The Unction Of The Holy Spirit For Soul-Winning
By Mrs. I. F. Nesbitt
An ancient allegory tells of one of the Lord’s followers meeting Satan one day, dressed in the garb of a monk and busy in personal evangelism.
“How comes it,” asked the Christian in surprise, “that you are preaching the Gospel?”
“It has become my most clever device,” Satan answered, “for I found that the letter killeth, even as God’s Word says, and when I preach the Gospel without the unction of the Holy Spirit, it hardens men’s hearts, and so is the best way to keep them from the kingdom of God.”
Not only is it necessary in soul-winning to have a vision of the love of God and His compassion for the lost, but we need an anointing of the Holy Spirit that the words we speak may have life and power, and that we may have divine wisdom in our dealing with souls.
The anointing that fell upon my own life took place in my prayer closet as I was alone with God in deep intercession for a needy world. The travail of soul became so great that it was unbearable, when suddenly there burst over my heart such a marvelous revelation of the Lord as the all-victorious Christ to whom was given all power in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, that I saw my place of privilege and power in Him, and all life was revolutionized for me.
Struggle and effort were gone. Prayer became a reality beyond all that words can describe, and soul-winning an ease and joy.
The Girl at the Ocean’s Edge
I was teaching at a summer conference at Asbury Park. Before I left home for this appointment, one of the dear girls in my Bible class prayed that the Lord would give me souls on the crowded boardwalk of this great summer resort.
Saturday night was my rest night, and as I walked among the crowds alone, I suddenly became weary and a bit homesick. I walked out on one of the piers and sat down to rest. At the other end of the bench sat a young woman with her face turned toward the ocean where the twilight was deepening into night.
As I glanced at her, I remembered my friend’s prayer, and I said, “Lord, if this is one to whom You would speak through me, let her first talk to me.”
A moment later, a great bi-plane swooped down and floated on the tumbling waves. She turned to me and said, “Isn’t that a strange invention? It can fly and swim too.”
With that as the opening wedge, we were soon in conversation that rapidly brought us to heart depths in her life, revealing a desperate need of a Savior. With the dull thud of the breakers accompanying her words, she sobbed out the tragic story of her life.
A few months before she had wakened in the night to find the beloved mother, who was the only relative she had in the world, dead by her side. Her shock and grief were so great that it resulted in a very grave nervous breakdown. She was compelled to leave her place of employment where she had been happy and successful for many years.
She consulted physician after physician until her small savings were exhausted, and it was necessary to find some employment or starve. One of her physicians advised that she take a place in a private home at the seashore, where she could build up her nerves, and fit herself to go back to her accustomed work.
This she had done, but had been most unfortunate in the home she had entered. That night she had been turned out without pay for her services. With no money, no friends, ill in body, and depressed in spirit, she had determined to end her life, and was but waiting for the night to deepen and the pier to become deserted when she had resolved to throw herself into the sea.
“I have nothing to live for,” she repeated over and over again between her sobs.
What a joy it was to tell her of an all-sufficient Savior who had loved her so much that He had already borne her sorrow for her, so she might be happy and free. I showed her how tenderly He had led me to her, and how grievous it would be should she take the step she contemplated.
As the matchless truth of His yearning love broke over her heart, she grew quiet, and very solemnly we bowed our heads while she took Him as her personal Savior.
I took her to the home of a Christian woman in Ocean Grove, where she spent several days. We found it was her heart’s desire to become a nurse. My friend secured a position for her as nurse in a Rest Home for Women. Here Martha became a joy-bringer to many a saddened life. The residents called her “Martha Sunshine,” for her face was always radiant, and her patience seemingly never exhausted, no matter how trying her patients might be. She was the best-beloved helper in all the institution. Splendid reports came to me from time to time from the superintendent, who said, “It makes Christianity real to see a life like Martha’s.”
The Aged Atheist Disturber of Meetings
We were holding meetings in one of our eastern cities. Among those who regularly attended our services was a man of seventy or more, who was an avowed atheist. He was a source of great trial to the Christian workers as he attended the meetings only to mock the truth of God, and often upset young converts by his clever arguments against the Word of God.
He was considered a hopeless case, and we were told when we first came to the Mission not to be disturbed by him. They said he had so long resisted the Holy Spirit that the Spirit had ceased to strive with him, and it would be only a waste of time to talk with him, as he greatly prided himself on his success in turning aside every shaft of Gospel truth sent his way. He was hardened in sin as well as in unbelief.
In spite of this discouraging diagnosis of his case, he was much on my heart for prayer. I pled for his soul, and asked God to bring about his conversion in His own way.
One morning I felt a restlessness of spirit, an urge to go to the Mission. Thinking perhaps the Lord wanted me to come apart for prayer and knowing the place would be empty at that hour, I followed the urge of my spirit, and walked over to the Mission.
