The first is that in the spiritual life we may put forth every effort and still fall flat on our face! We may then redouble our efforts and fall flat on our face even worse than before. We may even keep trying with all we have and always fall on our face. And yet all to often we still do not learn this simple lesson: With man it is impossible to serve God and Jesus! Peter spent three years with Jesus, he spent day and night with Jesus and still didn't learn it. He just couldn't understand this vital lesson until he had denied his Lord and came to the end of his rope. It was only when he lost all confidence in himself, then he learned it!
Let's look for a moment at the process Peter went through to learn this lesson. First he fights against it; then he submits to it, then reluctantly and in despair; he finally accepts it willingly and rejoices with all his heart.
I remember well the beginning of my walk with Jesus. I had no concept of this truth, but I had been converted and had the joy of the Lord in my heart. So I began to fight the fight; I was sure I could win this fight, I was sincere and determined, and God would help conquer my life of sin and selfishness. And yet right out of the gate I fell flat on my face in an area I hadn't even considered a threat! I was devastated. How could this happen? I needed to be more careful, I needed to put on my game face. I made stronger resolutions and grander vows and cried to God for help, and yet I found myself flat on my face again. And it was at this point that I wondered, have I not truly given my life to God? But as I considered my
options I knew that I had to have Jesus help if I was ever going to live this holy life that I wanted so badly.
After failure, after failure, after failure I begin to realize that for me to live a holy life was impossible. But I couldn't accept that! My life before Jesus was awful! I hated it, I couldn't give up the hope of a new life. There was no other hope for me so I fought on, for years! I finally came to the point where I concluded that God must have never expected me to have a life of victory. It all seemed a mystery to me. I was living a life of misery and failure in stead of a life of rest and joy and victory. And I began to see that I could never live that life of victory; it was impossible! My Christian life became a life of misery and despair.
I do not think that I am the only one of us who has experienced or is experiencing this; where I came to the conclusion that I cannot do it! It is impossible! With this knowledge that I could never live a life of victory in Jesus. I concluded that it was still the best life I would ever have on this earth and I would at least be a blessing to others if possible. It was about this time that the Lord put into my hands a compilation of writing by men and women like Charles Trumbull, Rosalind Goforth, George Muller, Ellen White, Hudson Taylor, Mead MacGuire, the Unknown Christian and many more. And God used these writings to show me that yes victory in Jesus is an impossibility for me! But with God it is more than possible! That in Jesus we can be renewed and transformed. And then the cry of my heart was: Lord, please show me this truth! Lord, I must understand what it means to die with Jesus. Show me what it means to be filled by the Holy Spirit and have Jesus living in my life.
Passages like Galatians 2:20 took on a whole new meaning to me:
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Philippians 2:13 finally came alive in my live:
"for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
That it is God who works in us! It is God who gives the power to accomplish what He desires. This is the first great lesson in our Walk With Jesus: "It is impossible for me, my God; let there be an end of the flesh and all its power, an end of self, and let it be my glory to be helpless."
Friends, I praise God with all my heart for this wonderful teaching that makes us helpless!
When we come to the point where we realize it is not us and God that win any victories in the battle with self. It is when we realize that there is no us. When we see that we cannot do it, then we are on the right track, if we allow ourselves to be led. When we put the us aside and delight in absolute surrender! It is then and only then that real life in Jesus begins. It is beyond us, we must fall down on our faces and learn this most important lesson: we are utterly helpless! Then God will come to "work in you, both to will and to do."
We are very hopeful that we will be able to be worshipping at church next Sabbath with a brief and modified service. So check your emails! God is going to take this seemingly bad situation and make it a God thing!!!