As Christian workers, we have to be like sacramental go-betweens—so identified with our Lord and the reality of his redemption that he can continually bring his creating life through us. This doesn’t mean that Christ superimposes his personality on ours or overwhelms us with his strength. It means that his real presence comes through every element of our lives and of the work we do for him.

When we preach the historical facts of the life and death of our Lord as they are conveyed in the New Testament, our words become like holy vessels. God uses them on the ground of his redemption to create something in those who listen—something which would not be created otherwise. If we preach the effects of the redemption on human life instead of preaching the revelation about Jesus, the result in those who listen won’t be rebirth but merely refined spiritual culture. The Spirit of God isn’t able to witness through this type of preaching, because such preaching belongs to a different domain, a worldly domain. We have to make sure that we are in such living sympathy with God that through our preaching he can create in other souls the things which he alone can do.

“What a wonderful personality!” “What a fascinating speaker!” “What fantastic insight!” What chance does the gospel of God have in all that noise? It can’t get through because the line of attraction is always the line of appeal. If a preacher tries to attract with his or her personality, the appeal will be his or her personality. But if a preacher is identified with the Lord’s personality, then the appeal will be what Jesus Christ can do. The danger is to lift up human beings. Jesus says we are to elevate him: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).

Wisdom from Oswald

When you are joyful, be joyful; when you are sad, be sad. If God has given you a sweet cup, don’t make it bitter; and if He has given you a bitter cup, don’t try and make it sweet; take things as they come.  Shade of His Hand, 1226 L