WFTW Body: 

It is when we become weak that we are truly strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Abraham produced Ishmael in the power of his natural strength, but God would not accept Ishmael, and asked Abraham to send him away (Genesis 17:18-21; 21:10-14). At the judgment-seat of Christ, when we present our well-meant efforts, produced through our human abilities without dependence on God, He will tell us too that they are unacceptable. All of that wood, hay and straw will then be reduced to ashes.

Only that which was done "through God" will remain.

When Abraham came to the place of impotence - when his natural ability to produce children had ceased - then Isaac was born, through divine power, and this son was acceptable to God.

One Isaac is worth more than a thousand Ishmaels, as far as God is concerned. One gram of gold is worth more than a kilogram of wood - after the fire has tested them both. A little done in the power of the Holy Spirit is worth far more than much done in our own strength.

Our good works and our own efforts to serve the Lord will always be filthy rags both before and after conversion. But that righteousness which is produced by faith, and that service which has been done in dependence on the Holy Spirit - will form our wedding garment on the day of the marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:8). What a difference - either filthy rags or a beautiful wedding dress! It all depends on whether our life is lived in our own soul-power or the power of God.

Jesus depended on the power of the Spirit for His ministry too. He did not dare to go into the preaching ministry without first being anointed by the Holy Spirit. For thirty years He had already lived in perfect holiness through the power of the Spirit, so that the Father could testify, "This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well-pleased" (Matthew 3:17). Yet He needed to be anointed by the Spirit for service. And so He prayed to be anointed, and He was (Luke 3:21). And because He loved righteousness and hated sin more than any man that ever lived, He was anointed more abundantly than any other man (Hebrews 1:9). As a result, people were delivered from the captivity of Satan, through His ministry. This was the chief purpose and the primary manifestation of the anointing (See Luke 4:18 and Acts 10:38).

God's work is not done through human talents and abilities. Men who are highly gifted naturally, when converted, often think that they can now use their intellectual and emotional powers to influence others for God.

Many Christians even mistake their eloquence, logic, and clarity of utterance for the power of the Holy Spirit. But these are only the powers of the soul, and they will be a hindrance in the service of God, if any dependence is placed on them. Work done through human soul-power can never be eternal. It will perish, if not in time, then at the judgment seat of Christ.

Jesus did not depend on the power of eloquence or of emotion to move people towards God. He knew that any work done through such soul-power would only reach the souls of His audience, and never help them spiritually. He did not, for the same reason, use musical entertainment of any sort to draw people to God.

He did not play on the feelings of His audiences and work them up to feverish excitement to get them to surrender to God. In fact, He used none of these and other soulish methods that are so common with evangelists and preachers today. He did not use emotional passion and soulish fervour to influence people. These are the methods of the politician and the salesman, and He was neither of the two.

As the Servant of Jehovah, Jesus depended entirely on the Holy Spirit in all His labours. The result was that those who followed Him came into a deep life in God themselves.

Jesus did not use soul-power to manipulate others to His way of thinking. He never imposed Himself on others. He always gave others the freedom to reject Him if they so chose. Soulish Christian leaders dominate their flock and their co-workers by their strong personality. People are awed into subjection to such leaders and adore them and obey their every word.

Multitudes may flock around such a leader, and they may even all be united, but it is only a unity of devotion to the leader. Such leaders may even delude themselves into thinking that what they have is the power of the Holy Spirit because they are not able to distinguish between soul and spirit. Their followers are also similarly deceived. But the clear light of the judgment-seat will reveal that it was all human soul-power and that it hindered the work of God.

Jesus was no such leader. Neither should any Christian be. We should dread to use our soul-power, for it is a violation of God's laws for man and cannot but be a hindrance in His service.

A truly spiritual work can never be done by the power of the human soul, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew this; and so, He constantly put His soul-power to death. Thus, He was able to do a deep and abiding work in those who followed Him in a very short time.