During most of my Christian life there were certain things on which I took my stand, and lived up to them. This gave me the reputation of being a good Seventh-day Adventist, though to gain this result had not entered into my motive. I did these things from principle, and I am glad to say that at no time for over thirty years have I surrendered to the actual control of evil. But during this time I have had many besetments that have hindered my spiritual growth and marred my happiness.
I have had periods of a few days or weeks of seeking the Lord when I would receive rich blessing, and then settle down to the old life of sinning and repenting. All this was discouraging. I was dissatisfied and unhappy, but I was not willing to pay the price of victory. Within recent years and with growing maturity, there came to me the alarming conviction that unless I gained a real victory, I should miss the great objective that I had so long held before me.
About five years ago I attended a union conference. One Sabbath morning, as a result of a special, sermon and a period of seeking the'Lord which followed, I entered into an experience such as Sister White relates in Volume I. I had the vivid consciousness of the presence of the Saviour in' my heart for several months, and all the time I had desire to get, my church together and tell them what God had done for me. I believe now that with counsel I might have maintained this experience unbroken. But there followed a period of poor health, during which I could not study; and failing to feed the spiritual experience, it gradually faded, and I fell into a worse state than before. This naturally brought dissatisfaction to a degree that I could not have felt previously; for I had tasted of a higher experience, and feared- that I could not regain it.
All that is changed now. During the Week of Prayer last spring I became concerned about my soul as never before. It was a deep-seated, persistent concern that would not wear off. I felt that I could not continue in the work to which God had called me unless I could gain an experimental experience that would bring the Holy Spirit's witness to my labors.
I began to seek the Lord. For some days the heavens seemed as brass, but I continued to plead. I urged upon the Lord the conviction that unless He gave me help, I was lost. It was a heart cry, and God never withstands such a cry. Heaven opened, and showers of blessing began to fall. For a few weeks I seemed to be living -in the very atmosphere of heaven. The recital of favorite passages of Scripture, such as the ninety-first psalm, would fill my heart with emotions that seemed to bring me to the very gate of heaven. From that time my Bible began to be to me a personal message, and has come to hold a new place in my life.
The past summer spent in ministry to a large number of Churches has been one of the most blessed seasons of my twenty-five years of ministry. For a few weeks a revival attended every service. Those long in the way said they thought God had sent me to bring to them the message of deliverance for which they had longed for years. The only difference that I could see in my preaching was the presence in nearly every sermon of my testimony of personal victory; and as the testimony was true, God - witnessed to it.
With a few slight fluctuations this experience has persisted through the summer and still persists. My devotional hours are seasons of joy. When I plan for them or enter into them, it is with the thrill of being about to meet some loved one. Sermons are born during those hours. Homiletical material is multiplying faster than I can use it. But it is all feeding my soul, and the hour of ministry brings a joy to me that I have never had before.
Just a word as to the relation of this experience to my besetments, which is the real test. An ugly disposition in my home and with my fellow workers is rapidly being displaced by a new love for everybody and a sweetness of disposition that is new to me. I testify with humility and gratitude that other besetments are disappearing from my life. There is coming to me the thrill of knowing that my sins are forgiven and cleansed, and I face the future with courage and joyous anticipation. I am His, and He is mine.
"Not for worlds would I exchange it,
This sweet faith in Thee;
Earthly treasure cannot equal
All Thou art to me."
A College Bible Teacher