The room was empty, but for the janitor, who was working quietly about. I bowed my head in prayer, feeling a very precious sense of the Lord’s nearness. The sound of the door opening caused me to lift my head. My surprise was very great to see the very man for whom I was praying enter.
I felt it was a crisis hour of his life. Over and over as we talked he said, “I can’t imagine what brought me here this morning. I had no notion of coming.”
I tried every method I knew to reach his heart, but all my arguments, entreaties, and prayers were turned aside. A cold tide of discouragement sought to creep over me. Then I cried out to the Lord, casting myself out on Him in a greater reality than I had ever done before. I asked that He show me how to deal with the man, that his stubborn will might be broken, and the Holy Spirit get right of way in his heart.
Singing a God-Directed Song
Softly I began to sing, with a sob in my voice, as I thought of the man’s need, and the Savior’s love reaching toward him, offering pardon and eternal safety. The words were real to my heart, “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling to you and to me.”
I sang all the stanzas and the chorus, with my head bowed, and my heart lifted in prayer. When I ended there was a solemn silence, then to my amazement the man rose from his seat, and knelt, bowed under a strong emotion. All his arguments were swept away, as God’s Spirit dealt with his heart.
I have never heard such a terrible confession of sin as seemed literally wrung from his heart. God seemed to make me deaf to it, for while I heard the words, they had no real meaning to me. I think I could not have stood it else. When he had finished pouring out his heart in confession for God, and had grasped the grace of God for all his guilt and need, in the provision of the shed blood, he then told me what had so broken him down.
His wife had been a godly woman, and a woman of prayer. She had been dearer to his heart than anything else life had ever brought. Over and over she had pled with him to accept her Savior, but had been met with his scoffing and clever retorts until at last she had ceased to plead with him, but often as she went about her work she would sing the hymn I had just sung.
It was a great favorite of hers, but she could seldom sing it through, for her sobs would choke her, and he would be conscious that the notes had died down to intercessory prayer in his behalf. As she lay dying she pled with him for the last time, but even in the hour when his heart was breaking, he hardened himself against the truth.
As I sang the hymn, the memories flooded his heart. It seemed her voice, singing again with the sob in the tones of yearning for his salvation.
He said, “I am an old man now. I haven’t long to live. I’m sure now I am going to the ‘land that is fairer than day,’ where she’ll be singing without any tears, and we’ll praise this wonderful Savior forever.”
I have never known greater joy to break over a meeting than when he rose that night, and gave his testimony. It was the beginning of a season “of refreshing from the presence of the Lord” long to be remembered. Oh, the faithfulness of God’s Spirit in leading me to sing that hymn!
How God Honored a Widow’s Mite
We were caught in a severe blizzard one night while holding meetings in Schenectady, NY. At the close of the meeting a woman came up to me and said, “I want to give you something. I had a blessing from the message tonight, and I wish I could give you a great deal, but I can only give you what I have and not what I have not.”
She placed in my hand a five-cent piece, and with tears in her eyes told me that her husband was unsaved, that he was very bitter toward religion and would not give her anything but her carfare. She had ridden to the meeting but intended to walk home, which was quite a distance away, in order to give me her carfare.
My first impulse was to protest. It was almost impossible for me to consider such a thing as to permit her to walk through the severe storm, but the Spirit checked my refusal. I remembered that the Lord honored the widow who cast in all her living, and so I took the money, but I said if the woman so desired we would pray then and there that the Lord would save her husband, and also a grown son who had followed in his father’s footsteps.
The next night the radiant-faced woman greeted me at the close of the service. She had walked home the night before, but the drifts were so great and the wind so strong she made slow progress. It was almost midnight when she reached her home, worn and wet, but with a strange new peace in her heart unlike anything she had ever experienced before.
Her husband was waiting for her and was in a violent temper because of the anxiety she had caused him. They stood in the kitchen with the melting snow dripping from her clothes while she told him of the blessing she had received and repeated to him the message of the evening, and then told him of her gift.
As she talked his anger began to change to conviction. He walked into the next room where she heard him stirring restlessly about. She removed her wet clothing and was preparing something hot to drink when he came in and knelt at the kitchen table. She knelt beside him and for the first time in her life was able to pray aloud with him. Soon he was completely broken down and then and there took the Lord as His Savior.
The son was wakened by their voices, came in and as the father brokenly made confession to the son of his new-found Savior, the young man’s heart was melted too, and he also came to Christ that night. The little mother said it was like heaven in that kitchen and she could never thank God enough that He laid it on her heart to give me the five-cent piece. Her husband said the thing that touched him was that she cared enough for the Lord to be willing to walk through all that darkness and storm in order to give something to His cause. He began to see a reality in religion that he had never seen before.
God knows how to unlock hearts and can choose the strangest means to do so, if we will but yield and let Him.
– From Christ Life.