I tend to cry much more often these days. It usually has nothing to do with being sad! I am just so humbled by what God does around me, with me, and for me. I received a cell phone call yesterday while shopping in Wal-Mart and felt foolish when my eyes glistened with tears as I heard a young man telling me about how the Lord answered his prayer- in a way that was immediate and amazing. While I listened to his wonder, hearing him describe his search to know God, I sensed the Spirit right there with me…. yes, even in Wal-Mart! In part my emotional overflow was a reflection of my own amazement at His great grace. I often sing the words to this song – “Why me, Lord? What have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I’ve known?” (Kris Kristofferson) I ask Him that question so many times even though I know so well that He loves me because of His grace, not because I am smart enough, ‘Christian’ enough, or perfect enough to deserve His favor.
The Adversary wants you and me to get so focused on being ‘good enough’ for God, to start to believe that our goodness is producing the blessing of God (or conversely, that our hard times are the result of His punishment) so we lose the joy of being close to our Father. The fact is that He blesses because He is good. True, we suffer when we sin, but not because God curses us, but because of the ancient law of seed and harvest. We harvest the crop we plant. If we plant rebellion, resistance to God’s will, and selfishness, then we will find our lives full of misery. If we invite God to teach us to be gardeners in life that plant seeds to produce spiritual fruit, we will know a peace that supersedes the day to day circumstances of life. The Word says, “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8, NIV)
The key to doing spiritual work effectively isn’t our own strength, cleverness, or skills. It is humble obedience and reliance on the Lord. Every day we simply present ourselves to the Lord, thanking Him for His love, and asking the Spirit to guide us, to help us say a ready ‘yes, Lord!’ when He speaks to us. And, He will! The Bible says, “For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” (1 Corinthians 1:5-7, NIV) Yes, we must recognize that the ‘you’ that is the subject of this verse is a collective describing the Church. But, you and I am ‘in the Church’ and we can claim the promise of being empowered for a life of wholeness and holiness personally! Do you?
When I am on the edge of being overwhelmed by my fears and think that because I am so human that failure is just a step away, there is but one thing that can restore serenity to my soul. It is the assurance of the Scripture that “It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6, NLT)
What strengths did God see in you and me? Nothing, nada, zip! But He called us and said, “I will enrich you in every way!” That is why we must confess our weakness and claim His strength.
Here’s a Word to take with you today… God “chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.” (1 Corinthians 1:28-31, The Message)