Now Playing: Are we allowing God to work in and through our lives ?
God never gives intrinsic power to His saints.
"I God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God." (Psalm 62:11)
If this is important in the lives of the saints, how much more, if I may draw a distinction, is it for those who are called upon to serve in the word. Yet in every service and in every action in the lives of God's people, the power of God is needful, that they may walk and serve and work and toil in the energy of the Spirit, and in the expression of the life of Jesus in their mortal flesh.
For this end, another character of discipline takes place after deliverance is known. This may be more or less spread across their lives, but one absolutely needful to produce that condition in which the power of Christ works: which is, as we read, "made perfect in weakness."
The object of this discipline is not easily distinguished at first by the majority of saints, it is more often divined and felt by those who serve outwardly in the word, than in the ordinary pathways of the people of God. It frequently happens, too, that it mixes itself up with exercises before deliverance is known, and is not easily separated from these, in the analysis of the soul's history.
However, although we may confound them experimentally in ourselves, scripture distinguishes them most clearly. It is only as we grow in the apprehension of the word, and of the mind of the Spirit there, that we are able to give to each its place and its true interpretation. We only know in part, at best, while here; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away; and then shall we know even as also we are known.
Saul had served amongst the saints for some years before he was separated to the work to which he had been called. This took place formally and definitely at Antioch (Acts xiii.), where he was sent forth by the Holy Ghost on his first mission amongst the Gentiles ; but going, as he always did, "to the Jew first." We find this mission described at length in chapters xiii. and xiv. of the Acts of the Apostles. The vessel had been prepared in quiet, and now in going forth into that wider harvest field, he needed special dealings of the Lord to strip him finally and fully from every thought of quasi strength in man.
The very success of the work, and the power of God manifested towards souls, needed corresponding dealings to countervail the tendencies of the flesh. It ever seeks to intrude, and hinder the work of God. Often, in apparently insignificant ways, its intrusion is felt by one' s self or by others: like the "dead flies" which "cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour."