Early in my pastoral ministry at Lancaster Baptist Church, the Lord allowed me to preach at a meeting in Northern California with Dr. Lee Roberson. He was the pastor of Highland Park Baptist Church for many years, and the founder of Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a young pastor, I was eager to spend some time with Dr. Roberson and to receive counsel from him regarding our growing, young church.
Finally, the moment came when I was alone with him. With a yellow pad in hand, and a heart full of questions, I was ready to vigorously take note of every word. I was certain I would leave the appointment with several pages of notes to implement in my life and local church.
I don’t recall what my first question was, but I will never forget his answer. With his trademark tone of voice, and with firm but brief certainty, he simply said, “Die to self and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” This wasn’t quite the profound, lengthy, detailed answer I had anticipated. It struck me as overly simplistic and left me wanting a longer discussion about the problem. But I wasn’t about to question this great man. I wrote the answer down and moved on to the next question.
Once again, and with the same tone of voice, his resolute answer was, “Die to self and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Can you believe this continued for several more questions? His pat answer to nearly every single question was the same, “Die to self and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
What at first seemed overly simplistic, became a transforming truth to my entire life and ministry. God knew exactly what I needed to hear, and He let me hear it over and over that day. I will never forget that meeting. It changed everything about my approach to the Christian life and ministry. It was without hesitation, the greatest advice I have ever been given.
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).