Exaltation of the humble
Someone wrote to me recently asking what I meant by a statement which occurs in the booklet Paths to Power, which I wrote some years ago. The passage reads: “No one was ever filled with the Holy Spirit without knowing it. The Holy Spirit always announces Himself to the human consciousness.” What bothered my correspondent was the nature of this “announcement.” Of what does it consist? How may we recognize it? Is it some kind of physical evidence, or what?
This whole question is worthy of larger treatment than I can give it in this limited space. But possibly these thoughts will prove helpful to any who may be confused about the nature of spiritual evidence.
There is such a thing as the secret workings of the Spirit in the soul of man, for a time unknown and unsuspected by the individual. In fact, most of the fruits of the Spirit are unsuspected by the man in whom they are found. The most loving, most patient, most compassionate soul is unlikely to be aware of these graces. He is almost certain to believe that he is anything but loving or patient or kind. Others will discover the operations of the Spirit within him long before he will and will thank God for his sweet Christian character while he may at the same time be walking in great humility before God, mourning the absence of the very graces that others know he possesses.From Adam we inherit the instinct to meet our enemies head on, to try to win by direct assault, and it is only after many shocking failures that we learn that victories are not so won in the realm of the spiritual. The carnal approach usually does little more than to alienate the enemy still further from us and, worse than all, it puts us in a position where God cannot help us. The enemy never quite knows how to deal with a humble man; he is so used to dealing with proud, stubborn people that a meek man upsets his timetable. And furthermore, the man of true humility has God fighting on his side–who can win against God?
Strange as it may seem, we often win over our enemies only after we have first been soundly defeated by the Lord Himself. God often conquers our enemies by conquering us. He defeated Esau by defeating Jacob the night before on the bank of the Jabbok. The conquest of Esau took place in his brother Jacob. It is often so. When God foresees that we must meet a deadly opponent, he assures our victory by bringing us down in humbleness at His own feet. After that, everything is easy. We have put ourselves in a position where God can fight for us, and in a situation like that, the outcome is decided from eternity.