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Others May; You Cannot

Without exception this piece of prose has meant more to me than any other non-sacred writing about the Christian life. I have found it all to be true and it would take hours for me to tell you my own experiences regarding the truth of Others May, You Cannot. So, I wanted to share it with you and I hope it blesses you, convicts you, makes you think, makes you angry or curious enough to seek out its meaning in the Word of God or makes you more understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

Others May; You Cannot
by George D. Watson

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.


  1. yvonne

    My goodness. There is so much that rings true for me in that piece of prose Sylvia.

    It seems that God has answered my prayer because I long to be like Jesus and I daily ask God to change me. Mine is a life of crucifixion and humility, but I really didn’t think that this would happen in the back drop of my home, marriage and family. I thought that it would be ‘out there in the world’.

    What a great article, it’s encouraged me. Thank-you xx

  2. Janet

    Hi Sylvia,
    thanks so much. I needed to hear that this very morning.

  3. Sylvia

    Hi Kim,
    Yes we can do the Cleaning Thing again 🙂 I hope to get it up and going in October.

  4. Kim @ Homesteader's Heart

    This was a wonderful post Sylvia! We have a Pastor who is a wonderful man but gets taken advantage of all the time. But he never complains but just keeps on going. This reminds me so much of him and the fact that he is able to stay humble and depend on the Lord 100% for his daily needs.
    Very encouraging indeed!
    P.S. Can we do the Cleaning thing again? LOL! I’m in need!

  5. Karen

    This could not have come at a better time. I’ve been struggling with these very issues lately. Thank you so much for sharing, Sylvia. God bless you.