Life on the Highest Plane
Vol. 3: The Believer's Response to the Holy Spirit's Inworking

Chapter Twenty-Eight
The Believer's Part in Remaining Spirit-filled — Obedience

In response to surrender and faith the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit. As he is emptied of self, God fills; as he takes of Christ, God gives. Becoming rightly related to the Holy Spirit he becomes spiritual. In him the Spirit dwells in fullness because over him He has unhindered control. But the matter cannot be left there, for many a person has been filled with the Holy Spirit who has not remained filled; and life on the highest plane presumes habitual fullness of the Holy Spirit.

 

A STEP LENGTHENS INTO A WALK

Surrender and faith as antecedents in becoming Spirit-filled were both acts. By an act of yielding one takes the step out of a life ruled by self into one governed by Christ. By an act of faith one claims his birthright in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and steps out of a life of stagnancy into one of satisfaction and sufficiency.

To many this step marks such a definite and marvelous advance in spiritual living that it is as noteworthy an event in their spiritual history as was their new birth through faith in Christ as Saviour. The blessing of a life in which Christ is really all and in all is so transcendent that many stop short with the enjoyment of the blessing and do not seek to know how it is to be maintained. To their disappointment they wake some day to the realization that their peace and power have gone.

The twofold act of surrender and faith to be of any permanent value must become an attitude. The decisive act must be crystallized into continuous action. Surrender and faith must be merged into obedience. Obedience is just surrender and faith stretched over a lifetime; the step is lengthened into a walk.

Scripture speaks often of the believer's walk and means by the word his whole manner of living from Sunday to Sunday, from morning till morning. Our walk is what we are translated into what we do; it is character expressed in conduct. It is our calling in Christ in the heavenlies actualized in conduct before men in the world.

1 Thessalonians 2:12, "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory."

Ephesians 4:1, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."

To remain spiritual it is of paramount importance that the believer should pay attention to his walk. Let us then study the nature of the walk of a Spirit-filled Christian.

 

A WALK IN OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S WILL

Obedience is the basic principle in the family life of God. The Son's incarnate life opened the door into the home life of heaven and let us see that obedience to the will of the Father is the secret of its happiness and harmony. Indeed Christ said that obedience constitutes the family tie.

Matthew 12:50, "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Obedience is likewise the basic principle in the heavenly holy order of which Christ is the Head. To become the Head of the Body He was "obedient even unto death" and each member of the Body partakes of the fullness of the life He bestows only through obedience to the obedient One. The preciousness and permanence of our abiding in the fellowship of His love is determined by our obedience to His will as He was obedient to His Father's.

Hebrews 5:8-9, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."

John 15:10, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."

Obedience is the basic principle in the Kingdom of God. There God's will is everything. The peace, joy, content of heaven are due to the fact that there God's will is done perfectly. So life in the Kingdom of God is conditioned upon willingness to do His will.

Matthew 6:10, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Nothing short of loving obedience can keep us in harmony with God because in His family, His society and His Kingdom, His will is sovereign and supreme.

In yielding his life to God the believer acknowledges that God has a right to expect obedience from him and he accepts God's will as the invariable standard for literally everything in his life. By voluntarily choosing the rule of Christ instead of that of self he places himself in the center of God's will.

Then begins the practice of the will of God in a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment walk. Oh! what a difference there is soon found to be between accepting the will of God in principle and submitting to it in practice. It is one thing by one decisive act to put the hand into God's and say, "Father, I have come to do Thy will," and quite another thing to keep it there in the daily walk of life saying, "Father, I delight to do Thy will; it is my meat and drink." Through the pressure of some particular need or under the power of some special inspiration the step out of self-will into God's will may be taken without the realization that the step must lengthen into a continued, sustained, habitual walk.

