Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Without Me You Can Do Nothing

“For without me ye can do nothing.”—John 15:5

I have yet to read a book written by Andrew Murray, but I know he is well known as someone who teaches on prayer very well. During a sermon about a year ago, God spoke to me about three stages of a Christian’s life he defines in his book “Absolute Surrender.”

The first is “I can do it.” This stage is full of our pride, our accomplishments, and our selves. Here is where we fail and then move into the second phase “I can’t do it.” While true, God doesn't want you to stop here. Unfortunately, though, this is where a lot of Christians stop in their walks with God. Through various battles of discouragement, the cares of this world, and frankly, the lies of the devil they come to believe, many Christians stop here and never go further, as they wait on this side of Heaven for their call up. They never reach the Victorious Christian Life on this plain. Instead, they remain on the outer fringes of the Promised Land never tasting the milk and honey of a land where our relationship with God is full and free and our affections for the things of this world die daily.

The last stage is “God can do it through me.” In the sermon, I was again reminded that it is in this stage God can use us. It does not matter if we have skills or talents. I think it could also be added that it doesn’t matter if we have a willing heart because that, too, can be a source of pride. We cannot be fully used of God until we absolutely surrender to Him. I think of my gifts and abilities. My willingness to be used of God. And I have to be honest that I feel like I’m in that first stage again.

I believe throughout the history of my walk with Jesus, He has brought me through these stages over and over. I do not think, at least for me, that this Christian walk is so black and white that once we have crossed over into the Promised Land, that we cannot go back and spend time in the previous stages. Just in reading the Old Testament, the history of the Kings of Judah, for instance, we can see the many ups and downs of God’s people.

I also believe one area of our Christian life may have gotten to the Promised Land, but there are other aspects of our lives that God is still fine-tuning so that He can use us for His glory … for His Kingdom … for that heavenly city where the fruits of His work will reside.

Lord Jesus, you know my arrogance. And you know my willingness. You know my fleshly pride. And you know my desire to be closer to you. I am all mixed up on this plain, believing a lie that to surrender my life to You, which would make an end of me, would be a negative. In one sense it will be. I know my flesh won’t like it. But I know my spirit will thrive and learn of its purpose, and it is only when this happens, that I begin to understand without You, I can do nothing.

Manito Park Rose Garden (Spokane, WA)
September 2007

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