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The Lord gives His servants authority and their own particular service, yet without power their efforts are worthless. A sentinel might be told off for his duty, and thus be given both authority and particular service, but if he were seized with sickness he could not fulfill his duty. Power in work for God comes from God. Without true power we cannot serve God acceptably. Power is not deposited in a servant to be used at his own pleasure, but is like the constant flowing stream, which ever owes its volume to its fountain head. The servant is but a vessel, and, unless God supplies him with His own power, the servant is nothing. Like the wire through which the current is passed that gives the light—like the aqueduct which conveys the water, the servant of Christ is but a vessel for communicating that which is of God.
When the "ignorant and unlearned men" shook Jerusalem by their words, the rulers, elders and scribes, asked them "by what power, or by what name" they wrought, and the end of the inquiry was, "they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4) The Lord was the source of their power.
Often do we read in the Acts, of God's servants being filled with the Holy Spirit. "Look you out," said the apostles, "men... full of the Holy Ghost." But the blessed Spirit of God, who ever dwells within God's people, is not ever filling them with Himself. And why? A vessel cannot be filled at the same time with fire and water; we cannot be filled both with the world and with the Spirit at once. "Be ye filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:1818And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18)) is the divine exhortation. We may be filled with doctrines or the like, with our service, or with ourselves, yet have very little of the power of God in us. If we are in communion with Christ, self will be out of sight, and we shall be filled with the Spirit. When we are simple, God gives us His power, but we are ever merely instruments in His hand, as the pebble in David's sling, the jawbone in Samson's hand, the rams' horns at the priests' lips; we are nothing in self, and when we try to be something, we prevent ourselves from being used of God.
Power is of God; He has deigned to use His people, to put power from Himself in them, and to work through them for His own glory, and where His people devote themselves to Him, He is graciously pleased to make use of them. The Nazarite of old teaches of power. His long hair expressed subjection to God (see 1 Cor. 11:1010For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. (1 Corinthians 11:10)—margin); he was under the power of God; his abstinence from the fruit of the vine, from kernel to husk, expressed his withholding himself from the joys of earth. Subjection to God and separation to God are two great elements required in the servant of Christ who really devotes himself to God's service.
We have not to wait till we have power to do our work, but, if sent, we should go and do it. God will give the power to accomplish the service on which He sends us. Obedience is our part, and faith; the power to execute what we are sent to do comes from Gad. First, let us go forth to do our particular work in the sense that the Lord has sent us; then let us seek hourly from Him His strength to be made perfect in our weakness.
Servants of Christ, "Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is.”