“…. and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4.13b
The true Christian life is not a life of spiritual hand-me-downs in terms of experience. We can be encouraged by other saints, but we cannot live off of their testimonies and stories. We can receive insight from the brethren but we cannot ride their cloaks unto maturity. We can be quickened and challenged by their communion with the Lord but we cannot walk into the holy place by hiding behind their frames. The true life of faith is marked by the presence of God, and a believer’s walk with the Lord is founded upon the reality of actual experience with God in prayer and holy fellowship.
The Lord grants especial manifestations of Himself to the believer who seeks Him. He lavishly gives a freshness of faith, a vibrant love, and a sense of holy awe to the one who pursues Him. Charles Spurgeon gives us the real marks of a manifestation of Christ to the soul:
The Lord Jesus gives special revelations of Himself to His people.
…. Especial manifestations of Christ exercise a holy influence on the believer’s heart. One effect will be humility. If a man says, ‘I have had such-and-such spiritual communications, I am a great man’, he has never had any communion with Jesus at all; for ‘God hath respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off’. He does not need to come near them to know them, and will never give them any visits of love.
Another effect will be happiness; for in God’s presence there are pleasures for evermore.
Holiness will be sure to follow. A man who has no holiness has never had this manifestation.
…. Thus there will be three effects of nearness to Jesus- humility, happiness, and holiness. May God give them to thee, Christian!
(Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, May 12th entry)
This threefold mark upon the life of a Christian is evidence that his soul has enjoyed new and fresh transactions of communion with the Lord. May we forego a stale and categorical Christianity, and seek daily the newness of life that comes from seeing the Lamb of God afresh! And may our lives be marked with His distinctive presence- the sublime realities of humility, happiness, and holiness! Amen!
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