“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, … that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” (Eph 3:14-17; see also vs 18-21; 1:7-14).
We live so much in that superficial realm, in what we call our soul realm, where we register all the influences and sensations which come from without, where we react to all such influences and impacts, and where we have a world of our own feelings, our own consciousness; this terrible world which is so rarely quiet and calm for any length of time together. It is the realm where all the fret is, all the anxiety, the worry, the care, the forebodings, and everything that can make us believe that it is the most real and positive and solid and true world in God’s universe.
When we are in a mood [such as depression], that mood is the most real thing to us, and if any tell us it is only a mood, and not to be taken seriously, we have little patience with such people. To us it is the most real thing. We are passing through something that is in the realm of this natural, this human life, and while we are passing through, it is terribly real. Yes, it may have a physical basis, it may rise from some disorder; it may be anything in this natural life, and this natural life is a terribly real thing to us, and very often we are dangerously near believing that it is the most real and ultimate thing, and that with it we stand or fall.
Now what I want to say is that that [negative feeling] is not the deepest thing in the child of God. There may be physical disorder and mental derangement, and there may be all the most positive sensations of which this complex nature of ours can be conscious, but there is a deeper thing than that which is not touched, not moved. Right down in the depths of our being, if we are children of God, there is something which survives all that. You know that it has survived a thousand such moods and experiences. You have again and again thought that it was the end; that now you were going to be swamped and submerged, now the finish had come, through despair, melancholy, misery, or for some other reason, and you have survived that kind of thing again and again; you have come through, you have come out, you have come up. There is something there in a child of God which is deeper than that, more abiding, inviolable, a foundation of God unshaken. Any power that can survive what we sometimes have to go through in the realm of our own souls is a very great power indeed; and, believe me, this power that works in the Church is going to survive all the accumulated sensations of all the members of the Body of Christ.
Now bring all your misery together, bring all your despair together, all your sensations, all the helplessness of the outlook, and, if you are a child of God, there is a power that works within which is more than sufficient to meet and counter and triumph over all that. That is the means by which God reaches His end [purpose] in us, and if His end in us is conformity to the image of His Son [Rom. 8:29], then the power that works in us is more than enough to meet and overcome all that which is contrary to His Son in us.
Do you believe that? Not always! If we really believed that in a thoroughgoing way we should never be found occupied with ourselves, we should never be depressed because of our imperfection, there would be no room for any question as to our standing. Oh, if we did but believe this, what triumphant people we should be; for is it not true that the greater proportion of our trouble, of our despair, of our unhappiness is due to the consciousness of our own imperfection, all that we are that we would not be, and should not be, and all that we are not that we feel we ought to be.
His eternal purpose and His exceeding great power are linked together. Do not forget that. We are the object, of both, and His exceeding great power is at work within us to effect the purpose.
Part 1 of 2. First published in A Witness and A Testimony magazine, Mar-Apr 1939, Vol 17-2. Courtesy of http://www.austin-sparks.net/ “THEODORE AUSTIN-SPARKS (1888-1971) left behind a treasury of writings filled with the Wisdom, Life and Revelation of Christ.”
Bracketed references added; “worketh” changed to “works” throughout article.- JBW