We often make the mistake of thinking that life lived in the will of God means all sunshine and no storms; that to be filled with the Spirit means exemption from temptation and suffering. But it is not so. A few days ago I started for a walk down a mountain road. The sun was shining brightly and I anticipated the pure delight of a beautiful sunset over the lake and an unclouded view of the mountains. But before long I walked straight into a rainstorm and for half an hour rain and hail came down upon me. There was nothing to do but walk right on which I did and came out later into the sunshine again. Both the sunshine and the storm were allowed by the Father in heaven. So we find it in our walk with Him in daily life. Two things are bound to be encountered in a walk in obedience to the will of God; one is the temptations of Satan, and the other the testings of God.

Every step of the walk in the will of God will be contested by the evil one whose own greatest sin is self-will. He seduced God's first man into disobedience and self-will and the persistent attack that he made upon the second Man throughout His earthly life had but one motive back of it — to deflect Him from a walk of implicit obedience to His Father. The SpiThe Spirit-filled man is now his chief target and the temptation of disobedience is the one fiery dart above all others that he constantly aims at him.

The devil tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of presumption. He tempts him to go beyond the will of God in the matter of the Spirit's manifestation. He says to him, "If thou be Spirit-filled, then speak in tongues." Many earnest people today are being led astray by thinking to prove their reception of the Spirit's fullness by some outer, visible, spectacular manifestation rather than by His inner supernatural presence in power. In this they go beyond the will of God because they go beyond the Word of God.

Satan tempts also through another form of presumption, to lag behind the will of God. He tempts the Spirit-filled man to rely upon his spiritual attainment and to neglect the study of God's Word for personal growth. Resting in his supposed permanent fullness he begins to live on stale manna; to rely for strength upon his own often-repeated testimony; to trust in an unconsciously receding experience. More than one Spirit-filled person has lost his fullness by attempting to live off of it without a constant replenishing.

The devil tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of pride. The Holy Spirit's motto is "Christ everything"; Satan's motto is "Anything but Christ." So he tempts the Spirit-filled man to look away from Christ and to look in unto self. He has achieved a real victory when he gets the Spirit-filled man to rejoice in his fullness and to testify regarding his blessing rather than to rejoice in the Giver of the fullness and to sing praises unto the Blesser. The grave danger of fixing one's eyes upon an experience, however exalted and blessed, instead of upon Him who bestowed it was expressed very tellingly by Spurgeon when he said,

"I looked at Christ
And the dove of peace flew into my'heart;
I looked at the dove of peace —
And it flew away."

The one who places such emphasis upon the blessing is very apt to look reproachfully upon those who have not a similar one. He becomes self-righteous and indulges in criticism and Phariseeism. He looks down upon others with a "holier than thou" attitude which is evidence enough of the diminishing fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Satan tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of persecution. Satan's one purpose is to deflect him from obedience and if he cannot do it by pressure from within he will attempt it by persecution from without. The Spirit-filled men of the early Church were stoned, beaten, imprisoned and killed. The form of persecution endured today by the Spirit-filled Christian may take a different form but it is nonetheless real. He who stands foursquare for "the whole Gospel in the whole Bible for the whole world" in these days of apostasy is bound to endure persecution. Many a person has given place to the devil in the matter of his faith because he could not endure the taunt of being "unscholarly" or "unintellectual" or because he did not have the courage of his conviction in the atmosphere of opposition and denial. But such persecution is certain to come to every godly believer.

2 Timothy 3:11-12, "Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

In this walk of obedience to God's will we shall be met also by the testings of God. Sometimes it has happened that one who has refused to yield to the temptations of Satan has succumbed to defeat through the testings of God. There is the subtle danger that one who has lived a consistent, yielded, devoted Christian life may think that h devoted Christian life may think that he has gained thereby a place of special favor in God's family circle and that he merits exoneration from the sufferings of adversity or affliction. A very earnest, active Christian man recently uttered a doubt as to. the goodness of God because He had permitted an affliction to come into his home. But let us beware of ever thinking that God's love and goodness mean favoritism, and above all let us not lose the blessing out of even the keenest suffering God permits us to endure by failing to trust Him.

