It is still early in the New Year. Many people make - and then break - resolutions for the new year. How are your's going? I think Jesus told us the one resolution we need to make DAILY - Matthew 6: 33 - Seek first HIM---and His will for our lives! If that is not done, then I believe we are probably doomed to fail at any resolve me make.
This morning I began a devotional by A. W. Tozer designed for pastors/ministry leaders. The title was "Personal Life: Let God Alone." Immediately I was reminded of the old cliche, "let go and let God." The scripture it used was James 1: 4 - "But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." You guys know me, I love to go to the Amplified Bible and meditate on the words they use . The verse reads this way there, "But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing." A few additional words to emphasize the assurance.
Tozer tells us that through this verse God is saying, "I stand ready to pour a little liquid fire into your heart, into your spiritual being!" However, we respond: "No, Lord, please excuse me. That sounds like fanaticism—and I would have to give up some things!"
So, what are we doing? We refuse His desire for us, even though we want all the benefits of His cross. That cannot be! We must resolve to seek first Him---and allow Him to do His work in us.
The devotional goes on to say: "There is this thoughtful phrase in The Cloud of Unknowing: "He wills thou do but look on Him and let Him alone." We are being challenged to "Let God alone." Let Him do His work in us. Do not try to stop Him. Do not stand in His way. Do not "prevent Him from kindling your heart, from blessing you and leading you out of a common state into that of special longing after Him."
You and I do not have to "coax" God. He is not waiting for us to beg Him for His blessings. The blessings are His to give and He waits for us to let Him work.
Again the devotional says, "Look on Him and let Him work, let Him alone." Get your hands down to your side and stop trying to tell God where to cut. Stop trying to make the diagnosis for God. Stop trying to tell God what to give you. He is the Physician! You are the patient...." I guess it is our human nature to try to reverse the roles and manipulate things along, but we really need to heed what Tozer is saying. As we are admonished in the Psalms - be still and KNOW God. Our constant efforts to "reverse roles" and manipulate things to "help the process" stands in the way of God accomplishing His full and complete work in us.
Today, I challenge you (and myself) to let Him work in you (us). As we do, our spiritual lives will begin to "blaze like the rising sun." It will be visible to those around us. We will be better able to withstand the snares of the enemy!
Here is the prayer they ended the devotional with: "Lord, I know there is a work You want to do in my life today. I'll try to stay out of the way, take my hands off, and let You work! I'll put my hands to my side even now as a sign that I'm going to let You alone today to do Your work in me. Amen."
I Surrender All
As Paul Harvey used to say--"and that's the rest of the story. Good day!" This morning as I read through Judges 6, 7, and 8 I kept thinking of the times I have taught/preached "the story of Gideon." I would always emphasize (and still think it true) the necessity of every man standing in his place and faithfully following God, with the result being God gives the victory. However, the rest of the story reveals MUCH more!
"Then the Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us, you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for you delivered us from the power of Midian." Judges 8:22, HCSB
How quickly they forgot---how quickly we forget! It was not Gideon, it was God that delivered the victory! They advocated making Gideon king, when they should have bowed down to the King of Kings. In fact, this was just another time they rejected God to be more like the unfaithful men around them who did have kings. Why are we so willing to reject God and His ways for the ways of man?
Gideon must have really struggled with his crises. First, he had to send 31,700 soldiers home and keep only 300. Then after victory he had to send the people home without the king they wanted. Gideon's love relationship with God was so firm that he followed God's ways even when human ways were far more attractive. What human glory do you surrender to do it God's way?
There was 40 years of peace, BUT in Judges 8: 32 - 35, we see that "as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god." (8:33). They "forgot" the deliverance God had given them--they did not show kindness to the household of Gideon. Before I am too critical of them, I must examine my own life. How quickly I forget. How quickly I "play the harlot." I (we) are guilty of spiritual adultery when we fail to surrender all and FOLLOW Christ daily.
That hymn at the end of the service, "I surrender ALL," (have you noticed) is generally sung quietly and mumbled through. Our hearts are literally singing--"I surrender SOME----." May we surrender ALL to Him this day and experience the JOY and fulfillment that only comes through faithful and COMPLETE obedience/following of the LIVING Lord Jesus Christ!
Cast Your Cares Upon The Lord
"Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalm 55:22, HCSB
What a verse of encouragement!! David finds himself experiencing the betrayal of a close companion. David couldn’t bear his burdens alone. He couldn’t fight the enemy in his own power. After pouring out his heart to God, David boldly proclaimed God’s power to sustain us.
You and I can’t stand in our own power either. We should learn to cast all our burdens on the Lord? We should choose to give them to God and leave them there. As you cope with difficult circumstances, may His Spirit remind us that it is useless to try to carry everything alone. May we learn to stand strong in His power and might.
Associational Missions Strategist at Tar River Baptist Association since November, 2000. Called of God to work with member churches to strengthen the local church in its efforts to impact lostness in THIS generation! I will ATTEMPT to add to this blog almost daily. People are free to use the ideas shared in any way they wish. The purpose of the posts are merely to help us in our search to BE the people God is calling us to BE in Him!