There is a vast amount of intellectual comprehension of truth and doctrine
which is not touching the situation, not meeting the need... A person may know
Scripture most thoroughly and yet be the most awkward, cantankerous and peevish
person in daily life; or go into business relationships, drive a hard bargain
and send another man to the wall for his own ends. You may have all knowledge
and yet profit nothing. It is the natural man receiving on the plane of the
natural man. It is mental apprehension of Divine truth, and it is not alive, it
is not the 'water of Life, clear as crystal.'
Services may be very beautiful but dead... You may have very high ideals,
sublime thoughts, and yet there may be just something that renders it all
ineffective and you get nowhere. The modern pulpit goes as far as it can, with
its own human mental outfit. If a man happens to be more scholarly and better
educated than another, his interpretation is thought to be nearer the truth
than that of anyone else. If he can put a construction upon the Word of God
which is fresh, interesting, and fascinating and just satisfies the inquiring
minds of his hearers, they go away with the idea that that is truth. That is no
argument at all - no criterion whatever. To make the whole thing a matter of
scholarship is to get off the road.
Moses was learned in all the knowledge of the Egyptians, and yet he had to
have forty years of isolation and discipline. At the end, Moses had to say, 'I
cannot,' and then God was able to say 'Now I have got you down to a level where
I can say, 'I can.' Before Saul of Tarsus could go anywhere for God, he had to
talk like this: 'Sinners, of whom I am chief'; 'I am the least of all the
apostles and not meet to be called an apostle'; 'the things that I counted gain,
I now count but loss'; 'I received it not from men, it was made known to me by
revelation'; 'it pleased God to reveal His Son in me.' That is not objective
achievement; that is subjective experience, and between the two there is all the
difference that there is between life and death...
The man who brags of scholarships and argues that because he has a higher
brow than anybody else and is therefore nearer the truth is probably the most
blind of all men... The moment you introduce the element of the natural man into
the ministry you kill it. The river of the water of Life clear as crystal will
not flow through the channel of the flesh.
What you minister must be born of the Spirit of God in your spirit, and it
must not be interfered with by the flesh. God will not let the stream of living
ministry flow until the flesh is laid forever in death and it is no longer I but
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony"
magazine, May-Jun 1926, Vol 4-3