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*Five Vows for Spiritual Power*
\\ /by// A. W.
Some people object to taking vows, but in the Bible you will find many great men of God directed by covenants, promises, vows and pledges.
The psalmist was not averse to the taking of vows: /“Thy vows are upon me, O God,”/ he said.
/“I will render my praises unto thee”/ (Psalm 56:12).
My counsel in this matter is that if you are really concerned about spiritual improvement--the gaining of new power, new life, new joy and new personal revival within your heart--you will do well to make certain vows and proceed to keep them.
If you should fail, go down in humility and repent and start over.
But always keep these vows before you.
They will help harmonize your heart with the vast powers that flow out and down from the throne where Christ sits at the right hand of God.
A carnal man refuses the discipline of such commitments.
He says, “I want to be free.
I don't want to lay any vows upon myself; I don't believe in it.
It is legalism.”
Well, let me paint a picture of two men.
One of them will not take vows.
He will not accept any responsibility.
He wants to be free.
And he is free, in a measure--just as a tramp is free.
The tramp is free to sit on a park bench by day, sleep on a newspaper by night, get chased out of town on Thursday morning, and find his way up a set of creaky stairs in some flophouse on Thursday night.
Such a man is free, but he is also useless.
He clutters up the world whose air he breathes.
Let's look at another man--maybe a president or prime minister or any great man who carries upon himself the weight of government.
Such men are not free.
But in the sacrifice of their freedom they step up in power.
If they insist upon being free, they can be free, just like the tramp.
But they choose rather to be bound.
There are many religious tramps in the world who will not be bound by anything.
They have turned the grace of God into personal license.
But the great souls are ones who have gone reverently to God with the understanding that in their flesh dwells no good thing.
And they know that without God's enablement any vows taken would be broken before sundown.
Nevertheless, believing in God, reverently they took certain sacred vows.
This is the way to spiritual power.
Now there are five vows I have in mind which we do well to make and keep.
The first is: */Deal thoroughly with sin/*.
Sin has been driven underground these days and has come up with a new name and face.
You may be subjected to this phenomenon in the schools.
Sin is called by various fancy names--anything but what it really is.
For example, men don't get under conviction any more; they get a guilt complex.
Instead of confessing their guilt to God and getting rid of it, they lie down on a couch and try to tell a man who ought to know better all about themselves.
It comes out after a while that they were deeply disappointed when they were two years old or some such thing.
That's supposed to make them better.
The whole thing is ridiculous, because sin is still the ancient enemy of the soul.
It has never changed.
We've got to deal firmly with sin in our lives.
Let's remember that.
/“The //kingdom// of //God// is not meat and drink,”/ said Paul, /“but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”/ (Romans 14:17).
Righteousness lies at the door of the kingdom of God.
/“The soul that sinneth, it shall die”/ (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).
This is not to preach sinless perfection.
This is to say that every known sin is to be named, identified and repudiated, and that we must trust God for deliverance from it, so that there is no more sin anywhere in our lives.
It is absolutely necessary that we deal thus, because God is a holy God and sin is on the throne of the world.
So don't call your sins by some other name.
If you're jealous, call it jealousy.
If you tend to pity yourself and feel that you are not appreciated, but are like a flower born to blush unseen and waste your sweetness on the desert air, call it what it is -- self-pity.
There is resentfulness.
If you're resentful, admit it.
I have met people who live in a state of sputtering indignation most of the time.
I know of a preacher who acts like a hen thrown out of the nest.
He keeps running in all directions clucking and complaining -- somebody is always doing him wrong.
Well, if you have got that spirit, you must deal with it now.
You must get that out of you.
The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.
Instead of covering it up and trying to find a Greek marginal rendering somewhere to hide it under, call it by the right name, and get rid of it by the grace of God.
And then there is your temper.
Don't call it indignation.
Don't try to christen it by some other name.
Call it chat it is.
Because if you have a bad temper you will either get rid of it or it will get rid of much of your spirituality and most of your joy.
So let's deal with sin thoroughly.
Let's be perfectly candid.
God loves candid people.
Now the second vow is: */Never own anything/*.
I do not mean by this that you cannot have things.
I mean that you ought to get delivered from this sense of possessing them.
This sense of possessing is what hinders us.
All babies are born with their fists clenched, and it seems to me it means: “This is mine!”
One of the first things is “mine” in an angry voice.
That sense of “This is mine” is a very injurious thing to the spirit.
If you can get rid of it so that you have no feeling of possessing anything, there will come a great sense of freedom and liberty into your life.
Now don't think that you musty sell all that you have and give it to charity.
No, God will let you have your car and your business, your practice and your position, whatever it may be, provided you understand that it is not yours at all, but His, and all your are doing is just working for Him.
You can be restful about it then, because we never need to worry about losing anything that belongs to someone else.
If it is yours, you're always looking in your hand to see if it's stll there.
If it's God's you no longer need to worry about it.
Let me point out some things you'll have to turn over to God.
Property is one thing.
Some of the dear Lord's children are being held back because there's a ball and chain on their legs.
If it's a man, it's his big car and fine home.
If it's a woman it's her china and her Louis XIV furniture and all the rest.
Take that vase for instance.
There it stands, and if anybody knocked it off and broke it the poor owner would probably lose five years from her life!
The third vow is this: */Never defend yourself./*
We're all born with a desire to defend ourselves.
And if you insist upon defending yourself, God will let you do it.
But if you turn the defense of yourself over to God He will defend you.
He told Moses once, in Exodus 23:22: /“I will be an enemy unto thine enemies and an adversary to thine adversaries.”/
A long time ago the Lord and I went through the 23rd chapter of Exodus together and He gave it to me.
For 30 years now it has been a source of untold blessing to my life.
I don't have to fight.
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