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Decision, Not Emotion

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Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

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Code: MA-4017-100-ENG

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My experience is that multitudes of sincere Christians have relegated to the realm of emotion what properly belongs in the realm of decision. As a result, they are more or less the slaves of feeling, circumstance and situation, desiring to do that which is right but never able to rise above the things that seem to beset them and to hold them down. Now one important factor in changing this situation is the making of a right decision. I do not say that in every case this will completely solve your problem, but it is an integral part of the solution without which you will not be able to solve your problems. Psalm 103:1–2:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (KJV)

Now David is there, as in other passages of the psalms, speaking to his soul. I have a somewhat analytical type of mind, that’s partly due to my background, and the way I look at it is this: If David is speaking to his soul, it’s not his soul that is speaking.

Now you may not agree with that but that is the way I view it. What is it in David that is speaking to his soul? My answer is it is David’s spirit. The Bible tells us clearly that man is made up of spirit, soul and body. Once I get onto this it’s difficult for me not to preach on it, but I don’t want to do that tonight. I just want to suggest to you that there are these three elements of man. Almost everybody except the philosopher would acknowledge that he has a body. I say that because I happen to have been a professional philosopher and I know that there are some philosophers you couldn’t even convince of that. Most people, and I suppose most people here tonight, will acknowledge that they have a soul. But my experience is that most people are unaware that they even have a spirit until they receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The key experience that isolates the spirit of man from the other areas of human personality, brings it into focus, liberates it and gives it the ability to operate on its own as God intended, is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. At least that was so in my case. I knew I had a soul, I knew I had a body, and for years I cultivated both to the utmost of my ability. I did everything I could to satisfy every requirement, whim, fancy or desire of my soul and my body. The strange thing was that I became less and less satisfied. The more I satisfied these two elements of my personality, the more dissatisfied I became. I was unaware that there was a third element within me which was the element that was dissatisfied, my spirit. But when I met the Lord in a very real and personal way, and when he baptized me in the Holy Spirit, immediately I realized that that was the area in me that was looking for satisfaction and had found none up to that moment. And immediately I saw that the Bible’s presentation of human personality is spirit, soul and body is correct.

Now I believe that the highest element in man in a certain sense, is the spirit. I believe that the spirit is the God conscious path of man. I believe that the spirit of man can know God direct, if you wish, by intuition. I don’t care what word you use. And that while the soul has theories and theology and doctrine, it’s the spirit that has revelation and knows God. It says in 1Corinthians 6:17:

“But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” (KJV)

I believe it would be totally incorrect to substitute the word soul for spirit and say he that is joined to the Lord is one soul. It’s not the soul that’s united to the Lord, it’s the spirit. What man knoweth the things of a man said the spirit of man which is in him. There are things in me my soul doesn’t know about. My mind doesn’t acknowledge, but they’re real and they’re there. And that’s another feature about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, when you receive the baptism, you become aware of things inside you that needed attention that your mind wouldn’t even acknowledge were there. Many people carry about with them what the Bible calls a wounded spirit. Maybe something happened in childhood or in the past that left a deep wound in their spirit. The mind shut it off and refused to acknowledge it, wouldn’t even acknowledge its existence. And yet when a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit you will see many times there comes this release of the spirit, the person begins to sob and to weep without any intellectual reason why they should sob. The spirit at last is able to express itself, cry out to God, and obtain release from those pressures which have dominated it for so long. But though the spirit, in a certain sense, especially through regeneration and the baptism, the spirit of man is the part that knows God. And in a certain sense, knows what ought to be done, it’s the soul that makes the decisions. That’s the way I understand it. In a certain sense it’s true to say that the soul is saved because salvation demands a decision.

So here we have David’s spirit telling his soul what his soul ought to do. Bless the Lord, O my soul. David’s spirit knew what ought to be done but it couldn’t be done until David’s soul cooperated with his spirit and responded to this challenge. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

We are warned against forgetting the benefits of God. And because we’re at this passage and I happen to love it, I’m going to just briefly renumerate the benefits that we are warned not to forget. Many Christians do not enjoy these benefits because they failed to remember them. There are six specific benefits of God that are listed in the next three verses.

“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (KJV)

There are the six successive benefits. God forgives all our iniquities, he heals all our diseases, he redeems our life from destruction, he crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies, he satisfied our mouth with good things and the six benefit, our youth is renewed like the eagle’s. I believe there’s a very close connection between having your mouth filled with good things and having your youth renewed like the eagle’s.

For many years I was more or less content with the first benefits in the list. But I’ve reached the state in life now where I have to depend also on benefit number six: Who will reneweth thy youth like the eagle’s. Now I really believe that. I personally am convinced it is not the will of God for God’s people to grow old the way that the world grows old. I do not mean that there will not be any change produced by age, but old age does not need to be a time of failure and misery and sickness. This was brought very clearly to me when my mother became ill and was in a hospital in Taunton and I had visited her there off an on for about four years until she died. She was in a ward for old people and there used to be about four or five or six other elderly ladies there. And it always was a burden on me to go and visit her. As I looked around, one would be blind, another would be deaf, another would be simple and another would have arthritis. My mother was there with a condition that affected her memory and her ability to speak and so on. And I would say to myself, “God, does it really have to be that way? Is that the end?” And God very clearly said to me, “It’s not the way my people need to end.”