It is good for us to know at the very beginning of our walk in obedience to God that it will mean testing through suffering. We have the pattern for such a walk in the earthly life of our Lord. "Though he were a Son yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Think of it — He learned obedience! With a sinless nature that rejoiced above everything else to do His Father's will we would think there would have been no necessity for Him to learn obedience. But the Word tells us that He needed to learn obedience and that this was accomplished through the things that He suffered. Is there one of us who does not need to begin in the primary and go clear through the university in the school of obedience? And if our divine Teacher learned what He would teach us on this great theme through suffering can we expect to learn it in any other way? God does not deceive us in this matter and tells us plainly that we shall be partakers of Christ's sufferings, and this in full accord with His will.

1 Peter 4:12-13, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

1 Peter 4:19, "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."

We shall suffer through the misunderstanding, reproach and rejection of those who refuse the Lord Jesus the rule over their lives. It may even be that those of our own household will inflict upon us the keenest suffering we will ever endure. "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Even our well-doing may be evil spoken of and our work and prayer for the salvation of those we love be wholly misinterpreted. But remember Him who "came unto his own, and his own received him not"; who was accused of "casting out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils," and who wept over Jerusalem saying, "How often would I . . . and ye would not."

1 Peter 3:16-17, R.V., "Having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God should so will, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing."

1 Peter 4:14, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."

We shall suffer through the chastening which in His infinite love God sees is necessary for our spiritual growth. We need to keep constantly in mind the goal which God has set for us — conformity to the image of His Son. "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification." "Be ye holy even as I am holy." It is a wondrous thing God wills to work out in us and He has His own method of doing it. To polish the vessel into greater perfection God often uses the method of chastening. No words are so clear and comforting on this theme as those of Scripture itself.

Hebrews 12:6-11, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth witheth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
     Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

I think of a dear friend whose life is daily being refined as by fire through a terrible affliction which has come upon her only daughter. While talking with her I have seen her face radiant with the light that can come only from a heart at rest in the will of God at the same time her eyes have been blinded with tears. Through her affliction she has become a partaker of the holiness of God.

A Chinese Christian came to talk with me about her old mother for whom she was greatly burdened. She was an ardent idolater and for more than thirty years had been a devoted vegetarian. The daughter had preached the Gospel to her mother, had prayed for her, and had pled with her to become a Christian, but to no avail. The mother's heart hardened rather than softened. "Why does God not hear my prayer for my mother?" she asked almost as though chiding God. I had watched the daughter's face as she talked; there were hard lines in it that were the outward token of inward rebellion. A bit of gentle probing and soon with a flood of tears came the confession of awful rebellion toward God because He had taken her five boys one after another home to Himself — the baby having gone only a month before. "God is unfair and unloving, yes, even cruel!" such was the language of her soul. The will of God was not good and perfect but unjust and unkind. Hardness of heart followed upon rebellion. But God wrought a miracle of grace that day by enabling her joyously to accept and submit to the gracious will of God. Oh! the riches of His grace! The next day in a way wholly inexplicable except by God's supernatural working the old mother came a long distance in from the country to see her daughter. Startled by something in the daughter's face which she had never seen there before she asked what had happened. Then followed the confession of her rebellion toward God because of her affliction and of the hardness of her heart. The old mother's heart was strangely moved and softened and very shortly it opened to admit the Saviour. "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous — nevertheless afterward . . . "

We shall suffer through trials and tribulations permitted to test the sincerity of our surrender and the reality of our faith. Abraham was permitted to build the altar, to lay on the wood, to bind Isaac, to lay him on the altar, to stretch forth his hand, even to take the knife to slay his own son,, before the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." Some such test may be used by God to bring, into the light the quality of our surrender and faith.

