Charles Finney on Warfare

FinneyHis eyes…look at them. Revivalist, Intercessor and “Soul Winner extraordinaire” Charles Finney, taught that a person highly charged with the anointing can “fix a saving impression” with a look! And he did.

Invited by a Christian to visit his business between meetings, Finney walked into a weaving mill in Rochester, NY. The noise of the machinery was such that no voice could be heard, but a woman recognized the preacher and started making fun of him to the co-worker beside her. As she mocked the revivalist, Finney saw it and simply, unconsciously, settled his gaze upon her. His look conveyed the probing truth of God – it pierced her and she became “greatly agitated” and started to tremble under the conviction of the Spirit. In a moment she could not thread her needle. The sensation spread from her to the person next to her and then from one person to another through the entire mill. All were doubled over in an agony of soul about their lost condition. They shut the factory down so Finney could preach.

Asked later about what happened, from his perspective, Finney said, “Her levity made a peculiar impression on me, as all that I could think at that moment was that she was evidently not a believer and I was overwhelmed with the realization of her immense guilt and danger.” 


He said that this “Power From On High” is promised to each believer but few catch it and fewer keep it! He confessed that this “endowment of power” would be strong on him and then lift off him. When strong – he got immediate results. When it lifted – he labored a lot harder in revival. 

He learned to take time away for two or three days “to inquire of the Lord as to why the anointing lifted” when he felt himself working too hard. Typically he had to repent of some attitude or offense or adjust something to recapture the anointing. It “always came back in its freshness.” This was not once and done but rather…“THE HABIT OF MY LIFE.”

That's a man pretty full of the Spirit, wouldn't you say? BUT HERE ARE HIS NOTES about what was going on in his life at the time…


1. “If you have much of the Spirit of God, you must make up your mind to have much opposition, both in the church and the world. Very likely, the leading men in the church will oppose you. There has always been opposition in the church. So it was when Christ was on earth. If you are far above their state of feeling, church members will oppose you. If any man will live godly in Christ Jesus, he must expect persecution”.

2. You must expect very FREQUENT and AGONIZING CONFLICTS WITH SATAN. Satan has very little trouble with those Christians who are not spiritual, but lukewarm, and slothful, and worldly-minded. And such do not understand what is said about spiritual conflicts. Perhaps they will smile when such things are mentioned. And so the devil lets them alone. They do not disturb him, nor he them. But spiritual Christians, he understands very well, are doing him a vast injury, and therefore, he sets himself against them. Such Christians often have terrible conflicts. 

(CATCH THIS – LW ) “They have temptations that they never thought of before, blasphemous thoughts, atheism, suggestions to do deeds of wickedness, to destroy their own lives, and the like. And if you are spiritual, you may expect these terrible conflicts.”

3. “You will have GREATER CONFLICTS WITH YOURSELF than you ever thought of. You will sometimes find your own corruptions making strange headway against the Spirit. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. Such a Christian is often thrown into consternation at the power of his own corruptions.” 

One of the Commodores in the United States was, as I have been told, a spiritual man; and his pastor told me he had known that man lie on the floor and groan a great part of the night, in conflict with his own corruptions, and to cry to God in agony that he would break the power of the temptation. It seemed as if the devil was determined to ruin him; and his own feelings, for the time being, was almost in league with the devil.

4. “BUT YOU WILL HAVE PEACE WITH GOD. If the church, and sinners, and the devil oppose you, there will be one with whom you will have peace. Let those who are called to these trials, and conflicts, and temptations, and who groan, and pray, and weep, and break your hearts, remember this consideration: your peace, so far as your feelings towards God are concerned, will flow like a river.”

I WRITE THESE FINNEY QUOTES FOR ONE REASON – Who says your warfare is something wrong? Maybe it's evidence that you are walking with God! Maybe your expectation of what revival is all about needs to be adjusted? Maybe the very things you think are wrong with you are an indication of what's RIGHT! 

From now on…expect intense, sudden spasms of temptation from within, unpredictable misunderstandings with others, betrayals and false accusations and opposition from a hundred sources – religious and secular – to your work. 

But KNOW you will have the mind of Christ, tangible peace with God and great eternal fruit.

Be realistic about the Revival Lifestyle. 
You who deliver multitudes from the sting of death are ordained to knock over and agitate a lot of hornets' nests.

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