A Spirit Of Dependence On God
By William B. Sprague
If we would labor successfully in the cause of revivals, we must labor with a spirit of dependence on God.
This is the spirit that is most likely to bring success to our labors because it is most likely to render us active and faithful. He who depends upon his own strength, has but a feeble motive to exertion; for his strength is but weakness; and when viewed in relation to the object to be accomplished – the conversion of the soul – it is the weakness of an infant. But he who depends on God has the most powerful motive for action that can be presented; for he realizes that the almighty and everlasting arm is round about him in his work; and this is the only pledge of success that he needs. With this encouragement he is prepared to labor vigorously and perseveringly; to labor in the face of appalling obstacles; to labor even in the darkest times; for he knows that God’s grace is sufficient to render the feeblest of his efforts mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.
Besides, it is a spirit of dependence that honors God. In it there is a practical acknowledgment of our own weakness, and of His greatness and goodness, of His ability and readiness to help. In the exercise of it, man sinks down before the throne as nothing, and with the confidence of a child, lifts up his heart to God as all in all. And them that honor Him in the exercise of this spirit, He will honor by sending down in answer to their prayers the blessings of His grace. And on this subject I appeal with confidence to facts. Wherever God’s people have been truly humbled before Him, and have been brought deeply to feel their own impotence, and have been willing to be used as mere instruments, and to let Him have all the glory, there you will find that a rich blessing has usually been bestowed; and on the other hand, where they have had little sense of their need of divine influence, and have addressed themselves to their work with a spirit of self-confidence, however diligently they may have labored, they have ordinarily been compelled to witness barrenness and lethargy in the train of their efforts; or, if there has been the appearance of a revival, there is much reason to apprehend that there is in it little of the presence or power of God.
What then, Christians, is the great practical inference which you ought to deduce in respect to yourselves? It is that in all your labors for the revival of God’s work in the midst of you, or for the promotion of the general cause of revivals, you should feel more deeply that the Lord is your strength. Every effort that you make in the spirit of self-confidence is an insult to the Holy Ghost. Go forth then, leaning upon the Almighty arm. Go and do your duty to each other and to the world; go and instruct the ignorant, and guide the inquiring, and put forth every effort you can to bring souls to Jesus; but remember after all, and remember for your rich encouragement, the doctrine of sovereign grace. Yes, even in the moments when you feel the weakest, and when your work seems the greatest, and when obstacles the most appalling rise up in your path, and when your heart is driven from every other source of hope, even then, remember the doctrine of sovereign grace, and hold on your way laboring, yet rejoicing.
– Taken from Lectures On Revivals Of Religion by William B. Sprague.