The Spiritual Resources of the Church (continued)
c. Spiritual Influence - The Impact of Christ, Not of People
Then this people must be characterized by spiritual influence. What do we mean by that? Well, we know what we mean when we speak of influential persons. For some reason or other, they are people who count. It may be their strong personality, their personal aggressiveness, their initiative, their conspicuous ability, either inbred or acquired. They are not non-entities; they are positives, not negatives. A lot of that kind of influence has been brought into the work of God, and people have been adjudged influential in the things of the kingdom of God very largely because of this or that natural characteristic, natural acquirement or natural inborn qualities.
Now you may be a giant in natural influence, and yet in the spiritual realm the powers of darkness may laugh at you. Your stature is nothing there, your natural measurement means nothing to them. Your accountability in that realm will be just the measure of your spiritual life; your influence in the spiritual realm, with God, with men, and over the powers of evil, will be spiritual or it will not be at all. So it comes to pass very often that the weak things, and the things which are not, are the very things with which the powers of darkness and men have to reckon, of which account has to be taken. It often happens that if you take stock of some believers you do not think very much of them; you would not give them a second thought; you would put them in the category of people who do not count. But somehow you cannot dismiss them like that. There is something there you cannot explain by their personality or lack of it, by their physical presence, by their training. There is no ground on which you can explain this, and yet you have to acknowledge that they count for something; it is spiritual influence. A people constituted like that are the only people to meet the emergency of this time. Such a people will be the instrument by which God will vindicate the Cross of Christ.
But what does it amount to? To this - everything with such a people has to be attributed to the Lord. That is it. What did we say that God has revealed to be the consummate issue from the Cross? It is this - Christ absolutely transcendent over all other powers, and that expressed in a people. Then so far as that people are concerned the way to this will be by emptying, emptying, emptying that in all things He may have the preeminence. It is the Lord Jesus and not the people that must be in evidence. The evil powers may say, 'Jesus I know, and His servant Paul I know, and that spiritual people I know; but as for you people of pomp and ceremony and natural development, who are you, what are you?'
I hope you are really seeing what the Lord is after. The Lord must be manifested in His universe by means of a people of this kind. The challenge comes to us - will we accept all that it means to be of such a kind?
(continued with # 13 - (Spirituality Inwrought By Discipline of Circumstances)