Far too many Christians live their spiritual life on the “battery system.”
Lest that sounds a strangely peculiar idea, let me explain at once what I mean. I can dimly remember how, when I was a very little boy, my dear mother sometimes took me to a town where, if I remember rightly, about that time there was a change-over in the street-car system. The older type of street-car used to run on the battery system. There was an electric battery on the front or rear platform of the car, and so long as the battery was “alive” the car would run; but as soon as the battery was exhausted, the car would stop dead. It was far from satisfactory, hence the change-over.
There are Christian believers who seem to run their spiritual life and service on that [battery] system:
They go to a convention on the deeper life and when they return home, they are altogether different for three weeks!
Or they read some epochal Christian biography, and as they close the book they say, “Ah, life can never be the same again” nor is it –for three weeks!
Or they have an all-night of prayer. Things have been going from bad to worse with them, so they bring things to a crisis.While others sleep, they wrestle on the banks of their nocturnal brook Jabbok (Gen. 23:22), and when the sun rises they are transfigured–for three weeks, after which they lapse again to the dull average.
Why? Because they are resting on a crisis instead of on Christ.
The Christian life was never meant to run on the battery system. It was meant to run on the electric circuit principle.
You know what that is. Put simply, it is just this: continuous current through continuous contact. You and I have no power over the current; but we do have power over the contact; and when, by regular prayer-times, daily meditation in the written Word, consecration to Christ and separation from unworthy ways, we maintain the “contact” then the heavenly current, the Holy Spirit, the life of Christ, is continuously communicated to us.
J. Sidlow Baxter. quoted in His Victorious Indwelling, ed. Nick Harrison (Zondervan)
To elaborate on this analogy, since Christ indwells the regenerate believer, the “contact” has to do with abiding (fellowship, yielding, and trusting) in His empowering presence within (John 15:1-5). – JBW