March 22: Not By Might Nor By Power

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Zech. 4:6

WHAT a mystery is the operation of the Holy Spirit in the soul! That a work so renewing, so gracious, and so holy, should ever transpire in the heart of a poor sinner, is itself a wonder. What a marvelous view of the power, nor less of the grace, of God does it present! Every step in the mighty process awakens new amazement. The first conviction of sin that saddens the heart—the first beam of light that illuminates the mind—the first touch of faith that heals the soul, possesses more that is truly wonderful than the most sublime mystery, or the profoundest secret, in nature.

There is more of God in it; and the more of God, the more of wonder; and the more of wonder we see in His work and operations, the more readily should reason assent, and the more profoundly should faith adore. The mystery of grace is illustrated by the mystery of nature. “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” I saw one but as yesterday, living without God, in total neglect of his soul’s salvation. The solemn eternity to which he was hastening gave him not a moment’s serious concern. His heart was filled with pharisaical pride, worldly ambition, and covetous desires. Self was his god—the only deity he worshiped; the world was his paradise—the only heaven he desired.

Today I see him the subject of deep and powerful emotion, a humble suppliant, in the spirit of self-abasement, pleading for mercy as the chief of sinners. What a change has come over him! How in a moment have old things passed away, and all things become new! And he who but as yesterday was dwelling among the tombs, himself dead in trespasses and sins, today is sitting as a lowly disciple and an adoring worshiper at the feet of Jesus. Where this wondrous transformation—this new creation? Oh, it was the Spirit of God who wrought it, and the work is marvelous in our eyes.

Nor does the sustaining and the carrying forward of this work of grace in the soul unfold less of the wonderful power of God the Holy Spirit. When we take into consideration the mass which the little leaven of grace has to transform—the extent of that revolted territory which the new kingdom has to subjugate to itself—then the sustaining and the perfecting of this work is one continued miracle of wonder. To see one strong in conscious weakness—maintaining his position in the face of much opposition—buoyed up amid billows of sorrow—growing in grace in the midst of circumstances the most unfavorable—witnessing for God and His truth at the loss of family affection and long-endeared friendship—is a spectacle that must fill the mind with adoring thoughts of the love and faithfulness and power of that divine Spirit whose work it is.

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