The Right Spirit
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When Abraham came into God’s presence, it was on his face; and in all the other instances where the patriarchs and prophets came to God they came to Him in the same way. David was on his face in the psalm. He’d been away from God. Here he was getting back again; they had at first to get back to God, and the blessing would come. Then the right spirit would come into them. They must have just a clean heart, then the blessing was theirs. Had they a right spirit? Had they got to where they could say, as the Psalmist did, that they had sinned against God and were waiting for forgiveness (Psa. 51)? They must be able to teach transgressors God’s way.
How could they teach the wicked God’s way? They had to get the Holy Spirit, and then came the joy of God’s salvation. If they would convert sinners, they must have this spirit. How should the world know God? The world wouldn’t read the Bible, but what did the apostles say of Christians? They were known and read of all men. This was the way the world read God in them, read Christ in them. If he knew his own heart, it was to have God’s spirit. With it they could do all things; without it their work was as sounding brass and as a tinkling cymbal.
Over in the book of Nehemiah it was said that there was joy in the hearts and lives of God’s children (Neh. 8:10, 12:43). There were too many long-faced Christians. They always seemed to him to be under the lash. They’d never got away from the law [legalism]. They wanted more joy. They needed greater gladness in their lives.
“Then will I teach transgressors the way, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (Psa. 51:3) “Then.” This is when God had restored to them the joy of His salvation. They didn’t place enough stress on the word “then.” It was the turning point in their work.
This was what Chicago wanted. A few hundred live Christians that had this spirit could do a mighty work.
The king could have given a good many sheep if God had wanted them, but He didn’t. The Lord didn’t want his money. What does He say? Why, to obey was better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22). This is what was wanted – obedience. The human heart didn’t want to obey. They must have a broken and a contrite heart.
An incident of an Illinois minister whose labors had been unblessed for a time was recited, and it was related how his heart had been broken by love through a little three-year-old daughter of his, and a revival in the church followed. So, here in Chicago, said Mr. Moody, before we can have any great blessing, or any blessing at all, the hearts of the people have got to be broken, and then the blessings will come.