It’s very hard to find a believer in the Bible who died sick. You can find them. One of the most surprising was the prophet Elisha. It says definitely in the Bible that Elisha died sick and strangely enough, there was such power even in his bones that when they buried a man in the same sepulcher, the man came alive again. There seems to be a paradox, but there it is. I can’t actually offhand think of another believer in the Bible that died sick. I mean I’m not saying there aren’t any but there are so few it’s an intellectual effort to find them. Brother Jim Brown who is known to many of you was preaching once on healing. And a lady came up to him in the vestibule of the church afterwards—I believe it was his own church where he pastors—and said, “Brother Brown, I do believe I’m going to have to die.” And he said, “Well sister, die well.” Now that’s not ridiculous, it’s God’s plan. You do not have to be sick to die. You can die well. You can give up the ghost. Release your spirit and go. And if the time comes for me to do that, that’s what I trust the Lord will enable me to do. And in the meanwhile, I don’t believe that I have to look forward to misery and confined activity and a gradual losing of my mental faculties. That’s not on my program. But it depends of course on my living in that relationship with the Lord where I am entitled to claim these six benefits.

I’m not yet come to the subject of my message but I’m getting there. Those that know me know the introductions are usually longer than the message. But I want to give this testimony in case you haven’t heard it. In l963 I was associate pastor of an Assembly of God church in Minneapolis. One of my duties was to visit the sick and the shutins which I never have enjoyed, I have to confess. And one of the men that I had to visit was a cancer patient with terminal cancer in a hospital in Minneapolis. And I used to visit him about once or twice a week, not to pray for his healing but just to encourage him and keep him trusting the Lord till the end came. One day the hospital phoned me and said that if you want to see Mr. So and So, you better come today, we’ve notified the family, we believe the end is near. So I went to see this man really meaning to say good-bye to him, say, “I’ll meet you in the next world.” When I got there and sat beside the bed I didn’t feel somehow that this was the leading of the Lord and I didn’t know what to do so I said, “Shall I read the scripture for you?” He said yes so I opened up to Psalm 103 and read those first five verses. He said, “That’s good. Read it again.” So I read it again. I said, “Would you like me to read it again?” He said yes. I read it three times then I said, “Would you like to be able to look at it while I’m reading it?” So I propped up the Bible in front of his eyes so he could see it. I read it again and said, “How about reading it with me?” He did. Then I said to him, “Now listen, why don’t we make a little change here and where it says thine iniquities, thy diseases, let’s say my iniquities and my diseases.” So we read it that way. We must have read those words seven or eight times.

At the end of that I didn’t feel somehow that I could pray a prayer of farewell, see you in the next world. I mean, I had no anticipation of anything but death, but I said good night and God bless you, that’s all. I heard later what happened. Now that man had not eaten solid food for several months. The next morning they brought the hospital breakfast and he ate it all. About the middle of the morning he was so hungry that he phoned his wife and said, “They’re not feeding me properly in this hospital. I want barbecued spare ribs the way you fix them. Fix them and bring them in.” And she did. And to cut the story short, he was out of the hospital before the end of the week. So there is a tremendous power in not forgetting the Lord’s benefits. I cannot say it was due to my faith, it was not. But I believe these words.

Now we come to this point where we find that there are certain things that God requires us to do. And primarily it will be the spirit that will lay hold upon these things and realize them. To quote Brother Cornwall quoting Brother Paul, he said, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God.” The Greek word for natural is soulish. The soulish man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, but he that is spiritual discerneth all things.

Now there’s a deliberate contrast between the soulish and the spiritual. The spiritual is able to apprehend the will and the mind of God. The soulish does not apprehend it but must receive it by way of the spiritual. The spiritual transmits it to the soul, the soul has to make the decision. That is to say my personality is interdependent. One part of me cannot act without reference to the rest. So we come to this place where we discover from the word of God that God requires us to do certain things. And in many cases if we rely on the soul or the mind for its approval and endorsement, it will be lacking. What we have to do is apprehend God’s truth with the spirit and get the soul to obey. And that’s the point where victory comes.

Now I’m going to speak about a number of things, I have five things listed here—whether I’ll be able to get through them all, I don’t know—which are in the realm of decision, not emotion. But most Christians have relegated them to the realm of emotions. Consequently, they’re floundering around, they’re like a jellyfish floating in the water. They have no ability to decide their direction. They’re just at the mercy of that which surrounds them. The first thing that I want to speak about is repentance. One of the most neglected aspects of Christian doctrine today is repentance. The Greek word for repent which is regularly used in the New Testament, in secular literature would be normally translated “to change your mind”. Repentance is a change of mind. It’s a decision, not an emotion. Many, many people confuse emotion with repentance.

