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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

 
Power From God APRIL 10

THE FORM AND THE POWERó2

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Eph. 3:20.

In the Christian life nothing exists for or by itself. No part of our being can fulfill its true function until the Spirit of God is given His rightful place. Everything we know and find out about ourselves proves how much we need a power from beyond ourselves. We are most likely to go astray in this respect.

The power to live for Christ is not natural, but supernatural; not inborn, but God-born and nourished by our continual dependence upon Him. A victorious Christian is a person in whom God rules. No professed Christian can triumph in life except as he is Spirit moved, Spirit controlled, and Spirit led.

Spirituality cannot be reduced to a system or to church machinery under the control of men. The form of religion in terms of ritual, institutionalism, and organization is a means to an end. Most religious systems tend toward the excess of machinery and the parasites of form. Truth hardens into a hopeless routine. There lurks in the form of religion an inherent falsity as a result of the misrepresentation of spiritual life. There is no greater waste of mind and power than to reduce religion to externals.

The Jew had the law, but did not recognize the spirit deeper than the law. He discerned the God of the law, but not God as his heavenly Father. So the Jew never discovered the real answer and meaning to his religion. Our religious life cannot take root in form. Behind all the forms of religion, God presents Himself as a living personality, very real indeed.

Only the reality has any lifting power. Reality does not lie in repeating the ritual and going through the forms. There is no benefit to our Christian experience by carrying a cross around our neck. Our Lord left a cross on a hill a long time ago upon which and beyond which the living God actually committed Himself to us for our redemption and salvation. God knew that His love was the only hope we would ever have, the only revelation that would make a difference. In its very essence the Christian faith is committed, not to a form, but to reality that really makes a difference in our lives.

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