The Radical Drive of the Spirit
To be "born again" is to experience through faith the entrance of the Spirit of Jesus Christ into a human being. In the following article, Norman Grubb describes the evidence of that changed life–the radical drive of God’s own nature expressed in human form.
The life in the Spirit is bound to have one hallmark–that the nature of God is reproduced in the personality handed over to Him; for such a handing-over implies total immersion in and possession by the Spirit of God, to be made like Himself, and He is God. God’s nature has one essential characteristic. He is totally self-giving. He pours Himself out in an everlasting stream of blessing on all His creation. He is "the eternal will to all goodness." He finds Himself in losing Himself.
Now, if that Spirit indwells me, He must of necessity turn me in a like direction. The Spirit that took the Saviour to Calvary for the world and "drove" Him to offer Himself without spot unto God, must drive me out of self-pleasing into self-giving, out of indulgence into sacrifice, out of security into service, out of care of myself into concern for others.
This "drive" incidentally, is the glory of the Gospel. It means that we do not tell the unwilling, the fearful, the self-pleasing, the soft, which we all are by nature, to be this or that for God; to deny themselves, to give up things, to endure hardship, which they cannot and don’t want to do; but we bid them only to do one thing, acknowledging frankly all weakness and unwillingness–to commit themselves to the control of God’s Spirit. That is all. They need not even necessarily be willing to do this. But let them just do it. For, if they do, a Person comes in. An Almighty Person. The Third Person of the Trinity. He is mightier than our wills. His nature is the nature of God. And if once we give Him honest possession, He sets to work to change us. He changes our wills, melts down our opposition, sets them on a new bearing, to will the will of God and to love to will it, till it becomes a consuming passion with us, till we will literally die rather than disobey God.
He changes our outlook. Having ourselves at last found a bottom to life, a heart satisfaction, a light to the mind, a way for the feet, we find ourselves joining the ranks of those who have a contribution to make to the world, not merely a merchandise to make of it. We pass from the number of the getters to the givers, and it is by the inner redirection of the Spirit that this change takes place.
Aglow ourselves with the joy of the Lord, our own needs met in Jesus, it dawns on us somehow, as on the starving lepers who found the good things in the deserted camp of the Syrians: "We do not well; this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace Let us go and tell ."
Moreover, a sense of responsibility comes upon us. We have been in great danger and knew it not; we were slaves and had given up hope of liberation. Now freedom, food and clothing, and a welcome home is ours. And not only ours but the world’s if they but believed it. Some know it and mock. Thousands about us do not know, through a false idea of what the good news is. Millions have yet never had a chance to hear. We are debtors. We owe it to our next-door neighbour as well as to the most distant of our brother men. By increasing stages a new passion inflames us. The glory of it dawns upon us. That such as we can be, not merely inheritors of eternal life, but transmitters of it. These lips can bring heaven to a hell-bound soul. We are captured by a new commission. Surely indeed we are changed.
But to carry this out means a price to be paid. In a world that shows its true nature by baring its teeth if brought into too close quarters with God, it is never an easy thing to speak of Christ. It is abnormal, fanatical. Ice has to be broken, common places by-passed, the circumference of vague religious comment pierced till the centre of personal challenge is reached. Time has to be used which normally is frittered away in gossip or hobby. Concentration is necessary when it is customary to relax. The Spirit has begun to lead out along the way to Calvary.
Burdens grow heavier. What can be done for the souls around in business or neighborhood, in the town and in the district where our church is located? Time must be given for prayer, for concerted action with fellow Christians. Evenings become occupied, meetings attended.
Missionary visitors give yet a wider vision. There is a world in need. How can the Gospel be taken to every creature? Can I go myself, leave home and daydreams and loved ones, risk life and health and security? To the few, the call comes plain and the great step is taken into a life set apart for all time to be lived amongst strange people, to wrestle with ignorance, disease, superstition. To the many, not that actual call comes, but a sense of a necessary share in it; money must be given, loved ones painfully yet gladly offered, and the very simplest things of everyday life become touched by the marks of the Cross–the wardrobe, the meal table, the expenditure on pleasure and luxuries–that more may be given to the spread of the kingdom. The home itself becomes more threadbare, maybe, as parlour or drawing room, once kept like a new pin for special occasions, is constantly used for "squashes" and prayer meetings.
By this way or that, the self-giving nature of God takes up its abode in our nature and produces these radical changes. They become our very nature, derived from, as C.T. Studd once wrote, "The Holy Spirit of God, one of whose chief characteristics is a pluck, a bravery, a lust for sacrifice for God, and a joy in it which crucifies all human weaknesses and natural desires of the flesh."
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 29 No 2
- The Radical Drive of the Spirit
- Editor’s Note
- Q & A
- A Look at a Book
- True Reverence
- Life in the New Dimension
- Bible Bedrock: I Count All Things Loss…
- To Put It All Simply Yet Radically
- Peter and the Consequences of Independent Believing
- Statement On What We Believe
- The War Years
- More Than Conquerors…
- The Call to Intercession
- The Total Truth About Who We Are in Christ Jesus
- Take Up Your Cross
- Words to Live By…