I've had an awakening recently - though I wish I could say it was long ago - and finally realized why I so often fall short when it comes to obeying God despite my best efforts. It's precisely because they're my best efforts! My best efforts will never get me where I need to be in my spiritual life. Never.
Do you find yourself falling into this performance trap?
I read God's Word; I hear the Holy Spirit speak; I know what He wants me to do, and yet I don't do it. Or I try, but I don't succeed.
Why is that?
It's not because I'm not determined. On the contrary I try, I labor, I strain and I strive. Do you see the problem here? I-I-I-I-I (Aye yi yi yi yi!)
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ~ John 15:5
I can't tell you how many times I've read this verse and came away thinking, "Ok, I get it. Stay connected to Jesus." And through prayer and reading His Word I have stayed connected. As a result I became more aware of God's commands, but I still wasn't any better at keeping them. Then, finally, I was hit by the weight of those last words: apart from me you can do nothing.
Did you notice how the words in this verse start out as general (a man) and then get very specific very quickly? It's as if God's saying, "I'll produce fruit through anyone who stays connected to me, but I want you, (yes, YOU, the one reading this right now) I want you to understand that without my help you won't be accomplishing anything."
At last, I've come to the realization that it's possible to stay closely connected to God, hear what it is He wants me to do and still go off and try to do it all.by.my.self. How crazy is that?
I don't know about you, but I've had enough!
I'm setting aside a lifetime of trying to figure things out for myself, making my own plans and trying to make things happen. Instead, I'm consciously choosing to keep my focus on following the Lord and following His plan (which is always soooo much better than anything I could ever come up with.)
Which is why my one word for this year is "follow."
Who's with me?
I don't want to run ahead,
I don't want to lag behind,
I don't want to wander off,
I don't want to try to figure it out,
and I definitely don't want to try to do it alone!
I just want to enlist His help and FOLLOW His lead.
Lord, I shudder to think of how many times I've left your side to go carry out your command, forgetting that I'm completely incapable of accomplishing anything without you! I've wasted so much time trying to handle things on my own while you were right there all the while, just waiting for me to turn to you and ask for what I needed. If I start doing something on my own, please remind me that without you I won't be accomplishing anything of value.
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