1 Peter 1:6-7, R.V., "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

In conversation with a godly man who verily walked with his Lord the fact was disclosed that the life of joy and peace in the Lord which he then enjoyed had come only after he had walked through a hailstorm of trial which had stripped him of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. But you could not have bought him back to his former life had you laid that amount in cash upon his table.

In the recent trouble in Nanking, China, many of the Chinese Christians lost all their earthly possessions. But their hearts were filled with praise that God had counted them worthy to suffer thus for Christ.

Some pamphlets and books which have reached a circulation of hundreds of thousands and have brought untold blessing to countless persons were written by a man whose body is so frail that he can write for only a few moments at a time. But everything that comes from his pen breathes forth the joy and peace of a heart sunk deep into submissiveness to the will of God.

Again some have faltered by the way and failed to walk obediently because they have murmured at God's choice of a path. They rejoiced in the thought of being "made perfect in every good work to do his will" but they mistook a good work for a great work. Instead God asked for a quiet walk with Him in the obscurity of the home, perchance ministering to the needs of an aged parent or a sick sister. God's will was to live joyously before Him and patiently before others, following the example of Him who as truly did His Father's will when making tables in the carpenter shop and assisting in the support of a widowed mother as when He fed five thousand people or taught the multitude. Only a very few of those who were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost were made apostles; most of the one hundred and twenty were sent back into the ordinary life of business and home.

God wishes us at the very beginning of our walk with Him to accept His will as "good and perfect and acceptable" and then to enter into each day sinking our will into His and submitting with joy and gladness to whatever comes during its hours knowing that every testing and trial is being used by Him to mature our growth into the likeness of our Lord.

Hebrews 13:21, "Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

James 1:2-4, R.V., "Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations [trials]: knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing."

 

A WALK IN CONFORMITY TO GOD'S WAYS

God's will is not an intangible, indefinite thing. Indeed so practical is it that it stretches itself over our entire manner of living, claiming the authority to fashion our daily walk.

Deuteronomy 5:33, "Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may he well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess."

1 Kings 3:14, "And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days."

Over the family life of His children the heavenly Father presides and He fully expects to counsel with them regarding the kind of clothes they wear; the books they read; the studies they pursue; the companions they seek; the business they enter; the money they spend; the possessions they have; the life plans they form; their habits of recreation and play as well as of work; and their food and drink. Radiating from the will of God as the center there are ways of thinking, talking, resting, working, playing, eating, dressing, living which are consistent with our home life in the heavenlies and are worthy of the training which we have received of our Father.

Philippians 1:27, R.V., "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ."

Philippians 2:15, R.V., "That ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world."

Yet there are prodigals in the Father's family who despising the restraints in the Father's home go their own way into the far country. There are others who remain at home but reserve the right in certain matters to conform their ways to those of the world. There are Christian men who contend that in business one must use the methods of the world to succeed even if they are somewhat shady and dishonoring. There are earnest Christian women who in matters of dress follow the extreme fashions of the world. There are both men and women who in most of their ways of life have sought and followed the Lord's guidance, yet in the one supreme choice — that of a partner for life — have disobeyed God's illed the house of prayer with the tables of money changers. Many a Christian has ceased to walk in the will of God because at some definite point he has departed from the ways of God. To be filled again with God's Spirit will mean to return to the place of disobedience in confession of sin and then start aright in God's way.

1 Peter 1:14, R.V., "As children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance."

Romans 12:2, R.V., "And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

But it is not only in what we do but in what we do not do that we fail to follow the ways of the Lord. In so many homes God seems to figure so little in the ordinary life of weekdays. The family attends church together on Sunday and perhaps the children are sent to Sunday school but there is no family altar, no blessing at the table, no mention of God in conversation.

