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HINTS FOR WORKERS
God’s fellow-workers (1 Corinthians 3v9), who watch [for] souls as those that shall give account (Hebrews 13v17).
Seek to meet souls on their own level, and to look at difficulties from their standpoint (1 Corinthians 9v22). Give them sympathy (1 Peter 3v8); but gently lead their thoughts away from the human to the Divine side. Give them encouragement and do not cast them down (1 Thessalonians 2v11, & 5v14). Always teach them that the ground of their peace is the priceless blood of Christ, not their feelings or experiences.
Seek to be but a ‘voice’ used to direct souls to Christ. Be willing to pass out of sight and be forgotten, and do not allow your thoughts to dwell upon the honour of being ‘used’ (See 2 Corinthians 12v15, John 1v37, John 3v26-30).
Fear the human impress upon the souls you help, for that must pass away; and covet to be but an instrument through whom the Spirit of God can work unhindered (Colossians 1v29, Romans 15v18).
Seek for grace to discern the working of God in souls, so as to co-operate with Him, and to be able to wait with, and for Him, in His long patience (James 5v7). Fear to push souls beyond their measure thus hinder His work in them (Isaiah 42v3-4, 2 Corinthians 6v1). Pray for heavenly wisdom to know the grace wherein a soul stands experimentally (Romans 5v2), that you may lead it on to the next stage. Never scold it for not ‘seeing’ all at once. God is tender with His children and ‘allures’, not forces, them on (Job 36v16, John 16v12, 1 Corinthians 3v2).
Seek earnestly to know the ‘silence of Jesus’, and never talk of ‘where people are’ in their spiritual growth. The ‘measuring rod’ is for ourselves (as to our limits), not others (2 Corinthians 10v12-17). Give diligence to cultivate the unity of the Spirit and do not dwell upon ‘divisions’, but pour out the love of God upon all who appear to misjudge you. Enter into the interests of others (Romans 15v2) and be fervent in prayer and silent in speech over all un-Christ-likeness (1 Peter 4v8).
Seek to manifest that lowliness of mind which makes it easy to take the lowest place (Philippians 2v3). Never argue nor enter into discussions that ‘gender strife’ (2 Timothy 2v23). Note the symptoms of the soul-sickness described in 1 Timothy 6v4 that you may not ‘minister questions, rather than godly edifying’ (1 Timothy 1v4).
Do not dogmatise over anything, much less ‘doubtful’ things, nor be anxious to press others to walk by your light (1 Corinthians 7v17). Lead souls to search the written Word to know the mind of the Spirit for themselves. God will teach honest souls. Give credit to others for integrity of heart in desiring to do the will of God (Romans 14v1).
Seek to live in unbroken communion with God, so that there may be a continuous inflow of Divine life to quicken all past-knowledge of His truth. Light without life is our danger. Witnesses are needed to tell out what they know, not what they think; to such testimony the Spirit will bear witness also (John 15v26-27), the letter of the Word will not merely lodge in the intellect of others, but sink into the heart and spring forth into life eternal (2 Corinthians 3v6).
If we teach from last week’s experience without the fresh life of God passing through us to-day, we shall become as ‘sounding brass’, empty and powerless, but if we draw direct from the Living Lord, He will make use of our capabilities, old experiences, and knowledge. A very different thing to our making use of them, and depending upon them instead of upon Him (Leviticus 26v10).
A soul that is an ‘instrument’ has nothing to ‘maintain’; it does not cling to ‘views’, nor seek to fight for God. It prefers not to say ‘I think’, nor ‘this is my opinion’, lest it should intrude between God and others; therefore it says ‘It is written’ and leaves the rest to Him. (See the attitude of the Lord Jesus in John 7v16-17).
The interior and exterior life should correspond. It is therefore unwise to be absorbed in the ‘deep things of God’ to the neglect of practical duties, and the winning of souls. Others have a right to gauge our ‘spirituality’ by our ‘practicality’ (See 1Corinthians 2v10; Ephesians 4v1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2v12; 2 Corinthians 6v4-9; 1 Peter 2v12).
Above all things press on to know God, and the deepest meaning of the life hid with Christ in God leaving behind all craving for emotional experiences and ‘manifestations’ (See Philippians 3v10-14).
Let your ceaseless position, as to the past, be ‘I have been crucified with Christ’ (Galatians 2v20) whilst moment by moment, under the cleansing blood, you ‘present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as ‘instruments’ (Romans 6v13).
HINTS ON GUIDANCE
‘All who are led by God’s Spirit . . . are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of bondage, that you should go back again to . . . slavish fear, but you have received a Spirit of adoption wherein we cry . . . Father’ (Romans 8v14-15 Conybeare).