I’ve been a Pentecostal preacher for many years and I can almost guarantee that I could go into the majority of Pentecostal churches and preach a certain type of message and I would guarantee I could get twenty percent of the people up at the altar having a little weep. But in most cases, their lives would not be changed. And if I went back to preach a similar message six months later they’d be the same people up at the altar just having another ten minute weep. This is not to criticize, it’s just to point out. In fact, I became so disillusioned by this type of response to my preaching that I abandoned it completely because I was not satisfied with the results.

Now in other areas of the church repentance is confused with other things. For instance the Douay Catholic version of Acts 2:38 which is translated in the King James “repent and be baptized,” the Douay version says to do penance and be baptized. And again, this is not correct. Repentance is not going through some ritual or some process that’s ordained by the church, or any group. Repentance is an inward personal decision of the will. The nature of the decision is this: any person who is not in line with the will of God, not submitted to God, not in harmony with God needs to repent. And repentance consists in this: basically you stop what you’re doing and where you’re going. You turn around, you face God and you submit yourself to God. That’s repentance. It’s not the complete process. It’s not a substitute for faith. But faith without repentance is self deception. If there’s anything the New Testament emphasizes, it is this: that once we have in any way gone away from God’s will, God’s blessing, from that relationship of harmony with God and with his will and purpose for our lives, if we want to get back into harmony with God we have to do one thing first. And that is to repent. There is no substitute. There is no other way. Let me very, very briefly just outline this running right through the New Testament. Before Jesus, the Messiah, could come, a forerunner had to go before him to prepare the hearts of God’s people. That forerunner was John the Baptist. And until he had prepared the hearts of Israel, the Messiah could not be revealed. John’s message can be summed up in one word, what is it? Repentance. This tremendous thought that though the time for the Messiah’s revelation had come, the prophecies had to be fulfilled. Jesus could not be revealed to Israel until John had prepared the way.

Then you take the preaching of Jesus, Mark 1:15, the first direct commandment that ever fell from his lips was this: repent and believe the gospel. There’s a book of mine on the table somewhere entitled Repent and Believe. It’s taken from there. After Jesus had died and risen from the dead he explained the scriptures to his disciples, said to them, “thus it behooved Christ to suffer” and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead. And that in his name repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached amongst all nations beginning at Jerusalem. The ordained message is not forgiveness first. Repentance first and then forgiveness. And both are offered in the name of Jesus.

On the day of Pentecost when the multitude gathered and heard Peter’s message, they were convicted that they were not in a right relationship to God, that their lives were out of harmony, that they were rebels. They said, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter answered very clearly and immediately, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The first step, repentance. In Acts 20:21 the apostle Paul is reminding the Ephesians elders of his ministry and his message all the time he was in the City of Ephesus and he says:

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you... testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (KJV)

Earlier in the book of Acts he preached to a Gentile congregation largely, on the hill of Mars in the city of Athens and he had said that the times of this ignorance God has winked at, closed his eyes to, but now commandeth all men everywhere to do one thing. Repent. There’s no exceptions to that commandment. God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.

You can move on into the epistles, you can find in Hebrews 6:1–2 the foundation of Christian doctrine. That’s what my foundation books are named after. The first one, repentance from dead works. Faith toward God, the doctrine of baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment. Six foundation doctrines of the Christian faith. The first one is repentance from dead works.

You go on into the last book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation, Jesus sends messages through the apostle John to seven Christian churches. With two churches he had no fault to find; the church of Smyrna, the church of Philadelphia. With every other church he had something to find. He said to each one first, “I know thy works.” And then he said, “I have somewhat against thee.” He specified the particular fault and in every case where there was a fault his first requirement from that group of believers was repent. So that is it perfectly fair and correct to say that throughout the entire New Testament God lays down one unvarying condition for approaching him. If at any time you have got away from him whether you are one who has never known him or one who has known him and turned away, the first requirement in returning to God is that you repent, that you stop, that you turn around, that you submit to God. And after that the rest will develop. I just point this out to you. A person who has truly repented does not argue with God. If you are arguing with God, your need is repentance.

Basically, the great problem which causes repentance or the need for repentance is stated in Isaiah 53:6:

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.” (KJV)

I understand that word iniquity to mean in its fullness rebellion and all its evil consequences. The thing that causes us to need repentance is the fact that we have gone our own way. Many, many sincere, religious people need to repent not of committing adultery or drunkenness, but of going their own religious way. Working out their own religion, their own system of belief, their own form of practice and worship which is not the way of God.

God says if, “If you and I are to come into harmony, you will have to repent, change your mind.” Don’t wait for emotion. Act. Make a change. Decide, it’s possible. I do not say that a person can repent at anytime. But any person who feels stirred to repentance can repent then. I don’t believe you can repent without the help of the Holy Spirit, but if there’s any stirring to repentance in you then the Holy Spirit is right then helping you and that’s the time you need to repent.

I have become more and more sensitive myself to the importance of doing what God requires at the time he requires us to do it. I have come to picture the Christian life in some respects like a freeway with controlled exits. And every now and then as we get on the freeway the warning comes next exit. And it tells you where the exit goes. And if you want to get there, you better slow down and be ready to turn off. Because if you pass that exit, there’s no way back. And I’m convinced that many problems in Christian lives are due to having passed the exit. Many, many people that don’t get healed don’t get healed because they passed the healing exit.

