WFTW Body: 

If we were to draw a graph of our Christian life, it will have ups and downs in it. That is how everybody's experience is. But the general direction should be upward as the years pass by. We move slowly upwards, with ups and downs and with plateaus in between. Our falls become less frequent, and the plateaus gradually become longer. The climbs are not necessarily sudden and steep - although it could be so occasionally. But generally the climbs are more gradual. But with those who don't believe in, or seek after victory, the graph will keep going downwards - because they do not fear God or believe His promises.

Take sin seriously and mourn after every single failure. That way you will know that you do indeed fear God. As you have often heard me say, the fact that we fall into sin is not as serious as the fact that we do not mourn after we fall into sin. If I have challenged you to repent and mourn immediately after you fall into sin (or grieve God in any way) then I have done my duty.

The widow who came to Elisha in her need (2 Kings 4) was told to borrow vessels from her neighbours and to pour out her small can of oil into them and fill them up. Thus she could clear her debt. She did that. Finally her sons said, "There are no more vessels to be filled". Then we read the words: "Then the oil stopped flowing".

The oil here is a picture of the Holy Spirit. And this is exactly what happens to many who experience the baptism (infilling) of the Spirit. They are genuinely filled initially. But then a time comes in the lives of many of them, when there is no more sense of need (no more vessels to be filled). Then the Spirit stops flowing through their lives. The empty vessels could represent the areas in our life where we are un-Christ-like. There are many, many areas like that in all of our lives that need to be filled right up to the brim - and not just partially.

In some areas, where you may have got victory over sin, the vessels are only partially full - for Christlikeness (or partaking of the Divine nature) is far more than victory over sin. For example, there is a lot of difference between not having any bitterness against someone and loving him. The former is merely negative (victory over sin). The latter is positive (the Divine nature). In the same way, there is a lot of difference between not getting angry and speaking good words that bless. Even so in many other areas. If we are satisfied that we have overcome sin in some area, then we rest content imagining that "There are no more vessels left". Then the oil stops flowing - and we begin to backslide.

We must live a life of constant repentance ourselves, and not judge others. Our duty is only to see that we always have empty vessels ready to be filled. Only thus can we clear our debt (like that widow). Our debt is described in Romans 13:8 - "You owe a debt of love to all men". It is thus that we can be a blessing to others. Every situation is designed to save us from some area of Self and to make us a blessing to others. Others cannot be blessed through us, if our own empty vessels are not filled first.