‘Because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying . . . Father’ (Galatians 4v6).
To all believers child spirit is communicated by the incoming of the Holy Spirit into the heart, and is deepened in proportion as the old life with its slavish fear is committed to the Cross, and planted into the death of Christ; so that it may be said that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is for those who become little children. So far as we receive the continual supply of the Spirit of Jesus, in union with the Risen Lord, we shall increasingly learn to walk as children with the Father, depending upon His faithful Spirit to Guide His little ones, and keep them in His will.
The Holy Spirit does not lead to any course of action contrary to the Written Word. The Spirit in the Word and the Spirt in the child of God, are always in accord.
The witness of the Spirit is always given as we walk in the will of God. We need quick discernment to recognize His seal as we test every step, and watchfulness to obey the first hint that we are out of the line of His will. The Spirit has always a definite purpose in His directions, and He does not waste the time, or strength, of those He leads.
It is not befitting that we should take any infallible position as to guidance in every detail of action. It is better to walk with God silently, and to let Him prove to others, in His own way, the skilfulness of His hands upon us.
When God has shown His plan for us let us take heed that we do not date it, or assume that it will be fulfilled immediately. We should remember that it is possible to have mistaken conceptions as to what that plan really means, and that we may materialize what is spiritual.
Let us beware of making bargains with God, and calling them ‘covenants’. ‘If Thou . . . then I will!’ For later on the soul may be fettered by its ‘covenant’, and not free to recognise the fresh revealings of God. He has only promised to lead us one step at a time.
Let us never be afraid of owning that we have been mistaken. The Spirit of God abides where there is honest transparency. We are but ‘earthen vessels’, and the leading of the Spirit is so easily checked. It is far better to recognize that we may be wrong, than that God should be dishonoured by our attributing to Him a course of action undertaken by us through misunderstanding Him.
We may not expect ‘special’ guidance when all we need to know is written in the Word of God. In the Acts of the Apostles we see manifested the general principles of a life under the Spirit’s power, and wholly surrendered to God, and, in the letters of Paul the Apostle, we are shown the mind of the Spirit as applied to the practical details of every-day life. Let us search the Word diligently, and obey it right up to our light.
It is possible to get into such a strain over the question of ‘What is the will of God?’ as quite to miss the doing of His will. In a wholly surrendered life, we can expect Him to work in us hour by hour to will His will, whilst we give ourselves up to the fulfilment of our momentary duty with our whole hearts.
Let us depend upon the withholdings of God, as well as upon His promptings. ‘The Spirit suffered them not’ (Acts 16v7) The ‘voice’ is only promised when ye turn’ (Isaiah 30v21); if we are going straight on in the path of His will the Father gives His smile, and the heart is at rest.
The Written Word needs the illumination of the Spirit. If we go to it full of our own thoughts, we shall read our own ideas into it. Let us wait humbly upon God for His interpretation of His own Book.
Do nothing in a hurry. There is always time for all that is in the will of God. The waiting of one day may bring to light some point which will show us how near we were to a serious mistake. The walk with God appears to be a very slow one, but it is very sure in its effects, for there is no waste power in it.
To souls wholly possessed by God, the Holy Spirit gives deep rest in all things which are in accordance with His mind. It is safe never to make any decision except in perfect calm of mind and heart.
GUIDANCE IN TIMES OF PERPLEXITY
Definitely commit the special difficulty to God. ‘Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust’(Psalm 37v5).
Exercise definite faith in the faithfulness of God, remembering that as a Father he cannot fail to guide His child. ‘He that cometh to God must believe . . . that he is a rewarder of them that seek after Him’(Hebrews 11v6).
See that all personal preferences are honestly surrendered, and be willing to be guided in God’s way. ‘The integrity of the upright shall guide them’ (Proverbs 11v3).
Obey up to your present light every indication of the will of God.
Trust the Holy Spirit to give you a sound mind, and carefully look at your difficulty from every point of view; first, as it concerns God’s kingdom; second, as it concerns your duty to others; third, as it affects yourself (Psalm 25v9).
Leave the whole matter with God, in calm assurance that He undertakes, whilst you do the next thing that lies in the path of duty. ‘I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will council thee with Mine eye upon thee (Psalm 32v8). ‘Believe ye that I am able to do this? . . . Yea, Lord . . . According to your faith be it done unto you’ (Matthew 9v28-29).
HINTS ABOUT THE MIND
The strategic value of the ‘mind’, both to God and to Satan, is very great, for the following, among many other, reasons:
The mind, or understanding, is the vehicle through which the Holy Spirit, residing in the regenerate human spirit, reveals the knowledge of God to the redeemed man.