Now I don’t want to create discouragement or unbelief in anybody. That’s not my purpose. But I want to tell you this: That don’t imagine that you can pass the exit and get to the destination sign posted on that exit. In other words, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. When he indicates you need to do something, do it then. It’s very, very dangerous to trifle with the Spirit of God. I know in my own experience, I’ve been a Christian about thirty years, I’ve been in full time ministry about twentyfive years, I know that God has brought me to a certain place. I believe there are tremendous things ahead of the people of God. I know how long it’s taken God to get me here. I know how many times I almost didn’t get through and yet I believe that all I’ve been through is only a preparation for what lies ahead. And I’m conscious that by one rash act or five minutes of foolishness I could miss all that God has for me. And if that doesn’t make a person walk carefully, I don’t know what would. Now this is personal. It may not be true of you, but I know it’s true of me. I know there’s something ahead that we’ve got to be very, very careful how we approach. I’m very careful today of my reactions to other people. One problem with preachers, I’ll tell you frankly, is proving themselves right. And there have been times when I’ve been so tempted to get up and defend myself and argue my doctrine. But I thank God that in most cases he’s given me grace not to do it. You can get so involved in proving yourself right that you miss what the Holy Spirit is trying to say to you. What people have got to say to you is not as important as what the Spirit of God is trying to say.

I was talking to a brother, he’s here, he invited us out, a precious brother. But he’s very earnest and excited to get to know what the Lord has for him to do. I said, “Brother, as far as I understand it, while your mind is so busy and so excited, God cannot speak to you. Settle down. Be quiet. God will speak.”

This leads me to the next thing which is a matter of decision and not of emotion. And that is forgiveness of other people. Now some of you in this area have heard me preach on this frequently. But I’ll tell you that there’s nothing that I preach that is more needed than this. One of the greatest barriers to God’s blessing in your life is the fact that there are those around you or in your past whom you have not forgiven. Scarcely a day passes when I’m ministering when I don’t meet a person whose problems are caused by unforgiveness of others. Let me give you this scripture in Mark 11:25–26. Jesus is speaking and he says this:

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any...”(KJV)

Now that doesn’t leave out anything or anyone. Forgive if you have ought against any. Why does he say when you stand praying? Because if you pray with unforgiveness in your heart it’s a barrier to God’s answering your prayer. And he then explains it very carefully:

“...that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”(KJV)

That’s perfectly clear. Do you want God to forgive you? Then you must forgive others. If you are not willing to forgive others, do not ask God to forgive you. The Lord’s prayer expresses it this way: we are told to pray daily forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. We are not entitled to ask from God forgiveness for ourselves above the proportion in which we forgive others. If we wholly forgive others, God will wholly forgive us. But if we do not wholly forgive, we are not wholly forgiven. And notice interestingly enough, that the last petition in the Lord’s prayer is a petition for deliverance. Deliver us not from evil. I don’t believe that, but from the evil one. Many, many people come and they say, “I need deliverance.” But the barrier is that they’ve not passed through those previous phrases: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. You are not a candidate for God’s deliverance while you harbor in your heart unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness or hatred against any other person.

Now the problem with many people is they say, “Well Brother Prince, I don’t feel I can forgive.” I’ve heard this scores of times. My answer is praise the Lord, you don’t have to feel it, you have to will it. It’s not a feeling, it’s a decision. I call it tearing up the IOU.

Let me suppose that some good brother—well let me take Brother Cornwall—has lent me $10,000. And I’ve given him my IOU for $10,000. So we sit there and we’re having a kind of conversation and I’m feeling him out and he says, “Brother Prince, I really love you.” I think so what. “Brother Prince, I’m praying for you.” I say so what. “Well Brother Prince, I know you couldn’t help it, I know you couldn’t get out of that position any other way.” I think so what. “Brother Prince, I’ve asked God to forgive you your debt.” You think I care? Not the least bit. What am I looking for? What are you going to do with the IOU? The moment he tears that IOU up I don’t mind what he says, it’s not important. Now I cannot tell you how many times I’ve talked to a good lady, “Have you forgiven your husband.” “Well, I know he couldn’t help it.” It wasn’t what I asked you. “Have you forgiven your husband?” “Well, I don’t have any bitterness against him.” That isn’t what I asked you. “Have you forgiven your husband?” “Well, I asked God to forgive him.” I say, “God didn’t ask you to do that. God told you to forgive him.” “Well, he’s ruined fifteen years of my life and left me with the kids and run off with another woman.” You know my answer to that? Do you want him to ruin the next fifteen years as well? Then just stay unforgiving because that’ll be the result. It’s not your husband that will suffer, it’s you. Forgiveness is a decision. Once again, I do not say that you can make it at any time. But when the Holy Spirit is prompting you to make it, then you can make it and that’s the time to do it. Then don’t wait for emotion. Act. Tear up that IOU. Forgive others as you would have God forgive you.

