The Candle of the Lord
Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 4 from Dr. Hyle's excellent sermon book, Woman The Completer)
I am going to talk with you for a while about the secret of happiness and fulfillment in any relationship. You will find a philosophy here that could well change any relationship you have. Proverbs 20:27, "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly." I want you to notice that little line, "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord."
"Our Heavenly Father, for the next few minutes I am going to take one Scripture, an object-lesson Scripture that You've given us, and teach a lesson that could save dozens of marriages and prepare for dozens of others. I pray that You will help me know exactly what to say. Now, Lord, I don't have time to say all I want to say, so I'm going to have to have wisdom to know what to pass over. I pray You would help me to stop and park when I need to emphasize something. Give me Your leadership and help. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
An unlighted candle is standing in darkness. Someone comes to light it. He takes a force and the candle yields to it. When that candle yields to that force, it burns, gives light, and fulfills the purpose for its existence. Unlighted, the candle is not fulfilling its purpose! Lighted, it becomes that for which it was made; it performs the duty for which it was made; and it has fulfillment in its purpose in life.
Don't forget, the Bible says, "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord." I'm glad about that, because God is light and God is fire. When God would manifest Himself on earth, He would do it by sending fire from Heaven. God was a pillar of fire by night. When Jesus spoke to the disciples going to Emmaus, they said, "Did not our heart burn within us?" So when the spirit of man yields itself to the fire of God, only then does he fulfill the purpose for his existence. We'll say several things about the candle and the fire.
1. When two things are made for each other, neither is complete alone. The fire was made for the candle, and the candle was made for the fire. The candle is not complete, for it is alone; and the fire is not complete, for it is alone. Until the fire comes in contact with the candle, the fire is not complete and the candle is not complete.
The candle is a symbol of the spirit of man. Until man's spirit comes in contact with his Creator and comes in perfect union with that Creator, it is not complete and man is not fulfilling his purpose in life. Man is not complete without God. The Christian is made to yield himself to the Holy Spirit.
2. Fulfillment comes only when the weaker substance renders itself submissive to the stronger substance. When these two get together, the fire doesn't become a candle; the candle becomes a fire. Nothing is ever happy or complete in life until that something yields itself to the superior force for which it was made. Every problem that man has comes from this one error: The weaker does not yield himself to the stronger. The wax must acknowledge that the flame is superior. Hence, it yields to that which is superior and in so doing becomes the best candle it can become and fulfills the purpose for its existence.
In every relationship this is true. A child gets in trouble when he doesn't yield himself to his mother and father. A human gets in trouble when he doesn't yield himself to his God. A Christian gets in trouble when he doesn't yield himself to the Holy Spirit. A citizen gets in trouble when he doesn't yield himself to his government. A church gets in trouble when she doesn't yield herself to her pastor. A wife gets in trouble when she doesn't yield herself to her husband. Every human problem is caused originally because that which is inferior and that which is subordinate refuses to yield itself to that which is the stronger or the superior.
In the Bible the burden of initiative is placed first on the follower. The Lord says, for example, that husbands are supposed to love their wives, but He first says that wives are to submit themselves to their husbands. He starts with the wife. He starts with the follower. Why? Followers make leaders more easily than leaders make followers. So God comes along and says, "Husbands, love your wives," but first He says, "Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands."
Think about a child and his parent. The Bible is going to say to the father, "Provoke not your children to wrath, but rear them in the nurture and admonition of our Lord," but He first speaks to the child. The first command is not to the father; the first command is to the child: "Children, obey your parents."
God knows it's more important to have the right kind of follower. A good follower will follow even if he doesn't have the right kind of leader. A weak father can have a submissive child if that child is admonished first to submission. The Lord speaks first to the child and then to the parent. He speaks first to the wife and then to the husband.
God wants to tell the employer to treat the employee right, but before He ever does that, He goes to the employee and says, "You be a good servant."
It is a greater sin for the wife not to be submissive than for the husband not to love. It is a greater sin for the child not to obey than for the parent not to rear him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is a greater sin for an employee not to treat the employer right than for the employer not to treat the employee right. God puts the first admonition and the first command on the inferior to obey the superior. A human is supposed to come to God and accept Christ, and that initiates salvation. So, a child is to obey his parents even if his parents are not what they ought to be. An employee is supposed to work hard even if the employer is not what he ought to be. The citizen is supposed to obey the government even if the rulers are not what they ought to be. The church is supposed to obey the pastor even if the pastor is not as strong a leader as they perhaps think he ought to be. A wife is supposed to submit herself to her husband even if he is not as strong a leader as he ought to be.
