Surrender to Be Strong?

Charles Gore (22 January 1853 – 17 January 1932) was the Bishop of Oxford, and one of the most influential Anglican theologians of his day.  Here is what he had to say about how surrendering to God actually strengthens us:

“We are conscious of our own weakness and the strength of evil;  but not of the third force, stronger than either ourselves or the power of evil, which is at our disposal if we will draw upon it.  What is needed is a deliberate and whole-hearted realization that we are in Christ and Christ is in us by His Spirit;  an unconditional surrender of faith to Him;  a practice which grows more natural by exercise of remembering and deliberately drawing by faith upon His strength in the moments of temptation and not merely upon our own resources.  ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I will do thus and thus.’  So we too may form, like St. Paul, the habit of victory.”

Charles Gore

And here’s how Saint Paul expressed the same idea:

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.                    2Corinthians 12:7-10

So exercise and grow strong — practice surrender!

For another quote by Charles Gore see:

The Power of the Holy Spirit

 

The Power of the Holy Spirit

I came across this quote in my devotional reading, and it reminded me of the great power of the Holy Spirit.

“Why do we grow so little in grace?  It is because we do not use our intellect to meditate upon the forces of the unseen world amidst which we live, or our will to draw upon them.  We know that we are weak, and sin and Satan are strong, and we know the truth.  But there is a third power stronger than either our weakness or the forces of evil, which we commonly forget, and which will never disclose itself except in our using of it.  We must stir up the gift within us.  Within us we have the Spirit of power, the Spirit of Jesus, the life of Jesus. It remains to us to appeal to it;  in constant acts of faith to draw upon it and to use it.  Thus it will become to each of us as much a truth of experience as it was to St. Paul, and no vague language of metaphor, that ‘it is no longer merely I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.'”

Charles Gore

Paul was indeed aware of the power of the Holy Spirit in His life. He acknowledges His own lack of ability and dependence upon the Spirit in Ephesians when he says:

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”  Ephesians 2:1-5

By all accounts Paul was a short, bald man with poor eyesight.  He insists here and in other places that he is not a polished speaker.  His own sin caused him to persecute the Christians.  Only the power of the Holy Spirit could make him into the apostle he became.  You and I have that same power within us.  A power to do good, and speak God’s truth.  Are we using it?