None of us goes through life without having people who, in our opinion, have wronged us, cheated us, harmed us, lied about us, gossiped about us, slandered us, misrepresented us. Believe me, no one could be a preacher for the number of years that I’ve been a preacher without having that happen many times. And I’m not worse treated than other preachers. If you’re in the ministry it’s one of the things you have to expect. Talking about a brother in the Lord the other day, he’s just starting out in full time ministry. And somebody said people misunderstand him, he’s getting upset. Well I said he’ll have to get to the place where he doesn’t get upset when people misunderstand him or else not go into the ministry because it’s useless being in the ministry if you get upset when people misrepresent you or misunderstand you. It does no good whatever. We just have to decide what is the peace of God worth. How much does it mean to you to have real deep abiding peace in your heart? How much does it mean to you to get free of those demons of hatred, resentment and rebellion that stir you up and make you unreasonable with your family and your children? Very often it happens that through a certain attitude to a person a demon of resentment or hatred will enter. That person may die but it doesn’t get rid of the demon. And that demon has to find another object on which to fasten. This happens many times.

Now if you go to the psychiatrist I’ll make no charge to tell you what he’ll call it. He’ll call it a fixation. But call it what you like, it’s a tiresome thing to have. And the root of your problem is unforgiveness. The solution is forgiveness. Sometimes people have to forgive whole races. Sometimes a Negro might have to forgive the whole White race. Or Jew might have to forgive the whole German nation. We have to do it. There it is. God says when ye stand praying, forgive if ye have ought against any. Now that doesn’t mean you justify the person for what he’s done. It doesn’t mean you pretend that he never did it. That’s not your business. That’s God’s business. Your business very simply is tear up the IOU. You can do it. There must be those of you here tonight who should go out leaving a little pile of torn up IOU’s behind you in this meeting. I preached on this once and a lady came up to me at the end and said, “Brother Prince, while you were preaching I got rid of at least $30,000.” I said, “Praise the Lord, sister.”

Now let’s turn to something else that is not a matter of emotion, but decision. That is praise. You don’t wait to praise God until you feel like it. Psalm 34:1–2. These are words of David and he says this: “I will bless the Lord... sometimes. What? That’s the American Revised Version! “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall... be in my mouth every now and then. No. His praise shall continually be where? “Well Brother Prince, I praise the Lord in my heart you know. I’m one of those people that don’t get emotional so I can’t praise the Lord out loud. But I praise him in my heart.” That’s not what David said, is it? He said, “His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Then you might say, “Well, some people won’t think well of me when they hear me praising the Lord with my mouth.” Well you know what kind of people those are? Listen to the next verse. “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord.” Notice it’s a decision as to what the soul has to do. And then it says “The humble shall hear thereof and be glad.” So if people hear you praising the Lord and they’re not glad, they’re not humble. That’s how you sort out your friends. Just keep praising the Lord in front of them! The ones that don’t like it aren’t humble. You just show them that in the Bible and see how unhumble they’ll be then!

Now I just want to point out this one fact. When David gave forth this psalm do you know where he was? You should read the heading to the psalm. He was in the court of Akish, the King of Gath, the Philistine king. He had fled there to save his life from the persecution of Saul. And in that Philistine king’s court, in order to save himself, he had to pretend to be mad. As a matter of fact, there’s one of the jokes in the Bible there. When David came to the court of Akish, it doesn’t come out so well in English but it’s clear in the Hebrew, Akish got mad with his servants and said, “What have you brought this man to me? Am I short of madmen? Do I need any more? I’ve got enough in you!” That’s the effect of what he says. But David had to pretend to be mad and to do this he slobbered on his beard and scratched on the door panels with his nails. Not a very dignified position for someone who was the anointed king of Israel. And it was at that point David said I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Was that an emotion? No. It ran directly contrary to all his natural emotions. That’s one of the ways of crucifying the flesh. Galatians 5:24 says:

“They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (KJV)

You do not let your fleshly nature tell you what to do. Your fleshly nature will say it’s no good, God has forsaken you, it’s hopeless, you might as well give up. Why not take your life? Don’t let it dictate to you. Answer it back and say bless the Lord, O my soul. I will bless the Lord at all times, my soul shall make her boast in the Lord. That’s my decision. Not my feeling, but my decision.

Turn on to Psalm 63:3–4:

“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. [notice it’s not my heart, but my lips. Verse 4] Thus will I bless thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in thy name.”

(KJV)

None of that is emotion. It’s decision. I was sitting in sideways on to the congregation while Brother Cornwall was leading the singing. And it was quite interesting to watch people’s faces. Some did not raise their hands, I’m not criticizing. But their faces were far from happy. Are you going to wait till you’re happy to praise the Lord or are you going to praise the Lord till you’re happy? You’ve got to make the decision. See, if you wait till you’re happy it’s almost sure you’ll be unhappier still in half an hour. Because you’re letting your lower nature dictate to you and you have no right to do that. Raising my hands to praise the Lord is not emotionalism, it is not fanaticism. Do you know what it is? It’s obedience to the word of God. And failure to do it in the light of scripture’s teaching is just plain stubbornness.

Let’s look at two other scriptures. 1Timothy 2:8. Now I want to say this: do not praise the Lord or raise your hands because Brother Prince says so. If the Bible doesn’t say so, ignore it. But if the Bible says so, then remember you’re not ignoring Brother Prince, you’re ignoring the Bible. 1Timothy 2:8 Paul says:

“I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting.”

