Why Billy Graham Considered Himself a Failure

Billy Graham with Corrie ten Boom
Billy Graham with Corrie ten Boom. Despite his work for the Lord, Graham considers himself a failure. (Courtesy/BGEA)

Shortly after Billy Graham's 80th birthday, Larry King interviewed him and said: "It must be rewarding to you to look back on your life and not have to live with regrets." Here's Dr. Graham's response:

"I am the greatest failure of all men. I was too much with men and too little with God. I was too busy with business meetings and even conducting services. I should have been more with God, and people would've sensed God's presence about me when they were with me."

Let's not wait until we're 80 to say that. You see, in spite of all of Dr. Graham's accomplishments, he sensed there was more. God has privileged my wife and me to do a few things in ministry, and there have been certain accomplishments and achievements, but a new hunger has come into us for so much more of God than we presently have. The greatest thing man can still do with his time is to spend it in holy communion and solitude with God.

When the late Kenneth E. Hagin received a three-hour visitation from Jesus in 1987, the emphasis of that awesome visit was on God's people being filled with the Spirit. Think about that. If that is what Jesus emphasized the most, don't you think we ought to pay attention to that and put an extreme emphasis on it ourselves? It is the key to God's perfect working in your life.

Light and revelation must be guarded, but I'm afraid that the body of Christ is already in danger of losing that light Brother Hagin received from the Lord on being continually filled with the Spirit.

If we follow after the flesh and the natural things, it will keep us empty and unusable to be the Lord's workman. Paul said he would be a castaway and disqualified if he did not keep his body under subjection (1 Cor. 9:25). As your spirit gets filled with more of God, it will affect and touch everything in your life—your relationships, your health, your finances and more.

Being filled with the Spirit is a daily command. Don't give yourself to something less than being full. Cast aside the things that stop you from obtaining His fullness. You will not live full of the Spirit by leading a busy and hectic life. God called you to a full life, not a hectic life.

Living tired will also keep you from being full and yielding to the Spirit of God. Busy and tired people don't hear God well, so they don't receive well from the Lord. The price you pay for being full is time.

Living full of the Spirit is the cure for every flaw of man. Your love walk and your faith walk won't be a difficulty when you're full. Faith and love are not a difficulty to the full man.

Have you ever thought of the capacity of a man's spirit to hold the life, power and Spirit of God? I mean, is there a limit to what a man's spirit can hold? In Mark 5, the Gadarene demoniac had 2,000 devils in him. If a dead man's spirit can contain 2,000 devils and survive, how much can a born-again man's spirit contain of the glory and power of God? Paul prayed for the Ephesian church to be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19).

In Matt. 12:43-45, when the strong man was cast out of a person, the devil went and got seven other spirits and, finding the man's house (spirit) "swept and garnished," entered into him again, and the man's condition was seven times worse than the beginning. Why? Because the man was empty. After being delivered, he didn't get filled with God, so he got more devils.

Here are some nuggets of great truth on a study I did years ago on differences between a full man and an empty man:

1. An EMPTY man focuses on himself and all his weaknesses and shortcomings and he sinks lower, but a FULL man focuses on the Spirit and rises higher.
2. An EMPTY man chases after provision, favor and success, but a FULL man is overtaken by these.
3. An EMPTY man looks bewildered and baffled, but a FULL man is flooded with God, and he knows the mind and will of God.
4. An EMPTY man has room for the things of the world and his own plans, but a FULL man has no room for anything else except the fullness of God and His plan.
5. An EMPTY man has room for other people's opinions and input, but a FULL man only has room for the counsel of God and from men speaking in God.
6. An EMPTY man can speak the right words, but is still empty, while a FULL man acts off revelation and not borrowed words.
7. An EMPTY man has his defenses down and is not watchful, but a FULL man is prayerful and watchful and therefore diverts a lot of unnecessary hardship and danger.
8. An EMPTY man lives only in the natural realm, but a FULL man lives in the supernatural realm.
9. An EMPTY man lives from crisis to crisis, but a FULL man lives from victory to victory.
10. An EMPTY man has room for a loose tongue, but a FULL man speaks out of God's fullness.

How do we get full? Praying in the Holy Ghost ... singing and speaking to ourselves in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs ... praising and worshipping God on a daily basis and always being thankful.

Bert Farias' books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and turning away from the truth we are seeing today. The Tumultuous 2020s and Beyond is his latest release to help believers navigate through the new decade and emerge as an authentic remnant. Other materials/resources are available on his website, Holy Fire Ministries. You can follow him personally on Facebook, his Facebook ministry page, or Twitter.

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