs to be done — than to look wise and be useless.

“To be a pillar in the temple of God indicates that the soul has penetrated from the outer courts of religious life into the very center of that glorious spiritual structure which the Holy Ghost has been fashioning through the centuries. It is evident that all believers who enter into that glorious structure will not rank as pillars, for it would be out of keeping for every piece in the temple to be a pillar. And we notice that this promise was not given in the earliest stages of the overcoming life, but reserved for the last stage previous to sitting with Christ in His throne. There are thousands of degrees of grace among God’s children.

“When it pleases God to take one of His servants and make him a pillar in the temple, Christ then affirms, ‘He shall go no more out.’ We are to take these words to mean just what they say. We have seen in previous steps that there are points in grace from which the soul may retrograde and be lost forever; but the Scriptures just as clearly teach that there is a point in Divine life where the believer’s glorious destiny is forever settled.” — Watson