(KJV)

There are many postures of prayer taught by example in the scripture. Standing, lying and kneeling. The only one that I know of taught by precept is this one: Lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. We are actually enjoined to pray this way. Now someone might say that that means the men, but what about the women? Look at the beginning of the next verse and it says:

“In like manner the women also...”

This is the only actual posture of prayer that scripture enjoins upon all believers. Do not wait for the feeling, obey the word.

In Hebrews 13:15 we have this:

“By him [and that is Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually...”

(KJV)

Notice that praise is a sacrifice. There are many senses in which praise is a sacrifice, one is that it costs us something. David said, “Shall I offer to God burnt offerings without price?” Shall I offer to God anything that costs me nothing? No. The time you most need to praise God is the time it costs you most. When every natural situation and circumstance would indicate the opposite, then your sacrifice is very precious to the Lord. And again, notice what it says.

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips...”(KJV)

The whole Bible is clear. Inward praise is good but it’s not sufficient. It’s the mouth, the lips and the hands. What were your hands made for above all else? Do you know that? To praise the Lord. Every other use of your hands is secondary. What was your tongue put in your mouth for? First and foremost to praise the Lord. Every other use of the human tongue is secondary. What was your body totally made for above all else? Do you know? To be a temple of the Holy Spirit. What are we told to do with our members? To yield them unto God as instruments of righteousness for his glory. When you raise your hands, you are yielding your hands as instruments unto God for his glory. When you begin to praise him and use your lips and your tongue, you’re yielding your lips and your tongue as instruments to God for his praise and for his glory. There’s always going to be a certain inertia in the soulish nature. It’s hard to get it moving. That’s why the Spirit has to stir up the soul and say, Come on soul, get moving. Bless the Lord. Don’t sit there passive. Do you know one of the greatest problems of Christians is passivity? It’s just letting things happen and then blaming God for them. I heard a brother in the Lord once, his name is well known, but I’m reluctant to quote people because I tend to give my own version of what they’ve said and sometimes I think that isn’t fair. In other words, I listen to a preacher, digest it and then give it out the way I want it. But he’s a brother in the Lord I respect. He said years back when he was pastoring, there was a woman who was somewhat careless and casual about her domestic duties and her home and her family. And as a result her husband was not saved and her children were rebellious and she just couldn’t cope with the situation. So one day she came and said to the brother, the pastor, she said, “Brother So and so, I’ve turned my children over unto God.” And he said, “Sister, you’re wrong. You’ve turned them over to the devil.” And that was the truth. See? Passivity is turning things over to the negative forces, not to the positive. It’s yielding to the negative, not to the positive. I was praying for the sick last Sunday night in an Episcopal church and people just sat in their chair and waited for something to happen. So after about three, I said, “There’s no good praying for anybody here, there’s just a spirit of passivity prevailing. All we’re doing is just wasting time.” So I stopped. And after a little while, a very determined sister got up, walked forward and sat in the chair and said, “I’m not passive, I’m active.” And I said, “Well, we’ll start with you again.” She got healed instantly. There was a determination, a refusal to allow the status quo to dominate her will. You’ve got to make up your mind. You’ve got to make a decision.

Now let me move on to something else. Perhaps two other things. I don’t know if I’ll have time. I could give three other things, we’ll look. Another thing that is a matter of the will and not the emotion is when you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. It does not flow from some emotional impulse. It’s an intelligent decision of your will that should be made in the light of scripture. Let me give you just this one verse in 1Corinthians 14:15.

“What is it then? [in other words, what’s the application of what I’ve been teaching?] I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” (KJV)

Do you notice one phrase that occurs four times? I will. I will pray with the spirit, that’s contrasted to praying with the understanding. It means in the unknown tongue. I will pray with the understanding, with words I understand. I will sing with the spirit, I will sing with the understanding. Whether you pray in tongues or in your own language. Whether you sing in tongues or in your own language does not depend on some emotional impulse. It depends on the decision of your will. Your will is the switch and what you have to do is learn the principles of God’s word so you make an intelligent decision in the light of scripture’s teaching. This is your responsibility when you’re baptized in the Holy Spirit. You’ll find that many, many people, when they’re baptized in the Holy Spirit, they only pray in tongues in two situations. One is on the mountain top when they’re almost in heaven and that they get so blessed they pray in tongues. The other is the precise opposite when they’re down at the bottom of the valley and there seems to be nothing else to do, as a last resort they start to pray in tongues. This is to be very, very carnal and soulish in your understanding. I have learned that the scripture teaches that as a believer baptized in the Holy Spirit, I have a responsibility to stir up the gift that is in me. I have a responsibility by intelligent decision to speak in tongues. The Bible teaches in 1Corinthians 14, the first verses, that anybody that speaks in an unknown tongue does three things. He speaks to God, not to men. He speaks mysteries, that is things not understood by the mind. And he builds up or edifies himself. Now this does not depend upon how I feel. It just depends on my doing what God says I’m to do and the result is I am automatically doing three things: communicating with God, speaking mysteries, building myself up. The scripture places upon us, as believers, the responsibility to build ourselves up intelligently in the spirit by this means which is provided.

