They That Honor God, God Will Honor (continued)
The Basic Principle of Spiritual Effectiveness
The first chapter of this book, as we have said, introduces that basic principle of spiritual power, authority, dominion, which comes out in the life of Daniel and his friends, and that basic principle is found in the words: "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank" (Daniel 1:8). I do want to add just a very brief word in that connection again by way of extra emphasis, to point out that no life can be spiritually effective, can count for God in the spiritual realm, bring in the government of God, can uphold or maintain or advance the testimony of Jesus, stand against the powers of darkness, bring the consummation of the ages nearer, which is the overthrow of the whole satanic kingdom and the bringing in of the universal rule of the heavens. - Only in so far as that life is in a position of absolute separation from everything in that realm against which that testimony of Jesus stands, will be spiritually effective. If you have one link, one point of contact voluntarily with that system through any medium, you are crippled, you are paralyzed.
How often we have had people come to us and they have poured out a story of spiritual defeat, of failure, an up and down experience (not a down and up one), more downs than ups, a lack of spiritual power, and when we have sought to get to the cause of it they have been willing to confess various things, they have come out quite frankly - "I think it very likely may be this or that or something else." And they have not made much difficulty about confessing certain things, and the Spirit of the Lord has been saying to us: "It is not that, there is something else." "There is something else that they are not willing to mention," and when through probing and sifting at last we have got on the scent of the thing, we have touched something that had a relation to their like, something they liked (these other things they did not like, and therefore were willing to confess them), but there was something that they liked, some indulgence of the flesh, and this they would not confess. I remember a man who was in that category, and when one tried to help him he was ready to confess that most likely it was his bad temper, that was the trouble. Confessed it with a long face, and in my heart I felt, No, that is not it, there is something else, and I was asking the Lord: "What is it?" "Give this thing into my hands," and as that man got round to another point of the compass in his direction to me I got his breath, and the Lord said" "That is it, tobacco." And I said: "Has the Lord ever put His finger upon a certain habit, indulgence?" "You may have argued that there was no wrong in it, but has the Lord every very gently said something to you about that?" and I say by a flush that the thing had been touched. He said: "Well, I see no harm in that, what is wrong with that? A good many other men have been used of God who do it." I said: "It is not a matter of general right and wrong; right and wrong is a matter of whether the Lord has ever just touched a thing ever so lightly and said, not that it was a downright wicked thing, but: "I would rather it was not" and that raises the issue. When we had got down to that he said: "There have been times when I have come up against it." I said: "Brother, that is the arrest of your whole spiritual life and that is the back door through which the devil comes in, and the bad temper is not the cause but the effect, and all the defeat is the result of one reservation that you have with the Lord. There is not a full obedience and willing abandonment; you are prepared to confess all sorts of faults, but that one thing you are not prepared to confess, you have got a hold with the Lord."
(continued with # 50 - (satan's Vantage Ground)