VERSE: “All my fresh springs shall be in Thee.” Psalm 87:7 P.B.V
OSWALD: “Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power you have, until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through a drying-up experience!” (December 30th)
MY THOUGHT: I had to giggle a bit when I read this entry. I’m currently going through a “drying-up experience” in several areas of my life – a coming to the end of my strength and ability, thoroughly overwhelmed with my disabilities, forcing me to admit that apart from Him I can do nothing (John 15:5). Not big, huge, monumental things. Not smaller, less-demanding daily things.
After confessing my undisciplined nature when it comes to writing this blog, I had thought the revelation might spur me to write a timely, heartwarming post on Christmas Day. (Or at least help me get last week’s post out on Friday.) But here it is Wednesday. Four days into the New Year and despite all my resolutions to change, I still can’t seem to get it together.
I’ve brought my problem of procrastination to the Lord many times over the years, but instead of changing me drastically as I’ve so often requested, the Lord keeps reminding me as He reminded Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). In other words, Joanna, trust Me. And trust Me in you.
I wish I could, like Paul, “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”(vs. 9), but my pride and frustration with my personal flakiness makes it hard to do that. However, I am realizing that perhaps the Lord has allowed several of my personal weaknesses to remain so that I might be more dependent upon Him. And less reliant upon myself.
Drying up any “confidence in natural virtues” or personal strength so that I would cling all the tighter to Him. Causing me to daily access His Spirit’s enabling so that I might do both what God asks and what life requires.
I’m learning to turn to Jesus not only in the areas I struggle with, but also in the tasks I feel somewhat equipped for. Especially when it comes to ministry.
“It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on what they have by the accident of heredity,” Oswald writes. And I would have to agree. I’ve not only witnessed this type of “professional ministry,” I’ve also participated in it – waving the cheap penlight of my abilities as I go through the motions of service without accessing the fire of the Holy Spirit made available to light the dark night we are called to invade.
Maybe that is why our heavenly Father often asks more of us than we can possibly give or ever accomplish on our own. To wean us from the idolatrous, haughty-hearted lie that we are little “gods” – slightly omniscient, occasionally omnipotent, nearly always capable on our own. But using those same impossible requests to simulataneously free us from the flipside false belief that we are too flawed, too fallen, too flakey, to ever be of use to God.
Both all-too-human responses come from the same root – over-dependence on self. And both will keep us from drawing upon the “reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus.”
I don’t know about you, but this year, I want to find my “fresh springs” only in Him. Even if it means a season of “drying up” when it comes to self-confidence, self-assurance and pride.