If you look in the Epistle of Jude, verses 20–21. The background of these verses, the keynote in the surrounding verses is the word ungodly. In verse 15 the word ungodly occurs five times in one verse. Then it speaks about scoffers, mockers, deceivers and a general condition of evil prevailing in the world immediately prior to the Lord’s return. And against this background the epistle tells us how the believer can maintain his spiritual life and bless, and be blessed. And it says this, verses 20 and 21:

“But [as an opposition to all that has gone before, as an alternative to being sucked down with the ungodliness of the world. But] ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. [How do we build ourselves up in our most holy faith? By praying in the Spirit. And then it says when we pray in the Spirit, we do this:] We keep ourselves in the love of God looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (KJV)

Surrounded by wickedness, violence, lust, ungodliness, how are we to keep ourselves in the love of God? How are we to keep ourselves in the continual expectation of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? How are we to avoid being contaminated by what is all around us? The answer is by praying in the Holy Spirit. Praying in the unknown tongue. I have learned that it’s my responsibility whenever I have a suitable occasion to begin to pray in an unknown tongue. Not to wait for a feeling, not to wait for a crisis, not to wait for some special blessing, but to exercise this beautiful gift which is given to me. One of its prime purposes being that I can build myself up in my most holy faith. My wife and I pray regularly together. And I think anybody that heard us would sometimes wonder what was going on. Particularly with my wife, I’m more sober! I’ll tell you, she does some extraordinary things when we pray. She speaks some fantastic languages. I mean, I must have heard my wife speak over a hundred languages I think in the twentysix years that we’ve been married. But you know what I’ve learned by experience? It works. Things happen, situations are changed. I’ll tell you, if ever I heard my wife grow silent about speaking in tongues, I’d be scared of what was going to happen next. Don’t lose this blessing. You see, the first thing the devil will do is to try to keep you from it. If he fails in that, you know the next thing he’ll try to do? To keep you from using it. And then probably some very spiritual person will come along, [quote, spiritual] and tell you that you’re carnal if you keep speaking in tongues. And they base that in 1 Corinthians 3 about the Corinthian Christians being carnal. They say they were carnal because they spoke in tongues. But that is misquoting scripture. The reason Paul says they were carnal is because they were followers of human leaders. Let’s get it right.

All right. One more thing. No, two more things. Let me say something else. And then this will make it just one and a half more things! In Acts 2:4 speaking about the day of Pentecost. It says this:

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance [to speak].”(KJV)

You know a key word there, the word began. I pointed out many times it wasn’t the Holy Spirit who began, it was the believers who began to speak. When they began to speak, the Holy Spirit gave them the words. Had they waited for the Holy Spirit to begin speaking they would have died without it. The Holy Spirit will not do what God has allotted to us as our task. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, and of course, the Holy Spirit has to come. We have to be in that relationship to Jesus Christ where the Holy Spirit is made available to us through him, then when the Holy Spirit is made available and we receive it, after that the initiative is with us, not with the Holy Spirit. When we begin to speak, the Holy Spirit gives us the language to speak. They began to speak with other tongues.

Now I want to give you something else. Actually I think we’ll have to stop there because my feeling is that the Spirit of God is directing us another way. Now I could be misrepresented or misunderstood when I say this, but if you read the story of the prodigal son and I’m sure most of you are familiar with it, how that boy went out and went deeper and deeper into sin and into misery. And ultimately he came to the end of himself and decided there was nothing to do but turn back. And incidentally, that’s the best picture of repentance I know of in the Bible. Come to the end, stop, turn around. He said I will arise and go. That was a decision. And do you know how we know he meant it? Because he arose and went. That’s repentance. Turning around, facing the other way, going back to father and saying, “Father, I’m at your mercy.” But the father greeted him in a very wonderful way. You remember he fell on his neck and embraced him, had him cleaned up. I suppose you could say in some sense he was the ancient equivalent of the hippie. He probably needed a good bath, and when he had a good bath and maybe trimmed his beard up a little, then it says they brought forth the best robe, they brought shoes for his feet. That would change some hippies too! They put a ring on his finger. They killed a fatted calf and then you know what it says? They began to be merry. And do you know there’s one great secret about being merry? Do you know what it is? Beginning. Some people never get merry because they never begin. People say to me, “Brother Prince, we saw you dancing in the spirit.” Well, I say it’s nice of you to call it that, but I question whether that’s the right description. I don’t know about dancing in the Spirit, I believe it’s probably on a supernatural realm. And I know of cases where people have done it with their eyes closed, not seen anything, not touched anything, been in a higher realm.

But there’s another kind of dancing which I do practice, and David practiced it, and it’s called dancing before the Lord. And David did it—friends, listen to this—with all his might. And David was a mighty man of valor. He was no weakling. Of course, his wife criticized him. One of his wives. I’m glad that I don’t have that problem. She said you made a real show of yourself today. Jumping up and down. And the language indicates in a way that I can’t go into in detail that he must have leapt very high. Ugh, she said, shame on you. Before these maidservants. He said it wasn’t before the maidservants, it was before the Lord. And he said in effect, what’s more, I’m going to go on doing it! And his wife was barren for the rest of her life, that’s Michal. I tell you, if you criticize the people that are enjoying the Holy Spirit, you’ll liable to end up barren for the rest of your life. It’s a dangerous thing.