Only when that which is inferior yields itself to that which is superior does that which is inferior become fulfilled and happy. This kind of fulfillment comes only when the weaker substance renders obedience to the stronger.
3. The candle is usable only when it is lighted. Young ladies, the Lord puts the big burden on you. Mrs. John Rice says that when a couple has trouble, it's 90% the wife's fault. One time I asked her, "Why?"
She said, "The husband's job is outside the home, but the wife's job is the home. The husband's main duty in life is to work somewhere outside the home, but the wife's job is the home."
That means, wives, that you are going to be happy only when you have yielded yourself to that superior force. You have no other chance in this world to be happy. You've got to come and say, "My husband is the fire, and I'm the candle. I yield myself."
An unlit candle is bigger than one that is burning. The one that is burning will not be big for long; it is giving itself. It's absolutely burning itself out, but it is fulfilling its purpose; the unlit one is not. It may be prettier, it may be bigger, and it will even last longer, but the unlit candle is not fulfilling its purpose! It represents a woman who says, "He's not going to tell me what to do!" The unlit candle represents the ERA.
The candle was not made to be pretty; it was made to burn. The candle was not made to decorate; it was made to burn. You can put lipstick on this candle, but it won't be pretty. You can put rouge on this candle, but it won't be pretty or fulfill its purpose. You can put a pretty hat on this candle or dress it in the prettiest dress known to designers, but it won't be happy! A candle is happy and fulfilled only when it is doing the thing God made it to do. It doesn't matter what the candle does. The candle can join the P.T.A., but it won't be happy. The candle can go to the beauty shop once a week, but it won't be happy. The candle can take Dale Carnegie's course and yet not be happy. It can lecture on ERA, but it won't be happy. The candle can learn to play the piano, but it won't be happy. It can learn to make a speech, but it won't be happy. The candle can even teach a Sunday school class, but it won't be happy. It can even have a bus route, but it won't be happy. The candle can even be a soul winner, but it won't be happy. Why? The candle was made to submit itself to its superior force and thereby give light to those who are all around it. So, a candle is usable only when lighted.
Let me read you a letter I received in the mail. Here's a typical example of a candle which did not yield itself.
"Dear Dr. Hyles. I am 24 years of age. I am a preacher boy whom God called to preach six months after I got saved three years ago. I felt led to go to a certain Bible college in a certain state. I attended there until God called me to pastor a small church. I was ordained. From there, God led me back to a certain city in a certain state where I got saved under Dr. Joe Doe. (I'm using fictitious names.) I worked on the staff of Dr. Doe for that summer and started to go to the Letot Bible Institute that fall. As I started to go to school that fall, I got a full-time position in a church as assistant pastor and youth director. While I was in a certain state, I met and married a wonderful girl, a spiritual girl, a girl that loved Jesus Christ. As we lived in Letot, I was working for a church in a certain place. I seemed to be getting away from soul winning and getting deeper into the books. After awhile I was not doing what God wanted me to do and what God made me to do. I was not knocking on doors and winning people to Jesus Christ. My not being the man of God I ought to be affected my marriage. It affected my marriage to the extent that my wife told me at one time that if I didn't become the soul winner that God wants me to be, she couldn't respect me as a man of God, and she thinks. . . ."
Here's a husband that was not yielding himself. God had called him to be a soul winner. He was made for that purpose. He refused to be that soul winner that God had called him to be. Everything went wrong then! Why? God called him to preach!
You nag your husband out of the ministry, and you'll lose your husband and your own life and your own joy!
God called him to preach. His candle was made to be a servant of God and to be a soul winner, but his wife talked him out of it. His candle was not yielded to the superior force and her candle was not yielded to the superior force. The letter continued:
"One afternoon as I was leaving from school, my wife and I seemed to be in the flesh. We didn't have devotions that day and pray as we usually do. I walked out of the house without telling her I loved her and without telling her good-bye. As I got to school, I felt bad, so I called on the phone, and there was no answer. I knew something was wrong. I drove home immediately and found my wife had committed suicide."
This was a preacher boy in a college. His wife said, "I want you to be a soul winner. I want you to do what you were meant to do," but he didn't do it, so she said, "I'll not respect you until you do what you're supposed to do." He was not submitting himself to the superior force over him, and she was not submitting herself to the superior force over her, and in so doing, he lost her!
"As we had her funeral in her hometown up North, I went a half hour early before her relatives and friends viewed the body. I walked in and put my head on my wife's chest in the casket and was hoping that she would lean up and hold me, kiss me, cuddle me, baby me and tell me that she loved me, but she wasn't there--she was with the Lord. I then fell on my face before the casket and talked with God. Something happened to me there that I can't explain, but for once in my life I had the full power of God, but what a price to have to pay! As her friends and relatives came by the casket, I stood there like a soldier witnessing and telling them about Jesus Christ. I feel, Dr. Hyles, that God is leading me to Hyles-Anderson College to learn more about Him and learn more about character and discipline and be the man that God wants me to be."
