First of all we must realize that faith for you and me means complete and utter helplessness before God. All true faith comes with a feeling of helplessness! It’s like me going to a mechanic to get my car worked on. I am not a mechanic, I don’t know what is wrong with my car, much less how to fix it. I can’t do the work, and in trusting the mechanic I admit that I can’t do it. And my faith in the mechanic means helplessness. In some cases it means: I could do it with a great deal of trouble and effort, but the mechanic can do it better. But most of the time it is complete and utter helplessness; the mechanic must do it for me. That is the secret of our spiritual life! We must be willing to to say:
“I give it all to You Lord; I’ve tried and fought and cried. I’ve prayed and struggled, but failed anyway. God has even helped me when I allowed Him to, and still in the end there’s just sin and sadness.”
Friends, the change only comes when we are finally broken and realize our utter helplessness and self-dispair, and cry out: “I can do nothing!”
Even the Apostle Paul had to be reminded! His life was a life of faithfulness and devotion to Jesus, and then the thorn in the flesh came. Paul did not understand how it could be a blessing to have this trial, and he prayed three times that the Lord take it away; and what did the Lord say? In essence:
“No; there a a danger that with all the success I’m giving you, that you might exalt yourself, so I have sent you this trial to keep you weak and humble. Paul, I need you helpless!”
And Paul learned a lesson that we must also learn, and that was - to praise and rejoice in our pain and weakness! Like Paul, we must understand that the weaker we are the better it is for us! When we are weak, we are strong in Jesus!
My question is this: Do you want to live the “Abundant Life”? Then we must go a step lower down. Dr. Boardman tells of how once he was invited by a man to go to see a factory where they made shot for rifles. The workmen poured down molten lead from a great height. The man then wanted to take Dr. Boardman up to the top of the tower to see how the work was done. The doctor came to the tower, he entered by the door, and started going upstairs; but when he had gone a few steps the man called out:
“That’s the wrong way. You must come down this way; that stair is locked up.”
The man took him a long way downstairs, and there an elevator was ready to take him to the top; and he said:
“I have learned a lesson that going down is often the best way to get up.”
Our Lord and Redeemer wants to bring us very low, so He can teach us our sense of emptiness and despair and nothingness. It is only when we realize our utter helplessness, that our Awesome God will show Himself in His beauty and power, and that our hearts will learn to trust Him alone.
What is it that keeps us from trusting God perfectly?
You may be saying: “I believe what you are saying, but there is one problem. If my trust in Jesus were perfect and continual then there wouldn’t be a problem, because I know God will always do what He promises. But how can I get that kind of trust?
Friends, there is only one way: By the death of self!
Andrew Murray says it best,
“The great hindrance to trust is self-effort. So long as you have got your own wisdom and thoughts and strength, you cannot fully trust God. But when God breaks you down, when everything begins to grow dim before
your eyes, and you see that you understand nothing, then God is coming nigh, and if you will bow down in nothingness and wait upon God, He will become all.” Absolute Surrender p. 106-107
As long as we have to be something, we have to right or in control, or the center of attention, or whatever, God cannot be everything, and He is not able to do His complete work in our lives.
That is the beginning of true faith - utter despair in our abilities, to quit looking to what this world tells us is important, and find our hope in Jesus alone.