What I want to say is this: I’m not recommending dancing though I don’t think there would be any harm in it. But I am saying there’s a moment when you’ve got to break the inertia barrier and decide to do something. And it doesn’t much matter what you do as long as you do something. Faith without works is dead. I’ve prayed and I praise God for scores of people who have been healed of arthritis in the last few months. And in many cases I’ve had an inner witness that the healing has come. Now the person continues to sit there. I say, “Now if you believe you’re healed, step up and do something. Stamp your feet. Jump. Do something you couldn’t do.” Often the first few attempts are very feeble and ineffective. But as that person will move out in faith, they’ll discover by doing something that they’re healed. Many, many people receive healing and just let it slip out of their hands. They just don’t grasp it, they don’t lay hold of it because they do nothing about it.

So what I’m suggesting to you tonight is that as the Spirit of God leads, you do whatever the Spirit of God requires you to do. If it’s speak in tongues, speak in tongues. If it’s begin to be merry, begin to be merry. If it’s repent, repent. If it’s forgive, forgive. But do something. Don’t let that snobbish, stubborn, soulish area of your nature dictate to you any longer. I know there are some here tonight, and they’re probably mainly men. Their problem is stubbornness. You better bow your will tonight before God. Submit to the requirements of the Holy Spirit. Meet God’s conditions. Do whatever the Spirit of God says for you to do. We’re going to bow for a moment of prayer. Now in a minute the meeting will close. It’s only just half past nine, it’s not late. I want your unreserved attention please for the next few minutes. I’d like you to remain in an attitude of prayer and not moving around.

All right. Now I’ve spoken about various things which are of decisions. Some of them you can act upon tonight. There are those of you here who have been going your own ways. Doing your own things, pleasing yourself. Your life at this moment is not in submission to God and not in harmony with the will of God. You’re going one way and God is directing and leading another way. The first thing you have to do tonight is repent. Make a decision. Stop, turn around, submit to God. How many are there here tonight that will say, Brother Prince, as I sit here tonight, I recognize that’s my need and I’m making that decision now and I’ll raise my hand as an indication that I make that decision. All right, God bless you. Oh, how many there are. I didn’t imagine there would be anything like this number. Everyone of you that has made that decision I want you to stand up in your place. That’s all I’m going to ask you to do, no more than that. I want you to stand because I want you to break this passivity that grips people, especially in a religious atmosphere.

Now there are others of you here that maybe are saying, Brother Prince, I need to forgive. There’s someone I have not forgiven. And tonight I’m willing to take that IOU and tear it up and forgive that person or those persons as I would have God to forgive me. Now if that’s your decision and you mean to go out of this place tonight having torn up the IOU, would you raise your hand wherever you may be. Well many of those that are standing have raised their hands. If you are not yet standing and you have made that decision, will you stand? Anybody that has someone here to forgive tonight and you’re willing to do it, I want you to do it right now.

Well you see no wonder there are barriers to the Holy Spirit’s moving in the church. Because at least three quarters of the people here are standing now. If that isn’t a sufficient commentary on why the Spirit of God is restrained in the church, I don’t know what is.

All right. Now there are others of you that need to step out in the spiritual realm to praise the Lord or to speak in tongues, or to just enjoy your salvation. You’ve endured it long enough. Now you need to enjoy it. If there’s some other situation which requires a decision from you whatever it may be along the lines that I’ve preached, would you put your hand up? Praise God! I think everybody that was willing to repent should put up their hand for enjoying their salvation because that is surely one of the results of repentance. All right. Anybody that’s involved in making a decision here tonight, if you’re not standing, will you stand because the last thing I’m going to do is I’m going to pray for you right now. It’s absolutely between you and God what your decision is. Please understand that. I’m not the arbiter of that. If you wish now to stretch up your hands to God, I’m going to pray for you. That’s your decision, not mine. Father, in the name of Jesus, I just thank you for those that have responded to your word tonight by decision of the will. And now in the name of Jesus I loose them from any bondage, any fetter, any hindrance that would keep them back from fully exercising their will in accordance with what you have spoken to them from your word. And I ask you now in Jesus’ name to move in their hearts as they move to you, to move them Lord. That there may be a reciprocal motion between them and you tonight. That the Spirit of God and the spirit of man may move together to change situations, loose fetters, break prisons, heal sicknesses, deliver from oppressions and bring your people, O God, into a condition where they’re living in your will, they’re living in your blessing, they’re living in your abundance, where the needs are in the past and God is all and in all. Now let’s lift up our hands and praise him out loud. Thank you Jesus, praise your wonderful name. Glory to your name. Glory to your name. (praying in the Spirit...)

Dear Lord, we just ask your blessing now on those who leave and on those who remain. We just submit ourselves afresh to your will and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And we pray that you will have your way, in Jesus’ name, amen.

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