Any young man married to a beautiful woman would love to be at home more and not be out on the battlefield serving God. Any young lady in the flesh normally would want her husband home, but God made God's men for Himself. I'm not saying a man should neglect his home. I'm not saying he should neglect his children or his wife. I am saying that when it comes to the place that the man is not what he ought to be and his wife is not what she ought to be because that which is weaker has not submitted itself to that which is stronger, then neither one is happy and neither of them is fulfilled!
4. The candle is beautiful only when it is lighted. Do you want to be pretty? Do you want to be lovely? Then be submissive. Helene Curtis does not make any cosmetic that compares to submission when it comes to make a lovely lady. Avon knows nothing that can compare to submissiveness when it comes to putting beauty on a lady's face.
I am thinking now of a preacher's wife. She had only average beauty. She was a nagger. She complained, "You're not home enough! You're gone too much! You don't love me or you'd stay home at night!" (Maybe that's why he didn't come home!) One week he had gone on a trip to preach. He came home about two o'clock in the morning, and the lights were on in the house! The preacher couldn't understand what was happening. He went inside the house and found his wife sitting in the living room fully dressed as if she were going to church. He said, "What's wrong? What are you doing up at two o'clock in the morning?"
She said, "Go back and get in the car." They both got in the car. Then she said, "Now drive me to the church." He drove her to the church. She said, "Now pull up in front of the church in the parking lot. Get out. Take the key and unlock the door to the church." He did. She said, "Now turn on the lights," and he did. She said, "Now come with me to the altar," and he did. She knelt at the altar and placed her hand on the head of her husband and said, "Dear Heavenly Father, I lay my husband on the altar tonight," and gave her husband to God! In so doing, she got a better husband, but something marvelous also happened to her!
The next time I saw her, immediately I said to myself, "She is beautiful!" I never noticed her being very pretty before. I didn't know all that had transpired! I said to myself, "Good night! She's a pretty woman." I couldn't believe it. I asked her, "Have you lost weight?"
She said, "No."
"Have you changed your hairstyle?" I asked.
"Do I look better or worse?" she asked.
"I've never seen anybody look so much better!"
She said, "I'll tell you why." She told me the story about how she took her husband to the altar and put her hands on his head and gave him to God. She said, "I'm the happiest I've ever been."
Do you know why? She had submitted herself to that superior force.
5. The candle not only is more beautiful when it is yielded to the superior force (now I'm going to get a little frank), but it is the warmest! Do you know who the frigid women are? They are the unsubmissive ones. I've been counseling for over 30 years as a pastor. I couldn't begin to tell you how many men have come to my office and said, "My wife is not passionate. My wife does not enjoy romance." I don't know how many women have come and said, "Pastor, I'd like to enjoy romance, but I just don't. Just to be quite frank with you, my husband doesn't turn me on."
Do you know why? The unlighted candle is always cold. The candle that has submitted itself to the superior force is the warm candle.
I have counseled with hundreds of ladies who don't even want their husbands to hold their hands or couldn't care less. Each of them would like to thrill when her husband holds her hand. Each one would like to thrill when he kisses her, but it doesn't work. They say, "What's wrong with me?"
I never work on the biological end of it; I work on the submissive end. It is as natural as can be that when the candle comes in contact with the fire and yields itself to the superior force, the warmth will take care of itself. Physical love, romance, if you please, is far, far sweeter to that young lady or woman who submits herself to the superior force for which she was made. The candle is warm only when lighted.
6. The candle is fulfilled only when it is giving itself. A lighted candle could say, "All I am is a slave!" or "I'm just burning myself out!" It could also say, "I am fulfilling the purpose for my existence." An unlit candle has no marks up at the top; it has no melted tallow coming down the side; it is straight, but it is not fulfilling its purpose. A burning candle may even have a little bit of a bend and may be marred, but it has fulfilled its purpose and in so doing, it has given of its life!
The lighted candle may have dishpan hands, but it has given itself and so it's beautiful and happy. It may get a little extra wrinkled because it has worked so hard, but it has given itself and fulfilled its purpose in life.
