W. J. Burrows, New Zealand
The spiritual resources of a believer in Christ are immense and inexhaustible. Since by the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit we have been led into the way of salvation, He would also open to us the ‘wells of salvation’ in order that we may draw therefrom what is so vitally necessary for the maintenance of our spiritual life. It is written of Israel that on their wilderness journeys they ‘did all drink the same spiritual drink’, 1 Cor. 10. 4. They ‘drank of that spiritual Rock that followed (went with them, marg.) them: and that Rock was Christ’. This is worth noting, for it has an application today; they drank and continued drinking. The Word declares that from the smitten rock ‘the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river’, Ps. 105. 41; thus we see the wonderful sufficiency and extravagance of the divine provision. The work of the Holy Spirit in and for the believer has a prominent place in the New Testament; it is a subject of great importance.
A Spiritual Understanding
of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the life and witness of a child of God makes all the difference between sighing or singing, limping or leaping, whining or shining. For instance, our Lord declares that the indwelling of the believer by the Holy Spirit would manifest itself in the outflow of‘rivers of living water’, John 7. 38. Thus the believer is equipped and empowered to meet every need of his terrestrial pathway. Possibly the apostle Paul had this in view when he writes of ‘the supply of the Spirit of jesus Christ’, Phil. 1. 19. Herein lies the provision for all the glow and go of consecrated living. There are two distinct lines of communication by means of which the spiritual life is nourished and maintained. We should consider it to be a matter of first importance that the Word of God be read every day, and it is equally necessary that there should be the daily exercise of the privilege of prayer. This may seem to be elementary, yet, in the experience of thousands of the people of God, such daily practice is the source of guidance and gladness and the strength of all fruitful testimony. They are the
Springs of Vital Godliness
They are the roots that will produce the fruits that will be to the praise of God and the blessing of men. Indeed, it is very suggestive to note how these two spiritual exercises are brought together. It is said of Mary that she ‘sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word’, Luke 10. 39; and in chapter 11 verse 1, ‘one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray. Again, we have the same bracketing of spiritual essentials in the words of the apostle, ‘But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word’, Acts 6. 4. It is so easy to become wound up in the whirl of service for Christ; special meetings may engage our attention and give some temporary impetus to our life and witness. The writings of accredited servants of God may claim a large share of the limited time that most of us have for reading. Such interests have their value, but altogether will not compensate for the loss of daily prayer and the daily reading of the Word of God. In connection with the latter we have not in mind the practice of text hunting, heresy exploding, address preparation, etc. Rather let us lay aside that well-filled note-book, even our well-marked wide margin study Bible (of priceless value in their place) in order that in our daily reading of the Scriptures we may enjoy their pristine purity without note or comment. We have read of an esteemed servant of God who would not use a marginal reference Bible in his devotional reading of the Scriptures, lest his thoughts be diverted from the immediate text. It is of no lesser importance that there should be in the daily routine of the child of God a definite period of unhurried waiting upon God in prayer. Such solitude has been well called ‘the mother country of the soul’; too often, one fears, we regard the exercise of prayer as the cry of a beggar demanding an answer. Or, in reverse, the hurried knock at heaven’s door that does not wait for an answer, somewhat akin to the hurry of a mischievous boy. Would it not be more correct to think of the primary purpose of prayer as being that of communion in which we share together, we telling Him what is in our hearts and He graciously revealing His will to us? Thus shall we stand in His counsel ‘perfect and complete in all the will of God’, Col. 4. 12; our life will then find its true centre, and service its true circumference. These are the fundamentals of spiritual prosperity. At the same time, we do not decry active service for Christ, rather would we encourage such labour in the Lord. Nor would we discourage those who give time and labour in intensive study of Holy Writ. Our purpose in these lines is firstly to commend and emphasize the value of reading the Word of God, that with undivided thought and earnest desire we may hear the voice of His Word, and secondly that we may know the blest experience of waiting upon God in prayer. Too well the devil knows how vital such things are in Christian experience, and they are the main points of his attack. Indeed, a truthful and candid analysis of our own experience would prove that slackness in these two matters lies at the root of all spiritual declension, despite the fact that the wheels of service continue to revolve. May our experience be like that of the prophet: ‘Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation’, Isa. 12. 3.