The Retrospective Feature (continued)
Christ's Influence Spiritual, Not Psychic (continued)
Influence is not just a matter of having a strong personality, or being able to make a strong psychic registration wherever you are. That is a false conception of influence. So far as men and this world are concerned, you may be without the training of the schools and all the values of a rich education; you may have had nothing in your birth and inheritance and upbringing to make you an important person or a strong character: and yet you may exercise a very great influence, you may count for something more than all that. It is true again - and here is the miracle of it all - that "God hath chosen the weak things ... and the things that are not", that He may destroy, may nullify, may bring down the things that are wise, and the things that are strong, and the things that are. It is so often a, humanly speaking, very insignificant little person who is counting mightily for God. There is a great difference between natural influence and spiritual influence.
In the churches in the Book of the Revelation, we find that the testimony had lost its power and its influence in the world; and so it is today, very largely. What is the remedy? It is, as we have sought to indicate, the recovery and the reinforcement of spirituality. Spirituality is a tremendous power. Really spiritual people, be they what they may from this world's standpoint, are the people that count; they are the people of influence, and they are the people that are needed in this world. God needs spiritual men and women for the preserving and carrying on of His testimony. He needs reinforced spirituality. "Remember Jesus Christ". You can only account for Him - in His knowledge, in His influence, as in every other way - by the anointing of the Spirit. "God anointed [Jesus of Nazareth] ... Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). It was the anointing. And we have the anointing - the same anointing. And so His "authority", to use the word of Scriptures, was not that of personality; it was "spiritual" authority. How we need that! His judgement of things, His insight, His power of discrimination, was not just human sagacity, not just a high level of human shrewdness; it was spiritual wisdom. This is what Paul argued out so thoroughly in his first letter to the Corinthians.
The point is this: Jesus Christ, Jesus the Anointed (for that is the meaning of "Christ"), is different, and superior. What was true of Him then is true today. In the way that I have indicated - wisdom, understanding, power, judgment, and everything else - He needs to be brought right into every spiritual crisis. "Remember Jesus Christ". It is all by the anointing. If we have any sense whatever of the real need today in the Church, among God's people - yes, and in ourselves - because of things are they are, as they have become, or as they are threatened, do not our hearts beat with Paul's in all this? We can take up Paul's concern. You see, this man just poured out his heart in these letters. There is something of a yearning, if not of a breaking heart, in the way in which Paul here says: "O Timothy" - "O Timothy, guard the deposit". That cry, that ejaculation, that bursting forth of his heart which is found through the letters, not just in that language, but in other forms, reveals Paul's tremendous concern about this matter of spiritual life, the reinforcing of spirituality.
We ought to share that concern with Paul today; we ought to feel like that. Are you concerned about spiritual things? Are you concerned about the way that, speaking generally, things have taken - the declension, the departure, the diversion, the dropping down, the differences, that have come about since the beginning? Are you concerned? Well, remember that it must be not just a sighing and groaning over it, but an intelligent concern, in the full and clear realization of what the solution is - the reinforcement of spirituality, in ourselves and in the Lord's people. May the Lord give us the concern of His servant in this matter!
(continued with #57 - (The Spiritual Basis of The Christian Life)