C. H. Spurgeon is regarded as one of the greatest preachers of the modern era. Born in Kelvedon, Essex, England on 19 June 1834, Spurgeon grew into one of the most influential churchmen of his day and remains a studied and quoted preacher in every denomination to this day. Pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London for 38 years, Spurgeon preached and taught through several major upheavals in the church. No matter the controversy, he was quick to point out that at the center of everything there lies the Cradle and the Cross. If we have any need, we need only recognize that the fulfilment of our desire is not the ‘it’ of our mind, but rather the HE of our spirit.
Spurgeon wrote in Morning and Evening,
All that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace. Just as all blessings flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit.
Even if the good seed is sown in you, it still lies dormant until He works in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure.
Do you desire to speak for Jesus—how can you unless the Holy Spirit touches your lips?
Do you desire to pray? Sadly, what dull work it is unless the Spirit makes intercession for you!
Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you looking to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and love for the Master’s cause? You cannot without the Spirit—“Apart from me you can do nothing.”
O branch of the vine, you can have no fruit without the sap! O child of God, you have no life within you apart from the life that God gives you through His Spirit!
So let us not grieve Him or provoke Him to anger by our sin. Let us not quench Him even in one of His faintest motions in our soul; let us foster every suggestion and be ready to obey every prompting.
If the Holy Spirit is indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without His; let us begin no project and carry on no enterprise and conclude no transaction without seeking His blessing.
Let us give Him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from Him, and then depend alone upon Him, having this for our prayer: “Open my heart and my whole being to Your fullness, and uphold me with Your Spirit when I have received that Spirit in my inward parts.” John 15:5 Morning and Evening, C. H. Spurgeon
At first glance, some of Spurgeon’s words may seem provocative, even off-putting; but as we live into them, we find peace and comfort there. If you are feeling afflicted this Advent season, weary and heavy burdened by life in general, Spurgeon’s reflection reminds us to let the Holy Spirit carry what we should not. Enter into the sacred space of Advent by receiving the joy already prepared for us. “The Holy Spirit is indeed…mighty.”
Peace in Christ,
Father Bill Burk†