Like me, you probably hated to do book reports in school too. When you are forced to read a book and then write about it, your attitude kinda gets in the way of enjoying the book. You might never want to read the book again because of that experience. Such was the case for me and the book, They Found the Secret by Raymond Edman.
This was a Bible college required reading book. I was in a whole different place then attitude wise, but that’s another blog. Now that I have read and reread this book a time or two since, I’m convinced that it should be a required reading book for everyone. The only hang-up is the older style of writing of the author and the obviously older writing style of those he quotes.
The book is 20 mini-biographies of men and women of the past few hundred years and their experience with what is referred to as the baptism with/coming upon/filling of the Holy Spirit. Most of the names I had never heard of. Some of them were familiar. Andrew Murray, D.L. Moody, John Bunyan, and Oswald Chambers to name a few, uh, names. These aren’t salvation testimonies, these take place well after that. If you want to call it the second blessing, that works too, though some disagree with that theologically. For me, these stories clearly demonstrate that the filling of the Spirit in a way that is unique is and can be a separate experience from salvation.
There isn’t a formula. Well, I take that back. There kind of is. In the chapter on Oswald Chambers, Edman writes,
This pattern in the crisis of the deeper life, followed by its wide outreach, is almost identical with the experience of countless others of God’s children. First, there is the hunger of heart, often followed by a sense of desperation that leads to utter surrender of self. Thereafter there is the meeting of the soul with God in whatever manner the Almighty is pleased to reveal Himself to the desperate seeker who, like Jacob at Jabbok, will not let Him go until there is blessing.
Some people, like me, were saved in environments where the Holy Spirit wasn’t part of the equation. “Live a good life, God is God, Jesus is His Son, believe and be saved. Now get out there and bring others to church!” For me there was no dependance on the Spirit, no dependance on prayer, no concept of a “deeper life.” On the one hand, it seems like it shouldn’t take desperation on the part of a believer to really go deeper. On the other hand, desperation isn’t always a bad thing. We can be desperately in love. We can be so in love and enamored with someone that we just want more of them.
Because a relationship with Jesus is supposed to be just that, a relationship, love is a factor. Desperate love will result in simply wanting more of someone. Jesus gives us more by means of the Holy Spirit. That’s what this book is about. That, and how we can have the same things. How we are supposed to have the same thing. It’s our birthright.