For Lent this week I re-read a book I had read when I was in High School. It is a small book, printed in 1932. I have a copy of the thirteenth edition, published in 1957. No, I was not in High School then, but it happens to be one year before my birth. The book is titled “The Man God Uses,” by Oswald J. Smith, the founder of Toronto’s People’s Church and a highly regarded biblical scholar, preacher, and author in his time. In fact, if you wish, you may download that book here for free.

I don’t agree everything in this book, primarily his view of separation from the people of the world, which I think is a bit extreme in most cases (there are, of course, cases where people are so blatantly opposed to God and viscerally against everything we stand for that we need to back off, but when the Bible talks about separation it is mostly about separation from the systems of the world). But this man was on fire for God. In fact, this is the title of his official biography by Lois Neely, “Fire in his Bones.”

And here are the eight things Dr. Smith listed as sine qua non (“must be present”) in order for a man to be used by God to a far greater degree:

1. He has but one great purpose in life. God and His work is the greatest enterprise in his life and all the other interests become secondary. I love the expression he coined for this: being “out and out” for Christ.

2. He has, by God’s grace, removed every hindrance from his life. No one needs to tell you what is hindering you from being used by God. You know. And if you are going to be used by Him, you will get rid of it by His power;

3. He has placed himself absolutely at God’s disposal. That means saying an eternal “YES” to God and an eternal “NO” to self;

4. He has learned to prevail in prayer. There is a discipline here. Set time and place and a prevailing, meaning to keep coming back to God until He grants our request. “We must pray through and get the answer.”

5. He is a student of the Word. The Word of God must become to you like your daily food and dink. It must become part of you. And we must not doubt it. “God cannot use a man who doubts his word.”

6. He has a vital, living message to a lost world. I would call it a “compelling” message. The only message worth sharing is the one that says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is the one that says, “Christ died for our sins.”

7. He is a man of faith who expects results. Look for definite results. Always expect God to work in a mighty way; otherwise, don’t even bother to work for Him.

8. He works in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. “One sermon preached in the Anointing is worth a thousand in the energy of the flesh.”

Though Oswald Smith wrote to men, and particularly the ones who were either in ministry or contemplating it, these attributes of the person God uses to the fullest apply to all of us today, men and women. I trust that you will seek to have these attributes in your life as well.

Are you out and out for Christ?

 

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

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