Mrs. Charles Haddon Spurgeon in the latter days of Spurgeon's ministry became an invalid. Her husband was in the peak of his ministry and was traveling much of the time. Mrs. Spurgeon became a bit bitter. Someone came to her and said, "Mrs. Spurgeon, what's your trouble? You've lost your glow." Mrs. Spurgeon complained that she was in a wheelchair, an invalid, in bed much of the time, and that Charles Spurgeon was gone most of the time. Then somebody came to her one day, talked to her, and said, "Mrs. Spurgeon, Charles Haddon Spurgeon is the greatest gift that England has! Won't you be the greatest giver that England has? Because your husband is England's greatest gift, you can be England's greatest giver," and that did it! Mrs. Spurgeon, it is said, gave her husband. In giving her husband, she gained her husband, and she got more attention than she had gotten before. She got more affection than she had known before. As she sat in her wheelchair and as she reclined on her bed, she had a look of peace and beauty because she had given herself and her husband for England.
Young ladies, make your husband the greatest gift you can make of him. Give him to God. Then one day when you die you can say, "I finished my course."
A rebellious wife is never a happy wife. A rebellious child is never a happy child. A rebellious citizen is never a happy citizen. A rebellious church member is never a happy church member.
A horse that is not broken is not a happy horse. A horse is happy only when it has been broken and then yields itself to the tender tug of its master who pulls the reigns. The horse whose master can order and command him gets more affection than the horse that pulls back, bristles and bucks. There comes a time in his life when he says, "I'll yield. I think I'll be happier when I yield to the tug of the one who pulls the reigns." That's the kind of horse whose master strokes his mane. That's the kind of horse whose master pats his face. That's the kind of horse whose master pats his side. That's the kind of horse whose master combs his mane. That's the kind of horse that is happy.
The happy child is the one who yields himself to the will of Mom and Dad. The happy citizen is the one who yields himself to the will of the government. The happy church member is the one who yields himself to the leadership of the pastor, and the happy wife is the one who yields herself to the will of her husband.
Here's the tragic thing. If you want to, you can wait until you're 25 years old to get saved, and you can still burn for Jesus after you're 25; you've got as much a chance to burn for Him, but you can't burn as long for Him. You can decide to wait to yield yourself to the superior force until you're 35, and you can still have just as bright a light, but you can't burn as long. If you care to, you can wait until you're 45 before you decide to yield to the superior force (whether you're a citizen or a child or a wife or a Christian) and you can burn just as brightly, but you can't burn as long. You can wait until the senior years of your life and waste the whole life and you can still burn as brightly as ever, but you can't burn as long.
Come to Christ in the early years, when you're young. Give Him your life. Yield to His leadership and let that which is superior become master!
While you're young, say to the man God has given you, "You do the will of God for your life, and I'll give my life to you." When a man submits himself to God's calling, and his wife yields herself lovingly and submissively to the one God has chosen, then both can shine brightly together and fulfill the purpose of God for their lives, but neither will be happy, useful, usable or fulfilled until that which is inferior yields itself to that which is superior.
If you've found the man for whom you were made, you'll never be happy apart, but together you'll never be happy until you have yielded yourself to become all he would need. Then in turn the young man says, "You have helped make me what I am, and I'll be thoughtful and considerate of you."
I never have understood why people want to fuss. I've never understood why anybody would want to be unkind to anybody else. All of our fussing, complaining, griping, arguing and feeling selfish lie in this one truth: That which is inferior or weaker has not submitted itself to that which is stronger.
That's the trouble with the hippie. That's why the hippie tried liquor, long hair, blue jeans, then one kind of dope, then the needle, then the pill, then the upper, then the downer! Why? He has not yielded himself.
That's why rebellious children aren't happy, and that's why unsubmissive wives aren't happy. They have not yielded themselves.
If you will make a list of all the relationships you have where you are responsible to authority, and if you will decide that you are going to submit yourself to that authority, you will be happy.
When Dr. John Rice comes to our church, he obeys me. You know why? This is awful to say, but when he comes here, his position is inferior to mine. When we have a board meeting at the Sword of the Lord, I obey him. Why? When I go there, my position is inferior to his. We have a happy relationship only when he submits himself to me at First Baptist Church of Hammond and I submit myself to him in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
What am I as far as being the weaker is concerned? I am a Christian, so I must yield myself to the Holy Spirit. I am a citizen, so I must obey the laws of my land and respect the authority. I'm a board member at the Sword of the Lord, so when I go to a board meeting, I must respect authority. In every case, I will be happy in direct proportion to my submissiveness and my yielding to that which is my superior. Ninety-five percent of all the people with whom I counsel about home problems could be cured if they would do what I am talking about right now.
That which is inferior will always get more attention from that which is superior when it yields itself to its superior force. Herein is the philosophy of government, the philosophy of churches, the philosophy of homes, the philosophy of life, the philosophy of business, and the philosophy of any human institution or endeavor that has a leader and a follower!
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