 

A WALK IN OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD

Some may plead ignorance of the will of God as an excuse for disobedience. But God does not ask us to walk in the dark. God has spoken to us and His will is clearly revealed in His Word. Over and over again in the Old Testament, God commanded the children of Israel to hearken unto His voice and then to do what they heard. And He commanded parents to teach their children that the children also might walk in the will and way of God. "The word 'obey' comes from a Latin compound, it means that you do in consequence of what you hear." In the New Testament, God makes the same appeal to His children.

Deuteronomy 28:1, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth."

James 1:22-24, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was."

To walk in the whole will of God requires that we walk in the whole truth of God. Some err and depart from walking in God's ways because they reserve to themselves the right to become critics of God's Word and to accept or reject it according to the dictates of reason. But how can one do the will of God when he has rejected some portion of the Word of God which possibly he most needs? Will one who has rejected the personality of the Holy Spirit pay much attention to the command "Be filled with the Spirit"? Another may have refused to accept the truth of a life of victory over the power of sin, even thinking it an unscriptural doctrine. Then he is not likely to obey the command to reckon himself dead to sin and to let it not reign over him. Walking in the will of God demands a walking in the truth of God.

2 John 4, "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father."

3 John 4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

When one has accepted the whole truth of God's inspired Word, he has opened his whole being to the light that streams from the throne of God and he has come into such an adjustment to the Spirit of truth that he can be led into a walk in the pure light of God's Word.

John 16:13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."

1 John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

The one who submits himself to the teaching of the Holy Spirit and who takes the Word of God to be the standard by which his life is to be fashioned and directed will be filled with an intense desire to know the will of God. He will make it the most fervent prayer of his life that he may be filled with a knowledge of God's will so that he may walk worthy of his Lord.

Colossians 1:9-10, "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing."

To such a man the Word of God becomes a new Book and the discovery of God's will therein will not be a duty to be shunned but a delight to be enjoyed. His spiritual life may be marvelously enriched or even quite revolutionized by the discovery of and obedience to some command. The "Unknown Christian" in How to Live the Victorious Life gives this personal testimony, "As the writer looks back on his past life nothing so surprises him as the fact that he failed to see, or grasp, or apprehend this Victorious Life teaching, although it is not new, although it is so plainly taught in Scripture."

Think of the change that would be wrought in some life given up to worry, anxiety and fretfulness if the commands "In nothing be anxious" (Philippians 4:6, R.V.) and "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15) were really obeyed. See the sunshine of joy and praise flood some murmuring, discontented, grumbling heart that begins to live by "Be ye thankful" (Colossians 3:15), "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and "Rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4). What times of defeat and depression we might avoid if we just did as God commanded, "Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27), "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). What a preventive to yielding to temptation and what a defense against Satan's attacks is for us in this command, "Put on the whole armour of God" (Ephesians 6:11). What a wealth of blessing we might carry even in our casual contacts with people if we were zealous to follow His direction regarding our conversation. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29). What division among Christians would be displaced by the unity for which our Lord prayed if we obeyed some of His simple, direct commands. "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others" (Philippians 2:3-4), "Be subject one to another . . . be clothed with humility" (1 Peter 5:5). What relief even from physical suffering might result from habitual obedience to His command, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). What possibilities of testimony to others of the beauty, glory and attractiveness of the life in Christ by simple obedience to His Word, "And whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17).

But perhaps to some a walk of such complete obedience seems unattractive; while to others it seems impossible. Whether or not it is attractive and desirable to us will depend upon two things, our confidence in the Lord and our love for Him. Do we truly believe that God is love? Then we must believe that His will is "good and perfect" and that every command is given not only for the sake of His glory but for our welfare. God is not a tyrannical despot who rejoices in lording it over His subjects. He does not command simply to show His authority. God is a Father and every command He gives looks toward both the immediate and the ultimate good of His child. Our unshakeable belief in the infinite goodness and kindness of God is essential to the joyous obedience to His commands. But we cannot force ourselves to love His will. Our love for God must dovetail into His love for us before we joyously obey His commands. When once we truly love Him more than we love ourselves, more than we love any other person, or thing, then God's commands are not grievous but gracious to us; they cease to be a duty and become a delight.

