To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:29
Years ago one of our kindergarten teachers came out of her classroom cracking up with laughter. It was early in the first month of school and she was trying to practice with the kids how to write their first names legibly. One of the littlest boys, Jake, kept his head close to the paper and was mumbling and wouldn’t look up. The teacher kept asking what he was saying, and he just kept mumbling. But she kept asking, “Jakie, what was that?”
Finally, he lifted his head, looked at her and pronounced loudly, “Mrs. Hoel, I suck at this.”
That’s basically what God wants us to say, sooner rather than later. He wants us to give up on ourselves so we utilize Jesus’ power and energy, which is limitless–not our own, which is pea sized. Allow me to elaborate…
Struggling with all His energy. This is really revolutionary. Usually it is not until we come to the end of ourself that we discover this truth, if at all. The quicker you realize that you cannot do something, perhaps the quicker you can fall into Jesus’ arms and say, “You do this–I am spent (or I am a failure, or I NEED YOU).” Isn’t that what John 15:5 wants us to say? I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from ME you can do nothing.
I have mentioned the book by V. Raymond Edman They Found the Secret (Clarian Classic, 1960) earlier. One of the testimonies in the book is by a man, Major Ian Thomas. He had given his life to Christ at the age of 13 and to missionary service at 17 and then for seven years ago set about to a flurry of activity for Jesus. He travelled and spoke of Jesus wherever he could, “buzzing around every holiday, every spare moment” with any evangelistic activity going on. All of this was out of a sheer desire to win souls.
The only problem was that nobody was converted. The more he did, the less happened. Finally one night Ian sunk to his knees in a fit of despair, asking God to tell him why he was a hopeless failure. “This was the moment God had been waiting for; seven weary years He had watched me running round and round in the wilderness! I heard His voice: To me to live is Christ…I am the way, the truth, and the life…When Christ who is our life shall appear, then we shall appear with Him in glory, to me to live is Christ!
What God revealed to Ian Thomas that night is what we all need to learn: “You have been busy trying to do for Me all that only I can do through you. Now supposing I am your life, and you begin to accept it as a fact, then I am your strength!
You have been pleading and begging for that for seven years. I am your victory in every area of your life, if you want it.”
Ian left his room after that night a changed man. He left with a “sheer cold-blooded faith, that Jesus was His life, his victory, his strength, his power and his future.” He began to see people come to the Lord all over the place. The striving had ended and he finally found joy and peace. (pages 165-171)
It might look different applied to your life. Everybody has different circumstances. But everyone needs to make a choice each day: Am I going to live today in my own strength, using my own wisdom, my own resources, my own choosing? Or, do I start each day with prayer and Bible study, knowing that apart from God I can really do nothing?
–Knowing that all kinds of things could happen today that are out of my control, but aren’t out of God’s perview. –Knowing that I only look on the outward appearance of people but God looks at the heart. –Knowing that I could easily get deceived by other people, or taken advantage of, and knowing that people’s hearts are really desperately wicked. –Knowing that if someone that’s driving in an oncoming car could be texting or swatting a fly and veer into my lane. –Knowing that I could think I’m making a good choice but it’s really not a good one for some reason. –Knowing that I’m exhausted and I just got up and I have twenty things to do today. –Knowing that my spouse keeps randomly exploding and I don’t know what it is that is going on deep inside…
Jesus, would you be my energy, my wisdom, my strength, my victory, my peace, my rest? I want to live each day with Your energy, and thus be victorious, fruitful, joyful, resting and abiding in You.