The Underlying Truth of the Prodigal Son (continued)
To walk by faith there must, in the very nature of the case, be a stripping off of all that the outer man of the senses clings to, demands, craves for, as a security and an assurance. When the spiritual life of God's people is in the ascendent they are not troubled by either the absence of human resources on the one hand, or by the presence of humanly overwhelming odds against them on the other hand. This is patent in their history as recorded in the Scriptures. But it is also true that when the spiritual life is weak, undeveloped, or at the ebb they look around for some tangible, seen, resource upon which to fasten. Egypt is the alternative to God whenever and wherever spiritual life is low. To believe in and trust to the intuitive leadings of the Holy Spirit in our spirit, even though all is so different from the ways of men, and even though such bring us to a Canaan which for the first time being is full of idolatry and where a mighty famine reigns; where satan seems to be lord, and no fruit is found; where all is so contrary to what our outer man had decided must be in keeping with a leading and a promise of God. To leave our old sphere of life in the "world," to break with our kindred, our father's house, for this - "this"!, and then have to wait through much continuous striping off of those means, and methods, and habits, and judgments, which are the very constitution of the natural man - this is the law of the spiritual walk; but this is God's chosen and appointed way of the mightiest vindication. Spiritual children and riches, and fruitfulness, and service, permanence, and friendship of God are for such Abrahams of faith or such children of Abraham in the spirit. God has laid a faith basis for His superstructure of spiritual glory, and only that which is built upon such a foundation can serve spiritual ends. Let this be the test of our walk in all personal, domestic, business, and church affairs. Here, again, we have a principle which if applied would be revolutionary, and would call for the abandonment of a tremendous amount of carnal "natural", worldly stuff in our resources and methods. "Faith without works is dead," true, but the works of faith - of the spirit - are not those of the flesh, the difference is incomparable. The walk of the flesh is one thing, but the walk in the spirit is quite another. The things of the Spirit are foolishness to the flesh. Men of faith see what others do not and act accordingly. This also being true of men who have lost their reason, the two are often confused and the children of the flesh think the children of the spirit are mad or insane. They are unable to discriminate between even the insanity of men and "the foolishness of God which is wise than men."
Abraham was fortified by his faith, but his walk in faith was intensely practical, though so different from the walk in the flesh. A writer has said that faith brings us into difficulties which are unknown to men who walk in the flesh or who never go out in faith. But such difficulties placing us beyond the power of the flesh to help make special Divine revelations necessary, and God always takes advantage of such times to give such needed education of the spirit. It is thus that the men of the spirit are taught and come to know God as no others know Him. Thus faith is the law of the walk of the new man - the inner man - which brings him by successive stages into the very heart of God, Who crowns this progress with the matchless designation "My friend"!
(continued with # 11)