Our Sabbatical Periods 4/5

Do you see what a Sabbath this is? What a fasting this is from the world and the things of the world and the people of the world, and how it spiritually fills you and renews you and rejuvenates you. And then, you can come down from the mountain, come down to the valley, mingle with the people, and meet their needs.

And it is a life lived completely without desire, so that when you go into prayer or meditation, that which has acted as a barrier in the lives of everyone, is no longer a barrier in your life. You do not go into prayer or meditation with a desire, except the one—that great desire which can only increase, and which becomes the only desire of our lifetime—to know Thee aright. Not only to know Thee aright, but to know Thee constantly, to know Thee consciously. That becomes the only desire that is left. And as you go into your meditation, you have now overcome the world.

I do not seek help for anything or for anybody. I seek only to know Thee aright, to know Thee constantly, to know Thee consciously. I seek only to abide in Thy presence. It’s almost like feeling a hand up on top of the head, in a benediction. Just to know Thy grace, to know Thy will, to fulfill Thy will, to sit at Thy feet, to tabernacle with Thee, to feel that Thy life is my life.

I have no more wisdom. If I speak of myself I bear witness to a lie. I can of my own self do nothing, and I want to do nothing. I want to have no powers, God, no powers—just that Thy power may manifest itself through me.

No wisdom, God. I’m at the period of unknowing, when I know nothing, and I know that anything that I thought I knew wasn’t a power. But Thy wisdom, O Lord: let Thy wisdom be expressed through me; let Thy wisdom be my wisdom; let Thy grace be my sufficiency. I ask not for persons or for things or conditions, I ask only that I may really and truly be able to say, honestly, Thy grace is my sufficiency, whatever form it takes.

That wherever I am, Thou art; and wherever Thou art I am. That I have no work to do but that which Thou givest me; that I have no wisdom with which to do it, but Thy wisdom, and no power with which to perform it, but Thy power. Thou perform that which is given me to do. Thou supply the wisdom and the energy and the grace, that I may always feel my nothingness, and yet feel perfection and completeness through Thy grace, Thy wisdom. Abide in me; let me abide in Thee.

Ah but you see, you can’t abide in God except through a conscious act of your own will. To abide in God, you have to close the eyes, not necessarily physically, but close the eyes mentally to the world, and consciously realize, “I abide in Thee, and Thou abideth in me.” Now you have performed it; you have brought it about.

You are not surrendering yourself to God’s will unless you consciously surrender yourself to God’s will. And in order to do that, you have to disclaim any will of your own: “I have no will, no desire of my own.”

One of the hymns that we used to sing said, “Fill me with all that Thou art, fill me with all that Thou art; fill me with thy wisdom, with Thy might, with Thy justice, that I may have nothing of myself and be nothing of myself. Thou art my bread and my meat and my wine. Thou art closer to me than breathing and nearer than hands and feet; I in Thee and Thou in me.”

Do you see what a Sabbath this is? What a fasting this is from the world and the things of the world and the people of the world, and how it spiritually fills you and renews you and rejuvenates you. And then, you can come down from the mountain, come down to the valley, mingle with the people, and meet their needs. Not by virtue of you—by virtue of the grace of God, which now fills you; by virtue of the Spirit of God, which now consciously indwells you. I can do all things, for me or for you, through Christ, which dwelleth in me.

So do you see that Sabbath must take on a far greater meaning than that which we have heretofore given it. Surely we should have one day in the week to rest from material cares and human woes. And if it is possible, have that day in the week, but for ninety-nine and nine-tenths of the people that is impossible. They have family duties and family cares, and some have professional cares, and some even business cares even on the Sabbath day. Therefore, a full day of Sabbath is almost an impossibility in the ordinary person’s way of life. I know it’s impossible in my way of life. I know that even in my work, we cannot take a full day every week for this. But nevertheless we have our Sabbath day, but we have it in ten-minute periods, fifteen-minute periods, twenty-minute periods, or we have it in the middle of the night—but we do not live without these Sabbath periods.

Then, when an occasional day does come along completely free, then we have the opportunity of living with the books, living with meditation, living with the Bible, and having a full and complete day, once in a great while, of Sabbath.

There have been times, especially at the end of a three or four or five-month period of lecture and class work, when I have been compelled to take three or four days—actually spend them in bed, and have my meals in bed, because the need has been so great, after a long period like that, for a complete, new spiritual revival, a complete, new spiritual intake. Because those ten and fifteen minute periods throughout the day and night haven’t really sufficed to go through three or four or five months of intensive lecture and class work and all the other obligations that come.

And so I can imagine that anybody in the human life must have a time when even they must even get away from their families; they must even get away from their art or their profession, and live two or three days completely in their spiritual literature and meditation.

My way is to read for fifteen minutes or twenty or thirty, until I have found some particular passage that serves me, and then stop for a period of contemplation and meditation, which may last ten minutes or may last an hour or an hour and a half—then read again, meditate and ponder again.

And so I can put in many, many, many hours of the day and the night—just volleying back and forth between reading, meditating, reading, meditating. Even in my office, and I’m in my office at home from early morning and sometimes into the late at night. But as I dictate my mail, in between the letters—I might dictate two or three letters—then pick up a book and read, then go into meditation, then go back to the letters again. And so it is that I am having renewals, throughout the day and throughout the night. And yet I say to you that that isn’t sufficient; there really should be days and weeks of Sabbath.

And if I need that, I know you need it even more than I, because I know that you are out in the world continuously rubbing elbows with the other side of the world, what we call “this world.” And much more so must you need Sabbath.

But learn that a Sabbath is only truly a Sabbath if you do not permit the human world to come into that period of Sabbath. You must be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. You must not take your problems, your family’s problems, your neighbor’s problems, this world’s problems into those periods of your Sabbath. You must go into a Sabbath or a prayer for one purpose alone: Seek ye the kingdom of God and his righteousness; seek ye the realization of His presence and His power and His grace, and then when you come out of it you’ll find all these things are added unto us. All these things: Whatever knowledge we need to carry on our business, is added unto us; whatever physical strength we need, whatever moral support we need, whatever it is that we need to carry on our obligations are provided for us in those periods of Sabbath.

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