The Power of the Spirit
A young preacher came to me down in Huntington, West Virginia. He said, “Brother Reidhead, I’ve got a great church. I’ve got a wonderful Sunday School program, got a growing radio ministry, but I feel a personal need and a personal lack. I need to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. I need to be filled with the Spirit. And someone told me God had done something for you, and I wonder if you could help me?”
I looked at the fellow, and you know what he looked like? ME. Just looked like me. I just saw in him everything that was in me. You thought I was going to say me before. No, listen dear heart, if you’ve ever seen yourself you’ll know you’re never going to be anything else than you were. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” (Romans 7:18) He looked like me. He was like a fellow driving up in a big Cadillac to someone standing at the filling station, saying “Fill ‘er up Bub, with the highest octane you got!”
Well that’s the way it looked. He wanted power for his program. But God is not going to be a means to anyone’s end. I said, “I’m awfully sorry, I don’t think that I can help you.”
He said, “Why?”
I said, “I don’t think you’re ready. I suppose you consider yourself coming up driving a Cadillac. You’ve talked about your program, you’ve talked about your radio, you’ve talked about your Sunday School and church. It’s very good. You’ve done wonderfully well without the power of the Holy Spirit.”
That’s what the Chinese Christian said, you know, when he got back to China. “What impressed you most about America?” He said, “The great things Americans can accomplish without God.”
The young preacher had accomplished a great deal, admittedly without God. Now he wanted something of power to accomplish his ends even further.
I said, “No, no, you’re sitting behind the wheel, and you’re saying to God, ‘Give me power so I can go faster.’ That won’t work, You’ve got to slide over.” But I knew that rascal, because I knew me. I said, “No, it will never do, you’ve got to get in the back seat.” And I could see him leaning over and grabbing the wheel. “No,” I said, “it will never do in the back seat.” I said, “Before God will do anything for you, you know what you’ve go to do?”
He asked, “What?”
I said, “You’ve got to get out of the car, take the keys around, open up the trunk lid, hand the keys to the Lord Jesus, get inside the trunk, slam the lid down, whisper through the keyhole, ‘Lord, look, fill ‘er up with anything You want, and You drive. It’s up to You from now on.’”
That’s why so many people you know do not enter into the fullness of Christ. They want to become a Levite with ten shekels and a shirt. They’ve been serving Micah, but they think if they had the power of the Holy Ghost they could serve the tribe of Dan.
It will never work. Never work. There’s only one reason for God “needing” you, and that’s to bring you to the place where, in repentance, you’ve been pardoned for His glory. And in victory you’ve been brought to the place of death that He might reign. And in that fullness, Jesus Christ is able to live and walk in you. Your attitude must be the attitude of the Lord Himself, who said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” (John 5:30)
I can’t speak of myself. I don’t make plans for myself. My only reason for being is for the glory of God in Jesus Christ. If I were to say to you, “Come to be saved so you can go to heaven, come to the cross so that you can have joy and victory, come for the fullness of the Spirit so that you can be satisfied,” I would be falling into the trap of humanism.
I’m going to say to you, dear friend, if you’re out here without Christ, you come to Jesus Christ and serve Him as long as you live, whether you go to hell at the end of the way, BECAUSE HE IS WORTHY! I say to you, Christian friend: come to the cross and join Him in union with His death and enter into all the meaning of death to self in order that He can have glory.
I say to you, dear Christian, if you do not know the fullness of the Holy Ghost, come and present your body a living sacrifice, and let Him fill you so that He can have the purpose for His coming fulfilled in you and get glory through your life. IT’S NOT WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO GET OUT OF GOD, IT’S WHAT’S HE GOING TO GET OUT OF YOU.
Let’s be done, once and for all, with utilitarian Christianity that makes God a means, instead of the glorious END that He is. Let’s resign. Let’s tell Micah that we’re through. We’re no longer going to be his priests, serving for ten shekels and a shirt. Let’s tell the tribe of Dan we’re through. And let’s come and cast ourselves at the feet of the nail-pierced Son of God and tell Him that we’re going to obey Him, and love Him, and serve Him as long as we live, BECAUSE HE IS WORTHY!