Absolute Surrender – Part 4
by Andrew Murray
Our Love Shows God’s Power
Why are we taught that “the fruit of the Spirit is love”? Because the Spirit of God has come to make our daily life an exhibition of divine power and a revelation of what God can do for His children.
In the second and the fourth chapters of Acts, we read that the disciples were of one heart and of one soul. During the three years they had walked with Christ, they never had been in that spirit. All Christ’s teaching could not make them of one heart and one soul. But the Holy Spirit came from heaven and shed the love of God in their hearts, and they were of one heart and one soul. The same Holy Spirit that brought the love of heaven into their hearts must fill us, too. Nothing less will do. Even as Christ did, one might preach love for three years with the tongue of an angel, but that would not teach any man to love unless the power of the Holy Spirit should come upon him to bring the love of heaven into his heart.
Think of the Church at large. What divisions! Think of the different bodies. Take the question of holiness, take the question of the cleansing blood, take the question of the baptism of the Spirit-what differences are caused among dear believers by such questions! That there are differences of opinion does not trouble me. We do not have the same constitution and temperament and mind. But how often hate, bitterness, contempt, separation, and unlovingness are caused by the holiest truths of God’s Word! Our doctrines, our creeds, have been more important than love. We often think we are valiant for the truth, and we forget God’s command to speak the truth in love. And it was so in the time of the Reformation between the Lutheran and Calvinistic churches. What bitterness there was in regard to communion, which was meant to be the bond of union among all believers! And so, through the ages, the very dearest truths of God have become mountains that have separated us.
If we want to pray in power, and if we want to expect the Holy Spirit to come down in power, and if we indeed want God to pour out His Spirit, we must enter into a covenant with God that we will love one another with a heavenly love.
Are you ready for that? Only that is true love that is large enough to take in all God’s children, the most unloving and unlovable and unworthy and unbearable and trying. If my vow-absolute surrender to God-was sincere, then it must mean absolute surrender to the divine love to fill me. I must be a servant of love to love every child of God around me. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”
Oh, God did something wonderful when He gave Christ, at His right hand, the Holy Spirit to come down out of the heart of the Father and His everlasting love. And how we have degraded the Holy Spirit into a mere power by which we have to do our work! God forgive us! Oh, that the Holy Spirit might be held in honor as a power to fill us with the very life and nature of God and of Christ!
Christian Work Requires Love
“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” I ask once again, Why is it so? And the answer comes: That is the only power in which Christians really can do their work. Yes, it is love that we need. We want not only love that is to bind us to each other, but we want a divine love in our work for the lost around us. Oh, do we not often undertake a great deal of work-just as men undertake work of philanthropy-from a natural spirit of compassion for our fellow-men? Do we not often undertake Christian work because our minister. or friend calls us to it? And do we not often perform Christian work with a certain zeal but without having had a baptism of love?
People often ask: “What is the baptism of fire?”
I have answered more than once: “I know no fire like the fire of God, the fire of everlasting love that consumed the sacrifice on Calvary .” The baptism of love is what the Church needs, and to get that we must begin at once to get down on our faces before God in confession, and plead:
“Lord, let love from heaven flow down into my heart. I am giving up my life to pray and live as one who has, given himself up for the everlasting love to dwell in and fill him.”
Ali, yes, if the love of God were in our hearts, what a difference it would make! There are hundreds of believers who say:
“I work for Christ, and I feel I could work much harder, but I do not have the gift. I do not know how or where to begin. I do not know what I can do.”
Brother, sister, ask God to baptize you with the Spirit of love, and love will find its way. Love is a fire that will burn through every difficulty. You may be a shy, hesitating person, who cannot speak well, but love can burn through everything. God fills us with love! We need it for our work.
You have read many a touching story of love expressed, and you have said, How beautiful! I heard one not long ago. A lady had been asked to speak at a Rescue Home where there were a number of poor women. As she arrived there and passed by the window with the matron, she saw a wretched woman sitting outside, and asked:
“Who is that?”
The matron answered: “She has been into the house thirty or forty times, and she has always gone away again. Nothing can be done with her, she is so low and hard.” But the lady said: “She must come in.”
The matron then said: “We have been waiting for you, and the company is assembled, and you have only an hour for the address.”
The lady replied: “No, this is of more importance”; and she went outside where the woman was sitting and said:
“My sister, what is the matter?”
“I am not your sister,” was the reply.
The lady laid her hand on her, and said: “Yes, I am your sister, and I love you”; and so she spoke until the heart of the poor woman was touched.
The conversation lasted some time, and the company was waiting patiently. Ultimately, the lady brought the woman into the room. There was the poor, wretched, degraded creature, full of shame. She would not sit on a chair, but sat down on a stool beside the speaker’s seat, and she let her lean against her, with her arms around the poor woman’s neck, while, she spoke to the assembled people. And that love touched the woman’s heart; she had found one who really loved her, and that love gave access to the love of Jesus.
Praise God! there is love on earth in the hearts of God’s children; but oh, that there were more!
O God, baptize our ministers with a tender love, and our missionaries, our Bible readers, our workers, and our young men’s and young women’s associations. Oh, that God would begin with us now, and baptize us with heavenly love!
Once again. It is only love that can fit us for the work of intercession.
I have said that love must fit us for our work. Do you know what the hardest and the most important work is that has to be done for this sinful world? It is the work of intercession, the work of going to God and taking time to lay hold of Him.
A man may be an earnest Christian, an earnest minister, and a man may do good, but alas! how often he has to confess that he knows little of what it is to tarry with God. May God give us the great gift of an intercessory spirit, a spirit of prayer and supplication! Let me ask you in the name of Jesus not to let a day pass without praying for all saints, and for all God’s people.
I find there are Christians who think little of that. I find there are prayer unions where they pray for the members, and not for all believers. I pray you, take time to pray for the Church of Christ . It is right to pray for the heathen, as I have already said. God help us to pray more for them. It is right to pray for missionaries and for evangelistic work and for the unconverted. But Paul did not tell people to pray for the heathen or the unconverted. Paul told them to pray for believers. Do make this your first prayer every day: “Lord, bless Thy saints everywhere.”
The state of Christ’s Church is indescribably low. Plead for God’s people that He would visit them, plead for each other, plead for all believers who are trying to work for God. Let love fill your heart. Ask Christ to pour fresh love into you everyday. Try to grasp, by the Holy Spirit of God: I am separated unto the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love. God help us to understand it.
May God grant that we learn day by day to wait more quietly upon Him. We must not wait upon God only for ourselves, or the power to do so will soon be lost. But, we must give ourselves up to the ministry and the love of intercession, and pray more for God’s people in general, for God’s people around us, for the Spirit of love in ourselves and in them, and for the work of God we are connected with. The answer will surely come, and our waiting upon God will be a source of untold blessing and power. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”
Have you a lack of love to confess before God? Then make confession and say before Him, “O Lord, my lack of heart, my lack of love-I confess it.” And then, as you cast that lack at His feet, believe that the blood cleanses you, that Jesus comes in His mighty, cleansing, saving power to deliver you, and that He will give His Holy Spirit. “The Fruit of the Spirit is love.”