is so much - and there are so many ways - which claim to
be "God's service" and "mighty works in
the Name of Jesus." Thank God, however, that we have
not to judge and decide what is and what is not true
service to God. It is given to us, nevertheless, to
recognize and emphasize basic principles by which all who
claim to serve Him must judge themselves in this matter.
must be observed at the outset that, while the Lord makes
even antagonistic elements and persons - even the wrath
of man - and adversity of circumstances to serve Him, and
while there is even such a thing as irreligious
solicitude for God, His direct and elect means and method
is by chosen and consecrated members of His spiritual
of this service there must never be a judging after the
seeing of the eyes or the hearing of the ear! This is a
matter into which the senses cannot come without the
peril of deceiving and misleading the whole life. The
service of God - like every other thing in relation to
Him - is essentially an unmixed spiritual thing.
are two things at least which are basically wrong and
inevitably disastrous from the standpoint of true
spiritual value: one is the regarding of the work of God
as a set system, just as any commercial, industrial, or
professional system is a vocation or calling (So much is
heard about "entering the ministry,"
"taking up Christian work," "becoming a
missionary," etc. - and this as static, organized,
systematized); the other is going into service on the
basis of an external appeal to the senses, the intellect,
the emotions, the volition, by reason of a presentation
to the ears or the eyes.
do not say that these means have never been overruled by
God to something more, but in themselves as such they are
both inadequate and perilous. Both of these things are
not according to the principles of the Divine order, and
the Word of God - read with spiritual insight - proves
the point up to the hilt.
every man and woman who has come up against spiritual realities
in the service of God knows that it requires
something stronger than hot air, electric atmosphere,
vivid pictures, romantic conceptions, idealistic visions,
mental impressions, and occasional stimulants for the
will, to make them able to continue indefinitely and to
be spiritually effective. No, in every way, the senses
are an insufficient basis and a dangerous criterion.
service of God, being spiritual, will always have an
element of mystery about it. The mystery is this: the
greater the degree of real spiritual effectiveness and
value, and the more spiritually accountable a thing
becomes, the less is it a thing that can be seen and
handled by the senses and by the flesh - the less the
elements and forms of human demonstration and natural
and again we have marked the grievous tragedy of
ministries - personal and otherwise - which were mighty
in spiritual significance, that at length took on human
significance and assumed forms of natural impressiveness
at the expense of that essential value to God. Yes! It
has grown big, expansive, famous. Yes! He or she has a
name, a reputation, a following, a fame, and a position;
but so often... oh, so often... at a cost of
accountability amongst "principalities and
powers" (This is where spiritual values are judged)
which makes it all poor gain... and makes God's heart
seeming to judge of this ourselves, let us state a
further principle or two - or re-emphasize in definite
form: All-inclusively, only what God does Himself is
God's service! This is basic to the entire revelation of
the purposes of God in the whole Scriptures.
Lord Jesus is most insistent upon this Himself:
"The Son can do nothing of Himself."
"The Father doeth the works."
"The Father speaketh the words."
"My Father worketh until now."
"It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your
Father who speaketh in you."
This principle was well recognized by
the Apostles. In fact, it is the primary object of the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit: "The Holy Ghost
said...." "The Spirit suffered them not."
Only as all service is brought within
the limits of this Divine ordering by a positive witness
within the sanctified and quickened spirit of the
"chosen vessel" can there be "the works of
God" which alone count. This, on the other hand,
rules out all our works.
Motive, good intent, laboriousness,
enthusiasm "in the name of Jesus," "for
the Kingdom," "in the interests of
mankind," etc. - these do not count in the realm of
"the eternal purpose in Christ Jesus" if they
are our own activities... with our own natural resources.
It must be "God who works within."
We have yet to know the nature and
immensity of the works of God... and how His ends call
for His infinite energy; and when we have a little light
on this matter, we shall see that all our works
are "dead works" indeed.
The flesh cannot enter into the works
of God; hence the measure of spiritual effectiveness is
the measure in which the Cross of Christ has slain our
flesh experimentally... not what appears to be successful
Christian work, but what is done - not by men - but by
God through crucified men. We must be content to have our
fruitfulness and spiritual value registered in the
unseen... and not be dominated by the scales of values as
set up by men on the earth.
One sign of counting beyond mere flesh
and blood is the malice and fury of the oppressor... and
his persistent efforts to get one out of the fight.
Finally, we can only get into the true
service of God as we are put into it by the Holy Spirit. This
is not as from the earth, but as from above. Men
cannot make these appointments or ordinations! To press
into this service of oneself is to meet the fire of God
breaking forth. To touch this "ark of testimony"
with our hands is to die.
Even after Moses had been chosen, had
received the revelation, and had been commissioned,
"God met him and sought to kill him." Why?
Because the circumcision of the flesh had been
neglected... and no flesh can serve the Lord.