“Our soul waits for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let your mercy, O Lord, be on us, according as we hope in you.” Psalm 33: 20-22.
It is God who began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus Christ. But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.
At no point in our experience can we dispense with the assistance of that which enables us to make the first start. The blessings received under the former rain are needful to us to the end. Yet these alone will not suffice. While we cherish the blessing of the early rain, we must not, on the other hand, lose sight of the fact that without the latter rain, to fill out the
ears and ripen the grain, the harvest will not be ready for the sickle, and the labor of the sower will have been in vain. Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work. There is no place for us to rest in a careless attitude. We must never forget the warnings of Christ, “Watch unto prayer,” “Watch, … and pray always.” A connection with the divine agency every moment is essential to our progress. We may have had a measure of the Spirit of God, but by prayer and faith, we are continually to seek more of the Spirit. It will never do to cease our efforts. If we do not progress, if we do not place ourselves in an attitude to receive both the former and the latter rain, we shall lose our souls, and the responsibility will lie at our own door. –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 507.
Questions to think about:
Have I opened my heart for the Holy Spirit to begin working in me?
Do I understand that if I do not receive the initial blessings, I will be deprived of the latter ones?
Am I aware of the important role of prayer in this spiritual growth?