March 17th – A Glorious Failure

In the last century an American preacher called Henry Varley said, in a sermon “The world has yet to see what God can do with a thoroughly consecrated man”. There were ‘Amens’ and grunts of agreement, but there was also one very young American man in the gallery who vowed then and there, before the Lord, ‘God helping me – I will be that man’.
Now I have to admit right now, that he failed. That’s not my assessment – it is his. He did his best to be a thoroughly consecrated man, but he was a failure, even reaching the level of which I, for one, would be proud of ever attaining. His name was D. L. Moody. A hundred years ago he was a world-famous evangelist. God used that man so mightily that even to this day people speak of his influence in evangelism and revival. My favourite quotation from D. L. Moody is that when he was asked ‘Have you been filled with the Holy Spirit?’ he replied, ‘Yes, but I leak’.
There are two kinds of fullness. There is static fullness, like when you fill a vessel and no matter how much you pour into it, it can take no more: it is full. The other kind of fullness is organic, as when, after a good dinner you are full, but in a few hours you will need another filling. Like the early church in Acts of Apostles, these consecrated Christians who had been once baptised in the Holy Spirit needed continually ‘topping up’, refilling day by day. Just notice in the first few chapters of Acts how many times it says of those who had been baptised in the Spirit at Pentecost again ‘were filled with the Holy Spirit’. Thoroughly Christian consecration is a lifetime of response of the human will open to God’s offer of continual spiritual refilling. It is the admission that we have an appetite for God. We can never have enough. We are always hungry for more of Him. The more we have, the more we need.
In Ephesians Chapter 5 v.18, Christians are warned not to confuse emotional intoxication with spiritual fullness: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled by the Holy Spirit.
The words ‘be filled’ are passive (it is something which happens to us) imperative (a command, not a bit of advice), and present continuous (ongoing process): so we could translate them: ‘Keep on being filled by the Spirit’.
A Prayer: Lord, as your call goes out to millions this day to be fully consecrated to Christ, let there be one or more than one who will answer: “God helping me – I will be that one”, and let it last their lifetime.
Now read John 7: 37-39.

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Raphael carried his candle in his cap lest his own shadow fall upon his painting.

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