“No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs” (2 Tim.2:4)
Samuel Logan Brengle, in his book “Helps To Holiness,” had a chapter on how to lose the power of God. We sometimes think, and it is true, that we must commit some gross sin to lose such an anointing but Brengle points out that many develop what can be called the “leaky bucket” syndrome. How so? Through carelessness, lack of focus, and neglect. A musician drifting off into secular music before service; a preacher catching up on social media before sharing the Word; an intercessor distracted by the noise around her. When we need the power to flow through us, to bring life change, we find it not there. We have replaced the wheat for chaff, power for human endeavor, God’s Word for civilian affairs.
Think me not a prude for reflecting on such things or that I am sitting in judgement on anyone. My heart these days is set on experiencing those places in the Spirit (living in the Spirit; walking in the Spirit – Gal.5:25) that each of us are called to live. I have known, only too often, the “leaky bucket” syndrome. I have too often been “entangled in civilian affairs,” yet knowing that God calls me out from the safety of the shores of my life into the depths and richness of His grace, into the fulness of His presence. “Deep calls unto deep” (Ps.42:7).
So can we plug the holes? Have others learned to disentangle from civilian affairs? As I have read and studied those saints who have journeyed before me, it seems like they disentangled through one constant in their lives, one clear marker that defined their lives and effectiveness in Christian service. It was their love for the Word of God, unashamedly and without question. They studied it, pored over its pages, and lived out its truths. As they proclaimed it, the power of God flowed from them and brought transformative change to others.
Billy Graham once had to settle the Bible’s authority in his own life. When “that evening, Billy made his way down a mountain trail near the camp and laid his Bible on a tree stump. He cried out to God in prayer: “God I don’t understand everything about your Word, or have answers to all the questions that Chuck (Charles Templeton) is raising, but I put my trust in Your Word, by faith.” Tears stung his cheeks, and he sensed the presence of God overwhelm him in a way he hadn’t felt for many months. The next morning, Billy fulfilled his obligation to preach at Forest Home. He preached with a new authority, and hundreds of people made decisions for Jesus Christ at the service.” (Just As I Am)
“Oh, you may talk about power but, if you neglect the one Book that God has given you as the one instrument through which He imparts and exercises His power, you will not have it. You may read many books and go to many conventions and you may have your all-night prayer meetings to pray for the power of the Holy Ghost but unless you keep in constant and close association with the one Book, the Bible, you will not have power. And if you ever had power, you will not maintain it except by the daily, earnest, intense study of that Book.” (R.A. Torrey)
“God has spoken once. Twice I have heard this. That power belongs to God” (Ps.62:11). His way; His method; His power!