John 14:21, 23, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall he loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

But to some it seems an utter impossibility to keep the commandments of God. This leads us to our last thought.

 

A WALK IN THE SPIRIT

Let us admit without hesitation that a life of obedience to God in our own strength is absolutely impossible. We have not the power in ourselves to obey even one command habitually, to say nothing of the power for a continuous walk in obedience.

But for that reason let us not conclude that God asks something unreasonable or impracticable and therefore impossible and thus excuse ourselves for settling down into habitual disobedience. Frances Ridley Havergal says truly, "We may be quite sure of three things. First, that whatever our Lord commands us, He really means us to do. Secondly, that whatever He commands is 'for our good always.' And thirdly, that whatever He commands He is able and willing to enable us to do, 'for all God's biddings are enablings.'"

If "God's bidding is His enabling," then our part is to discover His provision for a walk in obedience to His will, His way's and His Word.

Galatians 5:25, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

Galatians 5:16, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

By accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour the believer is translated into the sphere of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, then, stands ready to take all responsibility for a "walk" that is in full accord with such a "life." He comes into the believer to indwell and to infill for that very purpose. He knows the mind and the will of God and He will unfold it to us through the Word of God and give to us the desire and the strength to obey.

1 Peter 1:22, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."

The Holy Spirit knows the ways of God and He will reveal them to us through the Word and guide our footsteps into the right paths so that We may walk step by step in obedience to the will of God. He will restrain us from one course and constrain us toward another, lie will rebuke and reprove us whenever we step out into any bypath of the flesh. If in some particular issue self is allowed to regain supremacy and some part of our walk is dishonoring to God, the Holy Spirit will work within us to guide us back. He not only guides but He guards. He knows every motion and activity of the flesh, every subtle trick and evil design to trip and ensnare the one who walks with God. And He is able even to keep us from stumbling. If we have yielded to Him the control of our lives and have put all authority into His hands, He acts the responsibility for our walk before God and men.

Romans 8:14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

Jude 24, R.V., "Now unto him that is able to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of his glory without blemish in exceeding joy."

Chafer in his book He That Is Spiritual has stated so helpfully the meaning of a walk in the Spirit that I shall quote at length from it. "The passage [referring to Galatians 5:16] is better rendered 'This I say then, By means of the Spirit be walking, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh!' The child of God has no power within himself whereby he can enter, promote, or maintain a 'walk in the Spirit.' This Scripture when rightly rendered, does not make the impossible demand upon a Christian that he in his own strength is to accomplish a 'walk in the Spirit.' It is rather revealed that the Spirit will do the walking in the Christian. The human responsibility is that of a whole dependence upon the Spirit. Walking by means of the Spirit is simply walking by a definite reliance upon the ability and power of the One who indwells. . . . The third condition of true spirituality is, then, an unbroken reliance upon the Spirit to do what He has come to do and what He alone can do. Such is the Father's provision that sin may be prevented in the life of His child . . . . The child of God has an all-engaging responsibility of continuing in an attitude of reliance upon the Spirit. This is his divinely appointed task and place of cooperation in the mighty undertakings of God. The locomotive engineer will accomplish little when pushing at his ponderous train. He is not appointed to such a service. His real usefulness will begin when he takes his place at the throttle. The important conflict in the believer's life is to maintain the unbroken attitude of reliance upon the Spirit. Thus, and only thus, can the Spirit possess and vitalize every human faculty, emotion and choice."

If to some a walk in habitual obedience to the will, the ways and the Word of God even in the power of the indwelling Spirit still seems impossible, let us remember that a walk is taken step by step. It is a step at a time. And each step taken in obedience makes the next step easier. As we walk in the Spirit our confidence in His power to guide and to guard us deepens and our reliance upon Him grows.

 

Chapter Twenty-Nine

 

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