If the mind is clogged, passive, ‘blank’, uncontrollable, driven, fevered, irritated, or in any other abnormal condition, how cam the ‘eye of the understanding’ be ‘filled with light’ and receive wisdom and insight in the full knowledge of God given by the Holy Spirit?
If the mind is filled with mental conceptions of truth, or with theories, prejudices, thoughts which have found lodgment apart from volition, reason, or examination, how can the Spirit of Truth reveal the things of God, and the truth of God as set forth in the written Word of God, to the understanding?
The mind, or understanding, stands between the spirit and the body as a transmitter of what comes from either. This is shown clearly in Romans 8v5-6, where the mind is described as being dominated by the ‘flesh’ or by the ‘spirit’.
The Spirit of God may dwell in the spirit, and not find outlet and expression if the mind is blocked or clogged in any way, for the spirit needs the mind for the transmission of light, as well as for the reception of spiritual knowledge of God.
The mind, or understanding, is the detective, so to speak, of the whole man. The ‘spirit of man is the candle of the Lord’, and the spirit needs the ‘understanding’ for expression, or perception, of what is revealed to it. The mind, enlightened by the Spirit of God and the Word of God, should be able to examine everything that is presented to it, and know whether it is truth or error (1 Corinthians 2v15). The renewed mind is therefore the perceptive faculty for discerning between good and evil (Hebrews 5v14). A ‘blank’ mind, whether induced or not, makes the man mindless a non-intelligent and irresponsible being, just as a darkened mind makes the man deceived, and unable to see clearly what he is doing, or where he is going.
The Holy Spirit needs the ‘understanding’ to fill it with the light of the knowledge of God; but the spirits of evil desire to displace the mind, or reason, from its place or else so inflame or exalt the ‘imagination’ until it overpowers the ‘understanding’. When the latter occurs, the believer is kept in a realm of phantasy over earthly, or even spiritual, things, and he lives in an unreal world, in which he is blinded to the true facts of life.
A large majority of Christians have never discovered their need of a renewed mind, and never asked themselves why their minds are subject to uncontrollable thoughts, imaginations, objectionable pictures, lapses of memory, unaccountable prejudices, intermittent concentration, heaviness, sluggishness, heat, or fever. They are in normal health, and would not dream of going to a doctor about these things, for it only means that they have no control of their minds, even in the small things of life. But let them ask themselves the question, ‘Who controls my mind? Is it in my own control? Is it in God’s control? If neither, then who controls in?’
When the truth dawns upon the child of God that his mind has never been fully set free from the power of the god of this world, he finds that the weapons he must wield for ‘casting down’ the exalted imaginations and bringing the thoughts into captivity, must be divine and not carnal. He discovers that no process of ‘resolution’ or ‘memory’, or mind training, will set him free, and that the mind and imagination are held by supernatural power beyond the reach of carnal weapons to destroy.
The central helm of the ship of man is the will. It is the seat of government through which God governs His redeemed subject. It must control the mind and choose what shall enter it or go out.
The renewal of the mind can alone come about through the entry of Truth. Each wrong thought placed in the mind by the enemy, and by which he holds the mind as his fortress, must be cast down as it is unveiled, and displaced by truth, until the entire spirit of the mind is renewed. (Ephesians 4v23).
The casting down of the exalted imaginations, and the removal of countless reasonings, not reason, may be done very quickly, or the battle may rage for a prolonged period. In some souls not one sentence of Divine Truth can penetrate without a battle, such as confusion in the mind, prejudiced thoughts, rebellious thoughts, and an unreasoned and unreasonable disturbance over what should, and would be, easily and calmly considered, if the mind was free to act without the interference of the enemy.
Let believers test themselves here. Why do they have unreasoning ‘opposition’ to what they have not carefully and prayerfully set themselves to understand? Does not the renewed mind ‘examine all things’? (2 Corinthains 2v15-16, 1 Corinthians 14v20).
Taking the mind out of the control of the god of this world, does not merely mean having all that is in the mind brought under the volition of the believer, as a tumultuous rabble of contrary elements compelled to obey a central authority. It means a renewal of the mind, whereby it is brought into such harmony with the Holy Spirit that it is filled with light instead of darkness, clearness of understanding instead of confusion, the ‘imagination’ purified and controlled, the reason liberated to work in normal ease, all in subjection to the Word of God, and the obedience of Christ (Colossians 1v9).
It is such a mind that is guarded by the peace of God, through an unceasing spirit of prayer, such a mind that is quickly obedient to God, as the believer deliberately turns away from all that would hinder its being filled with light, and chooses that it shall be occupied with things that are true, honourable, just, pure and lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4v6-8).