George Muller - Notes about living by faith - Excerpts from Basil Miller's biographical work
Published by Bethany House Publishers - copyright 1941 by Zondervan Publishers
- I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly ready in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
- Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impressions. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
- I seek the will of the Spirit of God through or in conjunction with the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also.
- Next I take into account providential circumstances. These plainly indicate God's will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
- I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.
- Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always most effective.
When George Muller was about 89, he wrote: ''I never remember in all my Christian course, a period now of sixty-nine years and four months, that I ever sincerely and patiently sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been always directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, of if I preferred the counsel of fellow men to the declarations of the Word of the living God, I made great mistakes.''
During those testing days Mr. Muller was often asked how he managed to build such a strong faith in God. He replied that he endeavored to keep his faith in God strong not only for daily supplies of food for the orphans and money for the missionary work but also for the spiritual concern for the world.
"Let not Satan deceive you," writes Mr. Muller during those faith-wrenching days, "in making you think you could not have the same faith, but that it is only for persons situated as I am. When I lose such a thing as a key, I ask the Lord to direct me to it, and I look for an answer to my prayer; when a person with whom I have an appointment does not come... I ask the Lord to be pleased to hasten him to me, and I look for an answer.... Thus in all my temporal and spiritual concerns I pray to the Lord and expect an answer to my requests; and may not you do the same, dear believing reader?"
In giving advice gained through daily trials of his faith, this father of the orphans laid down rules for Christians to follow by which they might also strengthen their faith. These rules are:
"1. Read the Bible and meditate upon it. God has become known to us through prayer and meditation upon His own Word.
"2. Seek to maintain an upright heart and a good conscience.
"3. If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and therefore, through trial, be strengthened.
"The last important point for the strengthening of our faith is that we let God work for us, when the hour of trial of our faith comes, and do not work a deliverance of our own.
"Would the believer therefore have his faith strengthened, he must give God time to work," he declares.
"I would just observe that we never contract debts, which we believe to be unscriptural (according to Romans 13:8), and therefore we have no bills... but all we buy we pay for in ready money. Thus we always know how much we have and how much we have a right to give away."
This was one principle upon which he was to conduct his orphan work, and never once did he break over from the rule of not going into debt.
"Mr Muller held that to lay up stores or hoard money was inconsistent with a life of faith. In such cases he thought God would send them to their hoardings before answering their prayers. Experience confirmed them in the conviction that a life of trust forbids laying up treasures against unforeseen needs, since with God "no emergency is unseen and no want unprovided for." Hence his trust was in God and not in his hoardings.
A third rule was greatly blessed throughout Muller's career of trust. When money was given him for a specific need, or purpose, he regarded it as sacred to that trust, and would not use or borrow it even temporarily for any other purpose. Though reduced to dire needs, he would not use any money set aside for other purposes except for that specific thing. Thousands of times in later life occasions came where such diversion of funds would have provided a way out of an emergency or tided them through a strait.